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American Bar Association

  Children's Rights Litigation




371 W. South St.
Carlisle, PA, 17013
Telephone:       (717) 243-2968
Fax:                 (717) 241-3556
Website:          http://law.psu.edu/practice-skills/clinics/childrens-advocacy-clinic


100% Children’s Law
Does Not Use Volunteer Attorneys


The Children's Advocacy Clinic (CAC) is an innovative interdisciplinary clinical program where law students and graduate social work students represent children in the legal system and work to address problems in the child welfare system. The Clinic provides students with the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on training serving children and advocating for policy issues related to children in the welfare system. Under the direction of a supervising attorney, law students represent children who are abused and/or neglected as well as those involved in other civil court actions such as adoption, domestic violence, and custody matters.

Clients are represented by both a law student and a graduate social work student who use a team approach to address children's needs. Social work students are supervised by a clinic social worker. Additionally, Clinic students work with pediatric residents and child psychiatry fellows from Penn State Hershey. 


Philadelphia Building
1315 Walnut St., 4th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Telephone:       (215) 238-6970
Fax:                 (215) 772-3125
Website:          www.elc-pa.org


702 Law & Finance Building
429 Fourth Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Telephone:       (412) 258-2120
Fax:                 (412) 391-4496


100% Children’s Law
Does Use Volunteer Attorneys


The Education Law Center has been representing the health and education needs of children since 1975 with a focus on poor children, children of color, children with disabilities, English language learners, children in foster homes and institutions and others. Clients are referred from social services agencies, schools, health care professionals, other attorneys, advocacy groups and former clients. The Center has published several manuals, reports and fact sheets, many of which are published on their website. The website also links to Pennsylvania education legislation and guidance from the state Department of Education. Impact litigation handled by the Center has included a case concerning the established right to compensatory education under IDEA and representation of a class of Asian refugee students.



Gittis Center for Clinical Legal Studies
3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Telephone:       (215) 898-8427
Fax:                 (215) 573-6783
Website:          www.law.upenn.edu/clinic/interchild


100% Children’s Law
Does Not Use Volunteer Attorneys


Founded in 1983 through a partnership with the Medical School and School of Social Work, law students in the clinic work with medical students and social work students to study the legal system’s response to child abuse and neglect in an interdisciplinary context. Students represent child clients in court hearings, participate in developing a plan to serve the child’s best interest, and assure that the plan is carried out through a variety of interactions with parents, the Department of Human Services, and various service providers. Cases are referred from juvenile court and from schools. Clinic staff includes medical personnel and a social worker, as well as an attorney. The twice-weekly seminars are co-taught at Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania by an interdisciplinary faculty team. The clinic does not accept calls from the public seeking legal information.



The Philadelphia Building
1315 Walnut St., 4th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Telephone:       (215) 625-0551
                        (800) 875-8887
Fax:                 (215) 625-2808
Website:          www.jlc.org


100% Children’s Law
Does Use Volunteer Attorneys


The Juvenile Law Center (JLC) was formed in 1975 to provide pro bono representation to children who have come within the purview of public agencies (for example foster children or delinquent youth). The staff of seven attorneys and three paralegals, with the help of volunteers, litigates key cases in state and federal court, including appellate advocacy, and writes amicus briefs. JLC works with academic researchers to develop sound public policy and advises the executive and legislative braches of state and federal government on the effects of proposed legislation or regulations on children. In addition, JLC trains lawyers, judges and professionals who work with children, educates the public, and serves as a resource to the media and answers telephone inquiries or questions asked to our website. The Center’s publications are available on their website. Current projects focus on reforming the juvenile justice system, access to education and health care, and children aging out of the juvenile justice or foster care systems.


Law students are recruited through local law schools. Lawyers who contact the Center wishing to volunteer do not directly represent clients, but assist the staff with legal research and occasional class action suits. Training is provided on an as-needed basis. The Center also works with social workers, child development specialists and psychologists.



437 Grant St., Ste. 700
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Telephone:       (412) 391-3100
Fax:                 (412) 391-3588
E-Mail:            info@kidsvoice.org
Website:          www.kidsvoice.org


100% Children’s Law
Does Use Volunteer Attorneys


KidsVoice is a non-profit organization, begun in 1984, that handles approximately 5,000 children’s law cases a year. Twenty-two staff attorneys work with seventeen full time child advocacy specialists (experts in development, drug and alcohol abuse and domestic abuse) to represent children primarily in abuse and neglect cases. This multi-disciplinary approach represents a new model of advocacy that permits KidsVoice to take full account of the child’s needs and provide comprehensive child advocacy in the most effective and efficient manner. Attorneys working on these cases are able to represent children in many of the collateral issues that arise, for example, in their special education or delinquency cases.


