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American Bar Association

  Children's Rights Litigation




6441 E. Colonial Dr.
Orlando, FL 32807
Telephone:       (407) 275-4451
Fax:                 (407) 275-0701
Website:          http://www.barry.edu/law/future-students/academic-program/clinical-program.html


100% Children’s Law
Could Use Volunteer Attorneys


Children and Families Clinic, which began in 1998, focuses on advocacy for children in the areas of delinquency, dependency, mental health and education law. The 12 to 16 students who participate in the clinic are certified as legal interns by the Florida Supreme Court, enabling them to provide actual representation to clients, working under a professor. Although volunteer lawyers are not currently utilized, the clinic could use some volunteer lawyers to take referral cases. Interested lawyers should contact the director. The Clinic accepts calls from children and the public seeking legal information and may obtain cases through phone calls if appropriate. Clients are also referred from juvenile court and other attorneys. Children and Families Clinic has handled some impact litigation including a challenge to Florida’s statutory ban on adoptions by gays and lesbians and a challenge to the adequacy of mental health services provided to children in state custody through either dependency or juvenile delinquency proceedings.



3305 College Ave.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314
Telephone:       (954) 262-6138
Fax:                 (954) 262-3832
Website:          http://www.nsulaw.nova.edu/clinics/available.cfm


100% Children’s Law
Does Not Use Volunteer Attorneys


The Children and Families Clinic focuses on the legal needs of individuals, with particular emphasis on the economically disadvantaged. Family law constitutes one of the primary components of civil practice, particularly for practitioners in small firms. Along with the Criminal Justice Clinic, this clinic provides the most extensive litigation experience. Key areas of legal representation include custody and divorce, benefits, employment, housing, and health. Students will serve as interns either in the in-house clinic, under the supervision of NSU Law professor-practitioners, or in a legal-aid or government office that provides legal assistance to children and families.



1311 Miller Dr., Ste. F305
P.O. Box 248087
Coral Gables, FL 33146
Telephone:       (305) 284-2339
Fax:                 (305) 284-4384
Email:              bperlmut@law.miami.edu
Website:          http://www.law.miami.edu/clinics/cylc/index.php?op=2


100% Children’s Law
Does Use Volunteers Attorneys


The Children & Youth Law Clinic is an in-house, live-client clinic established in 1995 by the Law School. The Clinic represents children in foster care and former foster youth in dependency, health care, mental health, disability, independent living, education, immigration and other general civil legal matters, ensuring that they have a voice in court proceedings.

Under the supervision of three Florida-licensed attorneys, approximately 24 second and third year law students each year assume primary responsibility for all aspects of a client’s case. Students learn fundamental lawyering skills, substantive law and professional ethics. The Clinic seeks to instill in students a sense of professionalism and encourages them to pursue public interest law careers or to devote substantial portions of their legal practices to providing pro bono legal assistance to the poor.



425 W. Jefferson St.
Tallahassee, FL 32306
Telephone:       (850)644.3400
Fax:                 (850) 644-0879
Website:          www.law.fsu.edu/academic_programs/jd_program/cac/index.html


40% Children’s Law
Does Not Use Volunteer Attorneys


The Children’s Advocacy Center at the Florida State University College of Law was created and funded by the Florida Bar. Operating since 1991, the Center provides training to law students as part of the law school’s curriculum. Law students are teamed with one of two staff attorneys to assist clients referred from Juvenile Court, social service agencies, schools, health care professionals and other attorneys. The Center handles between 100 and 200 cases a year. Students who are working on their master’s degree in social work volunteer as interns, as do criminology students who act as investigators. Social workers, child development specialists, health care professionals, and psychologists may be used as expert witnesses by students preparing their cases. The Center has handled impact litigation cases including a challenge of the incarceration of status offenders for contempt of court, conditions of confinement in detention centers, and the law school’s refusal to admit disabled students.



423 Fern St., Ste. 200
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Telephone:       (561) 655-8944
                        (800) 403-9353
Fax:                 (561) 655-5269
Email:              info@legalaidpbc.org
Website:          www.legalaidpbc.org


100% Children’s Law
Does Use Volunteer Attorneys


The Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Inc., a nonprofit organization started in 1955, has several projects that provide legal representation for children in Palm Beach, Florida. Begun in 2001, the Foster Children’s Project provides an attorney to represent children in the foster care system and to advocate for permanence within 12 months. The Education Advocacy Law Project partners with the Palm Beach County School District and the Legal Aid Society’s Pro Bono Project to train volunteer attorneys who provide free legal representation to children who are facing expulsion from the school system.


