The Sol and Lillian Goldman Family Advocacy for Children and Youth Clinic

The Sol and Lillian Goldman Family, Advocacy for Children and Youth Clinic opened in spring 2003. Under the supervision of Jean Koh Peters and Miriam Gohara, students represent children in neglect or uncared-for proceedings in the New Haven Superior Court for Juvenile Matters. Students represent both children living in the home and children removed on an emergency basis at the time the proceedings commence. Students appear regularly in mediation meetings and court appearances in the Superior Court and engage in interdisciplinary meetings of all kinds.

Students grapple with critical issues that arise at this unique moment in the history of the family and often confront crisis decision-making as they represent clients who have recently been removed from their homes.

These issues include the effects of changes in “welfare as we know it,” the effect of the Adoption and Safe Families Act, which provides accelerated time frames for filing for termination of parental rights proceedings, and the disparate treatment of poor families and families of color under the child welfare system.

Additionally, students face the challenge of assuming the dual role of attorney for child and guardian ad litem, in both theoretical and practical contexts. Some cases involve interdisciplinary collaboration between the clinic and mental health and social work consultants. Finally, students in the clinic discuss watershed cases and contemporary legislation concerning child advocacy.

For Prospective Students

The Sol and Lillian Goldman Family, Advocacy for Children and Youth Clinic represents children and youth in abuse, neglect, uncared for, termination of parental rights cases and related matters.

The clinic’s abuse and neglect cases may involve allegations of sexual, physical, and/or mental abuse as well as allegations of educational, nutritional, and/or emotional deprivation. While representing children in these cases, students explore the dual role of lawyer and guardian ad litem for the child, and the representational needs of the particular child. In the course of the clinic’s work, students encounter issues of poverty, domestic violence, mental health, drug dependency, and HIV.

Students work in pairs, undertaking two new cases early in the semester and continue to work on those cases through the semester and, likely, beyond. Case assignments provide students with considerable interaction with clients and their families, opportunities to appear in the Superior Court for Juvenile Matters and in administrative meetings at the Department of Children and Families, and may provide occasions to interact with professionals from various disciplines such as psychiatry, medicine, and social work. While representing clients, students will have opportunities to become familiar with the inner workings of the Department of Children and Families and potentially other social service agencies in New Haven.

Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization

The Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization (LSO) provides legal representation to individuals and organizations in need of legal services but unable to afford private attorneys.

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