LCYC was created and has since evolved in response to the community’s needs and critical gaps in legal services for some of Washington’s most vulnerable youth and children. LCYC’s founders envisioned an organization that supports and empowers children in need by providing them with multidisciplinary, holistic legal advocacy. Furthermore, by learning from direct services provided, LCYC is able to inform and influence statewide systemic change.
Washington is one of few states in the country that does not provide a legal advocate to every child in foster care. LCYC’s founders recognized that all children in foster care have unique legal rights and interests which are best protected through the appointment of competent counsel. LCYC was initiated through collaborative efforts with a variety of organizations and individuals serving foster children in King County. LCYC began its legal services in the realm of child welfare with the intention of meeting all legal needs of any child served.
Since its inception, LCYC has expanded the types of legal services it provides. In 2016, LCYC partnered with Street Youth Legal Advocates of Washington and YouthCare to fill a gap in services, by providing on-site legal advocacy to youth, ages 12 -24 years, who are or are at risk of experiencing homelessness in King County Washington. 200 youth were referred for services during the first 18 months of the program. The Homeless Youth Legal Network of the American Bar Association recognized LCYC’s homeless youth advocacy program as one of twelve model programs nationally in 2017.
Also in 2016, LCYC immediately responded to an upcoming change in immigration policies by creating a Safety Plan for families to complete, to increase family stability, and decrease trauma for children. Through partnerships with ethnic, community based organizations, LCYC has reached hundreds of families, impacting well over 1,000 children. The Safety Plan is being utilized around Washington state. The lead on this project, Midori “Chach” Duarte White was recently awarded the Charles Z. Smith Trailblazer Award by the Latinx Bar Association of Washington, for her innovative and quick response to an urgent community need.
LCYC will continue to grow and adapt, seeking to improve the lives of children and youth through legal advocacy and systemic change.
LCYC was incorporated on May 25, 2010, with pro bono legal assistance from K&L Gates LLP. Casey Trupin (JD), Hillary Behrman (JD), Chorisia Folkman (JD/MSW) and Marcy Pareira (LICSW) constituted the initial Board of Directors. LCYC is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is acknowledged as a Charitable Organization by the Washington State Charity Solicitations Program.