The Juvenile Advocacy Project handles approximately 350 children’s law cases each year, and has a staff consisting of four attorneys and two paralegals, with the help of volunteer attorneys. Volunteers work with staff attorneys in handling cases, and provide assistance with the intake of information from clients and research. Clients are referred to the JAP Project from the Juvenile Court, Family Court, social service agencies, schools, health care professionals, and other attorneys in the community. Volunteers are recruited through the local bar association, law firms and law schools. Trainings are offered to volunteers on an as-needed basis. The JAP Project works with social workers, child development specialists, and psychologists to assist in the preparation of cases. The JAP Project has handled impact litigation. A recent suit brought in federal court challenges a school board policy of referring developmentally disabled children who “act out” as a result of their disability to the state attorney’s office for prosecution without providing an appropriate alternative educational setting.


Project Permanent Placement provides legal representation for proposed adoptive parents or guardians for children. Approximately 150 cases are handled each year by the staff of one attorney and 2.5 paralegals. Approximately 10 volunteer attorneys help handle cases and provide assistance with the intake of information from clients and research. Clients are referred to the Project from the Juvenile Court, social service agencies, schools, health care professionals, and the Department of Health & Rehabilitative Services. Volunteers are recruited through the local bar association, law firms and law schools. Trainings are offered to volunteers on an as-needed basis. The Project works with social workers and psychologists to assist in the preparation of cases. The Project does not handle impact litigation.



2425 Torreya Dr.
Tallahassee, FL 32303
Telephone:       (850) 385-7900
Fax:                 (850) 385-9998
Website:          www.floridalegal.org


95% Children’s Law
Does Use Volunteer Attorneys


Florida Legal Services provides technical expertise and works towards systemic reform in poverty issues of all types. The juvenile program, which began in 1996, engages in systemic reform of the systems which serve children, including foster care, juvenile justice, the health care system, schools and other institutions, through all reasonable and necessary manner of advocacy through the state and federal courts, administrative proceedings, and legislative and other policy advocacy. The office handles impact litigation and was one of many co-counsel on Bonnie L. v. Bush, a state-wide challenge to Florida’s foster care system. The juvenile program also secured an appellate decision that when a parent in a dependency is entitled to court-appointed counsel, that counsel must be competent and the remedy for incompetent counsel is through a habeas action. The office does handle a few individual cases if they present any type of due process issue of first impression or otherwise fit into the office’s impact area. Calls from children and the public seeking legal information are accepted.


Florida Legal Services provides support to practicing attorneys through training, technical assistance and sometimes co-counseling. The program also maintains several list-serves on various substantive issues affecting children. Sample memos of law and other pleadings are posted on this site. To view these sites and list-serves, contact the supervising attorney to be admitted as a member. Volunteer attorneys are sometimes utilized to assist in research and in drafting pleadings. Volunteers also provide support with daily case representation.



The Holland Building
600 South Calhoun St., Ste. 154
Tallahassee, FL 32399
P.O. Box 10628
Tallahassee, FL 32302
Telephone:       (850) 922-7213
Fax:                 (850) 922-7211
Website:          www.guardianadlitem.org


100% Children’s Law
Does Use Volunteer Attorneys


The Statewide Office for Florida’s Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program works to provide administrative support and secure additional resources for the circuit GAL offices around the state. The mission of the State of Florida GAL Program is to represent the best interests of children who are alleged to be abused, neglected or abandoned and who are involved in court proceedings. Each judicial circuit has its own GAL office and is supported by a local non-profit organization. Guardians ad Litem need not be attorneys; however the GAL program utilizes volunteer attorneys to represent the program.



1801 N. University Dr., 3rd Floor, Ste. B
Coral Springs, FL 33071
Telephone:       (954) 796-0860
Fax:                 (954) 796-0862
Email:              fcf@floridaschildrenfirst.org
Website:          www.floridaschildrenfirst.org


100% Children’s Law
Does Use Volunteer Attorneys


Florida’s Children First is a Florida Bar Foundation funded statewide partnership established in 1990 to advance children’s legal rights in a manner consistent with their medical and education needs. Children First brings together the resources of the legal, medical and education professions through its Project members, namely the Children First Project of Nova Southeastern University, Southern Legal Counsel, the University of Miami School of Medicine, Florida Legal Services, and the Florida State University College of Law. It recruits volunteer lawyers on an as-needed basis.


Children First is active in policy advocacy on behalf of children at the state and local level as well as litigating major issues requiring systemic change. Two such impact cases are a statewide class action on therapeutic services for children in state custody and a statewide education adequacy lawsuit. Children First also develops and delivers specialized trainings and materials for lawyers, guardians ad litem, social workers, educators and doctors, and provides technical assistance and case consultation on cases referred by lawyers.



P.O. Box 117626
Gainesville, FL 32611
Telephone:       (352) 273-0800 or (352)273-0613
Fax:                 352.392.2606
Website:          www.law.ufl.edu/centers/juvenile


100% Children’s Law


The mission of the Center on Children and Families is to promote the highest quality of advocacy, teaching and scholarship in the areas of child & family law and policy.

