Children’s Law Center of Minnesota is a Minnesota non-profit that provides free legal representation to over 550 foster youth annually. Children’s Law Center is appointed by the court to provide legal representation to children who are either wards of the state – “legal orphans” – or who have been removed from their homes because they are in need of protection. Children’s Law Center also represents foster children who request help. Children’s Law Center, along with a team of 300 volunteer attorneys, provides this quality representation free of charge.
Attorneys who represent foster youth are crucial in: providing these youth a voice in judicial proceedings, ensuring that the rights of the child are enforced, and ensuring that the legal obligations that the county and state have to the foster child in their custody, are met. Children’s Law Center holds several training sessions a year for attorneys, judges, social workers, and other child advocates. Children’s Law Center recruits volunteer attorneys from local law firms and corporations as well as from individual practice. The purpose of the training is not only to educate child advocates about Minnesota laws that affect foster children, but also to provide guidance in giving quality representation and continuity in the representation of children. It is Children’s Law Center’s goal that their pro bono attorneys become more knowledgeable about children’s issues in the child welfare and court system and are informed advocates for system reform.
Children’s Law Center staff attorneys and social workers provide training and ongoing support for volunteer attorneys. Children’s Law Center is committed to providing stability, hope, and opportunity for abused and neglected youth. For many of Children’s Law Center’s clients, their attorney is the most stable and consistent person in their lives.
To apply to become a Children’s Law Center volunteers attorney, you must be a licensed attorney in the State of Minnesota, in good standing. In addition to attending Children’s Law Center’s “Representing Youth in Foster Care Training”, applications are screened, and a Criminal Backround check is required.