Child Advocacy and Juvenile Justice Clinic – 7675
The Child Advocacy and Juvenile Justice Clinic (the “CAC”) is a two-semester, seven credit program beginning in the fall semester in which students represent low-income clients in juvenile delinquency and child welfare matters before the Hennepin County Juvenile Court and third-party custody cases before the Hennepin County Family Court. The third-party custody cases recently have included representing adults seeking custody of unaccompanied minors pursuant to the Special Immigrant Justice Status federal statute. Students also work in the policy area of juveniles sentenced to LWOP (life without parole) and represent juveniles serving LWOP sentences.
CAC students represent multiple clients during the course of the year and, under the supervision of CAC faculty, undertake every aspect of direct representation: from interviewing witnesses, to performing fact investigation, to drafting pleadings, to engaging in settlement negotiations, to appearing for court hearings, to conducting trials.
Many classroom sessions are held in conjunction with the Indian Child Welfare Clinic and cover not only applicable procedure, substantive law and relevant trial skills, but also address broader systemic issues. Students are consistently challenged to consider the historical context and purpose of the family and juvenile courts and to think critically about the effectiveness and equity of the present-day system.
To ensure a fulfilling experience in the CAC, students must be willing to make a substantial time commitment that goes beyond the classroom work. This may require students to arrange their class schedules in a way that allows students to appear in court, conduct investigations, and meet with clients.