The Center’s goals are: 1) to promote quality scholarship on issues of importance to children and their families; 2) train a new generation of advocates for children and their families; 3) educate children about their rights and responsibilities in a free society; and 4) promote interdisciplinary and child-centered methods for studying systems serving children and their families.



100 E. Robinson St.
Orlando, FL 32801
Telephone:       (407) 841-8310 x3136
Fax:                 (407) 648-9240
Email:              info@legalaidocba.org
Website:          www.legalaidocba.org


100% Children’s Law
Does Use Volunteer Attorneys


The Legal Aid Society was begun in the early 1960’s as a volunteer organization and created by attorneys who were members of the Orange County Bar Association. The volunteer attorneys agreed to take referrals in civil and criminal cases for local residents who could not afford an attorney. In 1967, the organization was formally incorporated in Florida as a not for profit under the name of Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association, Inc. It hired its first director and full time staff and offered free civil legal services. Currently, Legal Aid employs about 45 staff including 18 attorneys and coordinates the contributions of time and money from over 3000 volunteers both attorneys and non-attorneys.



2169 North Forsyth Road
Orlando, FL 32807
Telephone:       (407) 681-5411
Fax:                 (407) 681-5412
Website:          http://www.barry.edu/JJC/


100% Children’s Law


The Juvenile Justice Center started in 2007 with a grant from the Eckerd Family Foundation. The Center trains lawyers and law students to represent children in Florida’s juvenile delinquency system. The Center emphasizes improving the quality of representation of children in the delinquency system; lasting positive impacts in legislation; and a vision that juvenile delinquency representation is a specialized discipline. The Center provides training and technical assistance to attorneys who represent children in delinquency proceedings as well as to judges and probation officers throughout Florida. The Center also provides consulting services and other resources to public defender offices in Florida.



c/o Steel, Hector & Davis
200 S. Biscayne Blvd., Ste. 4000
Miami, FL 33131
Telephone:       (305) 577-4771
Fax:                 (305) 577-7001
E-mail:          FL@lawyersforchildrenamerica.org
Website:          www.lawyersforchildrenamerica.org


100% Children’s Law
Does Use Volunteer Attorneys


Lawyers for Children America, Inc. is a non-profit organization that began as a pilot in Hartford, Connecticut to address the issue of youth and violence. Lawyers for Children America seeks to engage the private bar in pro bono work on behalf of children and youth.

Lawyers for Children America trains and provides ongoing support to attorneys who have committed themselves to providing pro bono representation to children in the abuse and neglect system. These attorneys serve as legal advocates, ensuring that necessary services are accessed for the child and family, minimizing the upheaval and trauma typically associated with foster care, and working toward finding a safe and permanent home for the child. The ongoing training and support that Lawyers for Children America provides enables volunteer attorneys to address the multiple needs of children such as medical and dental, special education, emotional and enrichment in a comprehensive manner.



100 E. Madison St., Ste. 301
Tampa, FL 33602
Telephone:       813.227.9050
Fax:                 813.227.9070
Website:          https://www.bals.org/special-programs/l-david-shear-childrens-law-center


Bay Area Legal Services established The L. David Shear Children’s Law Center (CLC) in 2006, to provide legal representation to children in the Hillsborough County foster care system. The CLC is named after BALS supporter, attorney L. David Shear, in recognition of his significant contributions to our community and BALS. CLC attorneys receive referrals from various government and social services agencies and are appointed by judges to represent foster children from birth through five years old (and their older siblings). The primary goal of the CLC is to reduce the time that children spend in the foster care system, whether they return to homes that have become stable and safe; they are adopted by loving adoptive parents; or they are given permanent guardians.


The CLC is funded by The Florida Bar Foundation, the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, private donations and the Hillsborough County Bar Foundation.



123 NW First Ave.
Miami, FL 33128
Telephone:       (305) 579-5733
Fax:                 (305) 372-7693
Website:          http://www.jud11.flcourts.org/SCSingle.aspx?pid=212


10% Children’s Law
Does Use Volunteer Attorneys


Put Something Back (PSB) is a joint pro bono project of the Dade County Bar Association and the Eleventh Judicial Circuit. PSB acts as an umbrella agency for referrals to legal service providers and as a clearinghouse for lawyers who want to volunteer. Through partnerships with other agencies, PSB volunteers are able to serve as guardians ad litem in contested family law custody cases, abuse and neglect cases, and in domestic violence proceedings. Volunteers also assist teen clients in their transition to adulthood and review proposed settlements on behalf of children. Volunteers also assist with intake and act as mentors and co-counsel. Trainings for volunteers are offered on monthly basis and continuing legal education is provided.


Cases are referred from juvenile court, social service agencies, schools, health care professionals, clients themselves and other attorneys. Calls from children and the public seeking legal information are accepted during normal business hours.


PSB has two manuals available for distribution, “A Child’s GAL in Custody Cases” and “Children: The Silent Victims of Domestic Violence.”