The Child Advocacy Law Clinic provides students with an in-depth, interdisciplinary experience in problems of child abuse and neglect and of children in foster care. The clinic represents parents in one Michigan county, children in another, and the Michigan Child Protection Agency in six counties all in specific child maltreatment and termination of parental rights cases. With close support and supervision of an interdisciplinary faculty, the law student addresses the complex legal, social, emotional, ethical, and public policy questions of when and how the state ought to intervene in family life on behalf of children. Law students will work with practicing professionals, faculty, and students from social work, psychology, pediatrics, and psychiatry. The Child Advocacy Law Clinic seeks to introduce students to their new lawyer identity, the substantive and skill demands of this new role, and the institutional framework within which lawyers operate. The Clinic especially focuses on the relationship between the lawyer and other professionals facing the same social problem. Building on the field experience of actual case handling as a basis for analysis, it seeks to make students more self-critical and reflective about various lawyering functions they must undertake. Students are asked to integrate legal theory with real human crises in the cases they handle. Students will develop habits of thought and standards of performance and learn how to learn from raw experience for their future professional growth. Students must enroll for the 4-credit clinic and the 3-credit seminar, taken concurrently.
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