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Sankaran, Vivek

Clinical Professor of Law
Child Advocacy Law Clinic
Child Welfare Appellate Clinic

3050 South Hall
734.936.9706
E-mail vss@umich.edu

Vivek Sankaran, '01, advocates for the rights of children and parents involved in child welfare proceedings. His work focuses on improving outcomes for children in foster care by empowering their parents and strengthening decision-making processes in juvenile courts. A clinical professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School, Professor Sankaran directs both the Child Advocacy Law Clinic and the Child Welfare Appellate Clinic, through which law students represent children and parents in trial and appellate proceedings. Professor Sankaran has written numerous articles focused on improving the child welfare system and has litigated cases before the Michigan Supreme Court. In addition, he conducts state and national trainings and works on child welfare initiatives with various national groups, including the American Bar Association, Casey Family Programs, and the National Center for State Courts.

After graduating from Michigan Law in 2001, Professor Sankaran received a Skadden Fellowship to represent children at The Children's Law Center in Washington, D.C., where he remained until 2005, when he joined the Law School faculty. In 2009, Professor Sankaran founded the Detroit Center for Family Advocacy, the first organization in the country to provide multidisciplinary legal assistance to families to prevent the unnecessary entry of children into foster care. In 2011, he was named Michigan's Parent Attorney of the Year. Most recently, Professor Sankaran co-edited both the first national book for family defense lawyers and the third edition of Child Welfare Law and Practice, a widely recognized resource used by child welfare lawyers across the country.

Recent Publications

More Publications...


"Child Welfare's Scarlet Letter: How a Prior Termination of Parental Rights Permanently Brand Parents as Unfit." N. Y. U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change (Forthcoming).​​

"Easy Come, Easy Go: The Plight of Children Who Spend Less Than 30 Days in Foster Care." U. Pa. J. L. & Soc. Change 19, no. 3 (2016): 207.

"Representing Parents in Child Welfare Cases." In Child Welfare Law and Practice: Representing Children, Parents, and State Agencies in Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency Cases. 3rd ed., by National Association of Counsel for Children; edited by D. N. Duquette, A. M. Haralambie, and V. S. Sankaran, 767-816. Denver: Bradford Publishing Co., 2016.

Co-editor. Child Welfare Law and Practice: Representing Children, Parents, and State Agencies in Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency Cases. 3rd ed. D. Duquette and A. M. Haralambie, co-editors. Colorado: National Association of the Council of Children/Bradford Publishing Co., 2016.​

"Child Welfare Appellate Advocacy." In Child Welfare Law and Practice: Representing Children, Parents, and State Agencies in Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency Cases. 3rd ed., by National Association of Counsel for Children; 731-50. Denver: Bradford Publishing Co., 2016.

Co-author. "Strange Bedfellows: How Child Welfare Agencies Can Benefit from Investing in Multidisciplinary Parent Representation." P. L. Rideout and M. L. Raimon, co-authors. Center for the Study of Social Policy (2015).​
Full Text: WWW

Co-author. Representing Parents in Child Welfare Cases: Advice and Guidance for Family Defenders. M. Guggenheim, co-author. American Bar Association, 2015.

"Using Preventive Legal Advocacy to Keep Children from Entering Foster Care." Wm. Mitchell L. Rev. 40, no. 3 (2014): 1036-47.
Full Text: MLaw Repository |HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN | WWW
Professor

Activities

Presented "Procedural Justice: Ways to Engage Families in the Court Process" at the Utah Court Improvement Project, Salt Lake City, September 2017.

Presented "Moving Beyond Lassiter: The Need For A Federal Statutory Right To Counsel For Parents In Child Welfare Cases" at the National Association of Counsel for Children Conference, New Orleans, August 2017.

Presented "Poverty and the Foster Care System: The Data, Challenges, and a Call to Action" as part of the UMich200 Spring Festival's Feast of Ideas, Ann Arbor, April 2017.

Participated in the panel discussion, "Appellate Assigned Counsel Reform: Successes, Failures, and Lessons," organized by the Appellate Practice Section of the State Bar of Michigan, Novi, Michigan, November 2016.

Presented "Changing the Narrative of Child Welfare" for the Colorado Office of Parent Representation, Colorado Springs, September 2016.

Presented "What Every Family Law Attorney Needs to Know about the Child Welfare System" at the Institute of Continuing Legal Education's Family Law Institute, Ann Arbor, November 2015. ​

Presented "How To Hold Parents' Attorneys Accountable" at the 2015 Arizona Judicial Conference, Scottsdale, June 2015.​

Presented "Getting a Seat at the Table: How Parents Attorneys Can Use Data and Tell Stories to Reframe Our Role," Office of Regional Counsel Parent Attorney Training, West Palm Beach, Florida, May 2015. ​