Foster Care Programs
CLC pairs an attorney and social worker to provide advocacy through legal representation to children and youth in foster care in court and legal proceedings. CLC’s over 300 volunteer attorneys advocate for foster children by ensuring they understand what is happening to them, informing them of their options, and empowering them to have a voice in the decisions that are made about their lives. This relationship provides children with a safe and stable environment to express their opinions about where they live, their education, and their basic needs. When a child’s opinion is taken into consideration, they are more likely to stay in placement, stay in school, and transition smoothly out of the system.
Minnesota law gives foster children 10 years and older the right to an attorney. CLC’s representation projects are unique because 1) in most cases, CLC is appointed by the court and 2) they use a volunteer attorney/social worker team. As part of providing quality representation, the attorney and social worker meet with the child in advance of the court hearing in a setting where the child will not feel overwhelmed or intimidated. The same attorney represents the child for all proceedings, which allows the child to develop a trusting relationship with the attorney and social worker. Even when the court does not grant the child’s preferences, having a voice in court makes the child more likely to abide by and understand the decision of the court.
The Foster Child Advocacy Project (FCAP): CLC started representing children through FCAP in 1997. FCAP gives youth in foster care a voice in judicial proceedings by providing legal representation on a variety of issues, including Child in Need of Protection or Services and Termination of Parental Rights petitions, case plan development, court reviews, permanency planning, and transition to independent living.
Guardianship Project: The Guardianship Project began in 2004 to provide representation, as listed above, to children for whom parental rights have been terminated – “legal orphans” – for whom the state is now the parent.
State Wards, The Forgotten Child Project: State Wards Project began in 1999 to provide representation to children for whom parental rights have been terminated – “legal orphans” – for whom the state is now the parent.
Volunteer attorneys advocate for the legal rights and necessary services for these children, particularly in the transition from foster care to independent living as well as in facilitating adoption hearings.
Advocates for Foster Care Youth
Volunteer and staff attorneys represent children in foster care ages 10-21 with many issues including:
• court reviews
• appropriate placement
• permanency planning
• transition to adulthood
• sibling contact agreements
and also advocate for the child’s access to critical services including:
• health care
• financial benefits