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2012 Johnson Workshop: Legal Representation of Children

In Winter 2012 the workshop topic was "Legal Representation of Children." The student contributions to child advocacy and to the emerging field continue the high standards of the Johnson Workshop.  Because Michigan Law had the good fortune in 2009 to be named the National Quality Improvement Center on the Representation of Children in the Child Welfare System, the second Johnson Workshop had to be delayed a year.

Fourteen law students and four social work graduate students were selected based on their interest and experience in child welfare and social justice issues. The challenge was to come to the "cutting edge" of certain legal and policy questions regarding legal representation of children and for students to contribute their own original work to the national debate in a way that will be heard and make a difference. The students were challenged to not only learn a great deal about current law and policy dilemmas but also to leave a contributing legacy of their own.

Below are the fruits of the semester so far:

Michigan law recently adopted the Michigan's young Adult Foster Care Act that extends rights and benefits to youth aging out of foster care. The Michigan law is required by Federal statute passed in 2008. But neither youth nor the caseworkers and lawyers who serve them know of these rights and benefits. The student team of Paige Fern, Ariana Fink and Alexandra Citrin wrote a brochure aimed at young people which describes youth rights to education, financial support and health care. (Download the brochure here.)  They developed a training program for aging out youth that was video-taped. We wish to disseminate this information to youth and to judges, lawyers, teachers and caseworkers who serve them. Feel free to use these materials; give credit to Alexandra Citrin, Ariana Fink, and Paige Fern.

2012 Student Contributions: