A program for the most critical years
CAP confronts pivotal issues in the lives of children
In 2004, Professor Elizabeth Bartholet ’65, a child welfare expert who has taught family law at HLS for over two decades, thought the time was right to create a program at the school focused on child welfare, education and juvenile justice. She teamed up with her former student Jessica Budnitz ’01, founder of a clinic providing legal services for children in delinquency proceedings, to create the Child Advocacy Program, with its three different academic components.
In class, Bartholet teaches students about law and policy governing things such as parents’ rights, child abuse and neglect, and special education. In the policy workshop, child welfare advocates and policy-makers come into the classroom to discuss their organizations and to debate with students the pros and cons of their different approaches to social change. Among the more than 20 speakers on this year’s roster were the commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Social Services, the chief judge of the state of New York and the executive director of Children’s Rights, a leading child advocacy group. While the policy workshop brings advocates in, the CAP clinic sends students out. This spring, 14 students worked for local organizations, and three spent winter term in Seattle, Philadelphia and South Africa, respectively, followed up by related research and other work during the spring semester. In its first year, CAP also hosted a documentary film series and various panel discussions. —C.P.
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