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American Bar Association

  Children's Rights Litigation




8720 Georgia Avenue, Suite 303
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Telephone:      (301) 585-5333
Website:      www.acy.org


Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) works to improve the lives and experiences of Maryland’s children through policy change and program improvement. ACY provides advocacy and impact data as well as personalized stories to help tell the story of Maryland’s children in a simple way. This information is often used by state agencies, legislators and Maryland advocates.



1420 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
Telephone:       (410) 837-5657
Fax:                 (410) 333-3053
Clinic Website:            http://law.ubalt.edu/template.cfm?page=409
Center website:           http://law.ubalt.edu/template.cfm?page=531


50% Children’s Law
Does Not Use Volunteer Attorneys


Students in the Child Advocacy Clinic represent low-income individuals and community organizations that could not otherwise afford legal representation. The Clinic is focused on both lawyering skills and poverty law. The Clinic has three staff attorneys and 20 to 25 students participate in the Clinic each year. Clients are referred from social service agencies and judges.


Students also work on special projects, including testifying before the General Assembly on legislation that impact Clinic clients and conducting community education presentations at homeless shelters. The law school also offers a Family Law Clinic and Family Mediation Clinic.


The Center for Families, Children and the Courts focuses on the development and implementation of family justice system planning and reform initiatives. The Center supports the creation of unified family courts, promotes a therapeutic and holistic approach to family justice issues, and undertakes projects, such as its Truancy Court Program, within Baltimore and beyond. CFCC's Student Fellows Program provides law students with a unique opportunity to experience the cutting edge of family justice system reform.



500 E. Lexington St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
Telephone:       (410) 539-5340
Fax:                 (410) 951-7818
Website:          www.mdlab.org


20% Children’s Law
Does Use Volunteer Attorneys


Legal Aid Bureau, Inc. began in 1981 through a contract with the state, and is now a statewide general civil legal services office. The office represents children in two-thirds of Maryland’s jurisdictions. Fifty staff attorneys, 15 paralegals, two child development specialists, and one social worker handle 7,500 to 10,000 children’s law cases a year, representing the children as attorneys. The project also utilizes volunteer lawyers, law students and other professionals. Volunteer lawyers handle cases, assist with trainings and provide mentoring. Trainings for volunteers are offered as often as needed.


Legal Aid does accept calls from the public and from children. Cases are referred from juvenile courts, social service agencies, schools and health care professionals. The office has handled impact litigation in the past and currently provides input to ongoing cases.



1500 Union Avenue, Suite 2000
Baltimore, MD 21211
Telephone:       (410) 727-6352
Fax:                 (410) 727-6389
Website:          www.mdlcbalto.org


50% Children’s Law
Does Use Volunteer Attorneys


Established in 1978, the Maryland Disability Law Center handles a number of cases a year involving children with disabilities. The Center is staffed by 13 attorneys and eight paralegals. Clients are referred from the courts, schools, social service agencies, health care professionals and other attorneys. The Center has teamed with the Maryland Bar Association to maintain a panel of pro bono attorneys who are available for special education cases that arise throughout the state. Cases are assigned through the bar association. Pro bono attorneys work independently once they are assigned a case, but back up is available from the staff attorneys. Volunteers report significant case progress in writing or by calling the Center. Training is provided to volunteers on an as-needed basis. Psychologists, psychiatrists, or nurses are sometimes used as consultants on cases. The Center is a Protection and Advocacy office and has brought impact cases, including a class action against a school district in violation of IDEA and a class action involving hospitalization of children and adolescents beyond the recommended discharge date.



1 North Charles Street, Suite 200
Baltimore, MD 21201
Telephone:       (410) 625-9409
Fax:                 (410) 625-9423
Email:              info@publicjustice.org
Website:          www.publicjustice.org


25% Children’s Law


The Public Justice Center (PJC) is a Maryland non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and expanding the legal rights of the underrepresented. PJC only undertakes impact litigation. In the early 1990s, PJC successfully litigated a case involving the delivery of special education for youth incarcerated in adult prison, as well as a child abuse case that resulted in key reforms in the Baltimore City Department of Social Services.


For more than a decade, PJC has been committed to Children’s Rights Law, particularly the rights of homeless children. In 1996, PJC published a report entitled A Dream Deferred: A Report on Barriers to Education for Homeless Children and Youth, which focused on Maryland’s failure to comply with key provisions of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act. This Act required states to remove barriers to educating homeless children. As a result of the PJC’s report, the Maryland State Department of Education has issued a comprehensive Action Plan responding to each of PJC’s recommendations for remediation.


PJC is co-counsel for the plaintiff class of more than 5,000 foster children in Baltimore City in a class action to enforce a 1988 consent decree on their behalf. In 2009, the parties came to a proposed settlement which would replace the current consent decree with a new compliance and exit plan requiring BCDSS to adequately meet 40 exit standards in the areas of preservation and permanency planning, placement, health care, education and workforce before asking the federal court to terminate the consent decree.