HOLISTIC LEGAL ADVOCACY

Legal Counsel for Youth and Children provides specialized, holistic legal advocacy to youth and children involved in child welfare and juvenile offender matters in King County Juvenile Court.  We work to ensure the protection of each child's unique legal rights, to aid each child in his/her/their understanding of a complicated and often frightening legal process, and to help each child communicate his/her/their interests to the court. 

When we represent a child in an open juvenile court matter, we make a commitment to engage in the child's educational planning and goals, and to address other legal issues that may arise, such as immigration relief.  LCYC recognizes that a child's goals and challenges cannot be compartmentalized into separate boxes or silos, but must be viewed and served as a whole.

To learn more about the types of issues we address in and out of court, and our engagement with youth in the legal process, please read LCYC's 2015 Impact Report.  The 2015 Impact Report reviews children's placement and permanency in relation to when they received the benefit of legal counsel during their case.  The 2015 Impact Report also assesses the types of issues LCYC attorneys are addressing on behalf of our young clients.  For example, our 2015 data revealed that:

 
 

Systemic Change

In addition to the hundreds of individual youth represented by LCYC throughout the year, we are involved in various efforts to improve the child welfare and juvenile justice systems effecting youth and families, such as:

  • Raising the standards of legal representation for children and youth
  • Working towards a Washington State that provides all children in child welfare proceedings with an attorney
  • Eliminating the use of detention for status offenses (offenses that would not be such if the child were an adult)
  • Increasing supports for placements, so that youth can remain safely with their parents, relatives, or other known and stable adult(s)
  • Valuing youth voice in identifying problems and solutions
  • Collaboratively preparing youth for successful transitions into adulthood, preventing youth homelessness
  • Expanding placement opportunities in Washington State and decreasing reliance on group care, temporary, or out of state placements

 

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  • The vast majority of all open cases require out-of-court legal advocacy in the areas of placement, family visits, education and services for the child.  
  • 42% of the motions filed by LCYC on behalf of children in open child welfare cases related directly to placement.  27% of the motions involved family visitation.