Child Advocacy Clinic

Return to Course Catalog

6 clinical credits

Co-requisite Class: Child Advocacy Clinical Seminar (2 Spring credits). Students must first enroll in the clinic before attempting to enroll in the class. The class can be added once Phase 1 results are posted.
Early Add/Drop Deadline: November 2, 2012.
Multi-Term: Winter-Spring clinic (2 Winter credits + 3-4 Spring credits).
LLM Students: May enroll through an application process.

This clinic educates students about a range of social change strategies and encourages critical thinking about the pros and cons of different approaches. A class and fieldwork component are required. A variety of substantive areas impacting the lives of children will be addressed with a focus on child welfare (abuse and neglect, foster care, and adoption), education, and juvenile justice. The clinic is relevant for students with a particular interest in children's issues but also for those more generally interested in social change.

Enrollment Options: There are two different clinic options, a Spring clinic and a Winter-Spring clinic -- this is for the Winter-Spring clinic. Students engage in full-time work in the Winter and part-time work in the Spring. Enrollment is capped at 8 students.

Fieldwork Component: The Winter-Spring clinic opens up the possibility of placement with model organizations throughout the U.S. and even internationally. Most students are placed in a distant placement for the Winter term. Students return to Cambridge in the Spring and continue working remotely for the same organization. A few students might be placed locally, working full-time in the Winter and then part-time at the same organization in the Spring. Students will be placed in a wide array of fieldwork settings, ranging from organizations providing individual advocacy, to those promoting systemic change through impact litigation and legislative reform, to grassroots organizing initiatives, to social enterprises. Some students will work for reform from within the system and others from outside. Students will work on different types of projects such as: developing legislative reform proposals, participating in mediations, doing in-court advocacy work, analyzing social science and psychological research, leveraging the media and writing op-ed articles, providing strategic advice to start-ups. For instance:

- In the child welfare area, students may represent individual children who are abused and neglected, serve alongside District Attorneys prosecuting caretakers accused of child maltreatment, or work with a new social venture to engage the media to promote the interests of foster care youth.
- In the education area, students may engage in efforts aimed at ensuring low-income students receive a high-quality education, advocate for children with special needs who are exposed to violence, work with a city councilor to improve Boston inner-city schools, or work with the state agency charged with overseeing schools on issues such as charter schools, assessment and accountability, student rights, and school discipline.
- In the juvenile justice area, students may support legislative changes to improve conditions of confinement for juveniles, promote policies to reform the justice system for youth of color, or join efforts to combat life without parole sentences for juveniles.
- Many placements cut across substantive areas. Students may serve as law clerks in the juvenile court, alongside mediators to resolve disputes involving children, with a non-profit serving homeless children, or with a medical-legal collaborative aimed at improving child well-being.

Visit the CAP website for a list of organizations where clinic students have been placed in prior years.

Subject Areas: Family, Gender & Children's Law , Procedure & Practice .

© 2014 The President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved.