Guardian Ad Litem Staff Attorney Position Available

Description: 

Children’s Law Center (CLC) invites applications for full-time staff attorneys to work with the Guardian ad Litem program to begin Summer/Fall 2019.  Start dates are subject to change.

Children’s Law Center fights so every child in DC can grow up with a loving family, good health and a quality education. Judges, pediatricians and families turn to us to advocate for children who are abused or neglected, who aren’t learning in school, or who have health problems that can’t be solved by medicine alone. With nearly 100 staff and hundreds of pro bono lawyers, we reach 1 out of every 9 children in DC’s poorest neighborhoods – more than 5,000 children and families each year. And, we multiply this impact by advocating for city-wide solutions that benefit all children.

Responsibilities

Lawyers in our Guardian ad Litem program represent children who are the subject of abuse and neglect cases in DC’s Family Court. CLC attorneys advocate for DC’s abused and neglected children, fighting to find safe homes and ensure that children receive the services they need to overcome the trauma that first brought them into the child welfare system.

CLC is committed to providing high quality representation. To achieve this goal, new attorneys participate in an intensive training course before representing clients and receive close supervision during their first year of practice. In addition, CLC maintains reasonable caseloads and provides ongoing training opportunities for all attorneys.

Staff attorneys work closely with CLC social workers, investigators and special education attorneys to advocate, formally and informally, to advance the best interests of clients regarding their safety, permanency, physical and mental health and education.  

Requirements and Qualifications

  • Bar admission in any jurisdiction required by start date

  • Immediate eligibility to waive into DC Bar required by start date

  • DC Bar membership required within 360 days of start date

  • Valid Driver’s license

  • Spanish a plus

  • Commitment to working with low-income clients

  • Cultural humility

  • Persistence

  • Ability to spot issues

  • Ability to problem solve and think creatively

  • Strong independent judgement and decision-making

  • Excellent interpersonal skills (building rapport, gathering information, teaming)

  • Ability to multi-task

  • Good time management and work/life balance

  • Self-reflective, open to feedback and supervision

Children’s Law Center has a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and cultural humility. Our aim is to maintain an inclusive, respectful and equitable workplace and ensure all employees are culturally competent in order to most effectively achieve our mission and secure the best possible outcomes for our clients.

Children’s Law Center is an equal opportunity employer. We provide equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibility, matriculation, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, medication, status as a veteran, tobacco use, or other classification protected by law.

Application Instructions: 

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. No telephone calls please. Send resume, cover letter, three references and writing sample (see instructions below) via email to: 

Guardian ad Litem Staff Attorney Search Committee

Children’s Law Center

501 3rd Street NW

Suite 800

Washington, DC 20001

jobs@childrenslawcenter.org

 

Writing Assignment

GAL Attorney Hiring 2019

Assignment: You are the guardian ad litem (GAL) for Janay Jackson; you have been appointed by the court to represent Janay’s best interests in an abuse and neglect case.  Please draft a portion of a GAL report to the court based on the information provided.  Do not worry about formatting or case captions.  The submission should be no more than 5 pages, double-spaced, with 1 inch margins.  You can add any details that would keep the story consistent.  Outside research is not necessary or expected to complete the assignment; you are not expected to cite to any statutes, case law, or regulations.  Please include your submission in your application materials.

The Facts: 

Janay Jackson is 14 years old.  Janay resided with her grandmother from ages 2 through 13, during which time her mother, Crystal Jackson, was periodically incarcerated.  Janay’s grandmother passed away from cancer when Janay turned 13, and Janay began living with her mother.  Three months ago, Janay was removed from Ms. Jackson’s home after her mother, while high on PCP, chased her with a bat into the street, and Janay flagged down a police officer.  Janay has been in two different foster homes since her removal – she was first placed in a licensed foster home with a stranger for about 3 weeks.  Then, her maternal aunt, Mia Robinson, became a foster parent, and Janay has been placed with her since that time. 

At the initial hearing three months ago, the court ordered the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) to refer Janay to therapy.  The social worker referred Janay to an agency which provides mental health services, Children First.  Janay was evaluated at Children First about 6 weeks ago, which recommended individual therapy.  Children First says they have a wait list for therapists, and they will link her with the first therapist available.  You had requested that Janay be linked with a therapist specializing in grief and loss.  The social worker says she has had good experiences with Children First and that if they change to another mental health agency, it may be the same waitlist.  Janay has not started therapy yet.  She has told you that she wants to participate in therapy.

Since she was removed from her mother’s care, Janay has been acting out at school and in her aunt’s home.  She routinely misses curfew and talks back to her aunt.  Her aunt suspects that she may be smoking marijuana and is concerned.  At school, Janay has been suspended twice for cursing out her teachers.  She has also been cutting class and refusing to do her homework.  Janay has told you that she does not like living with her aunt because she is too strict and constantly tells Janay if she does not clean up her act, she will end up like her mother.  She denies using marijuana and says her aunt is just paranoid.

At the initial hearing, the court ordered Janay and Ms. Jackson to have supervised weekly visits.  Janay and Ms. Jackson had a couple of visits at the beginning of the case.  Then a warrant was issued for Ms. Jackson’s arrest in a different criminal case, and Ms. Jackson stopped coming to visits.  Ms. Jackson’s whereabouts are currently unknown.  Janay has not seen Ms. Jackson in about two months.  Janay misses her grandmother and mother and wants to return to her mother’s care.

There is a court hearing coming up in this case.  You are drafting a GAL report to update the court on what has happened since the initial hearing and to make recommendations regarding what is in Janay’s best interests.  Include any information and make any recommendations that you think are needed to advance your client’s best interests.  Such information and recommendations may encompass education, mental health services, placement, and any other information relevant to Janay and her family.