The office does utilize volunteer lawyers, law students and other professionals. Currently volunteer lawyers consult on issues such as immigration, trusts and estates, and personal injury matters, however KidsVoice is starting a pro bono program in spring, 2003.


The office does not accept calls from the public seeking legal information, however calls are accepted from children. Cases are received from juvenile court, social service agencies, schools, health care professionals, other attorneys and from children themselves.

KidsVoice does handle some impact litigation brought in conjunction with other law firms, and it submits amicus briefs on some cases.



50 Mt. Zion Rd.
York, PA 17402
Telephone:       (717) 600-8099
Fax:                 (717) 600-8044
Email:              info@pirclaw.org
Website:          www.pirclaw.org


30% Children’s Law
Does Use Volunteer Attorneys


Started in 1996 as a separate, non-profit organization, the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center represents unaccompanied immigrant children in their deportation hearings. One staff attorney, an accredited representative and volunteer attorneys and law students handle roughly 20 cases a year. In the past, trainings for volunteers has taken place once a year and mandatory legal education credit is offered for the training. Besides taking cases volunteer lawyers also enforce detention standards for immigrant children. If lawyers are interested in volunteering, they should call the center. The center does accept calls from children and the public seeking legal information.



1500 Walnut Street, Suite 400
Philadelphia PA 19102
Telephone:       (215) 523-9550
Fax:                 (215) 564-0845
Website:          www.phillyvip.org


Does Use Volunteer Attorneys


The Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program (VIP) was started in 1981 as a project of The Philadelphia Bar Association, but is now a separate nonprofit organization, though still funded largely by the Bar. Clients are referred from Community Legal Services, Philadelphia Legal Assistance, and other agencies to the staff of two attorneys and three paralegals. Volunteer lawyers are recruited from local law firms and law schools and training seminars. VIP holds frequent training seminars for attorneys wanting to know more about representing the indigent. CLE credits are available at the training sessions, the price for which is acceptance of one VIP client referral. Impact litigation cases are accepted for possible referral to volunteer lawyers.



United Way Building, 2nd Floor
1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Telephone:       (215) 627-7100
Fax:                 (215) 627-3183
Website:          www.pilcop.org


Does Use Volunteer Attorneys


Started in 1969 in affiliation with the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights, the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia now represents children in civil rights cases which include access to health care and education. The staff of eight attorneys works with health care professionals and psychologists as well as a small number of volunteer lawyers whose help is solicited directly by a staff member. The Children’s Health Care Project brings lawsuits throughout the country to ensure that states provide prompt and effective medical services for poor children in accordance with Title XIX of the Social Security Act. The Education Quality and Funding Project brings lawsuits and does advocacy efforts to pursue equalization of resources for all of Pennsylvania’s school children. A number of impact cases have been handled by the Center including actions to open classes to disabled students, a Medicaid case to expand services to all eligible children, and an action to end unequal education provided to racial minorities.



1900 Cherry St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Telephone:       (267) 546-9200
Fax:                 (267) 546-9201
Website:          www.advokid.org


100% Children’s Law
Does Use Volunteer Attorneys


The Support Center for Child Advocates is Philadelphia’s lawyer volunteer program for abused and neglected children, providing legal assistance and social service advocacy to more than 500 children each year. The Support Center is one of the most successful volunteer models serving children in the country, with 200 active volunteers. Each child receives the service of one of seven staff social workers, who are teamed with volunteer attorneys throughout the term of representation; the agency is also staffed by four attorneys who provide technical assistance and service on special projects.


Support Center’s legal and social services are offered to child victims in four core programs. The Child Abuse and Neglect Program represents child victims in criminal prosecutions for child abuse, and children who are parties to civil dependency proceedings. Special service initiatives include: the Children’s Paralegal Program, offering paralegals and legal assistants the opportunity to serve children in casework, legal research and initiatives for systemic reform. The Kids ‘N Kin: The Caregiving Program is a joint venture that provides in-home legal and social services to relative caregivers. Volunteer Attorneys for Medically Needy Children is an advanced volunteer program targeted at children with serious medical needs. Clients are referred from the Juvenile Court, the District Attorney, social service agencies, schools, health care professionals and other attorneys. Volunteers are recruited from law firms, corporate legal offices and solo practitioners in the Philadelphia legal community. A full-day training (CLE credit) and half-day Courtroom Observation are offered semi-annually.