Staff Attorney, Healthy Together & Guardian ad litem Education Program | Children's Law Center

Staff Attorney, Healthy Together & Guardian ad litem Education Program

Description: 

Who We Are

At Children’s Law Center, everything we do is focused on one thing – delivering better client outcomes for kids and families in DC. Our staff are empowered to open minds, shape decisions, and offer solutions. We encourage intellectual curiosity, innovation, diversity, and mutual respect.

Our greatest assets are our people. We strive to attract and cultivate a vibrant, creative, and diverse community.  We recognize that people with diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives fuel our ability to provide the best outcomes for our clients. Our staff drive Children’s Law Center’s mission with their leadership, result-orientated mindset, and commitment to cultural humility and centering the needs of our clients.   We are looking for an individual who enjoys working in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment, likes to be challenged, and values the opportunity to make a difference.

Children Law Center’s success depends on recruiting and retaining individuals who possess and value these attributes.

*Children’s Law Center is currently operating remotely. This position will work from home until the organization returns to the office.

Job Summary

This position is a new dual-program role focused on providing education-related advocacy on behalf of children and families receiving services through CLC’s Medical-Legal Partnership Healthy Together and its Guardian ad litem (GAL) Education Program.

Within the Healthy Together program, the Staff Attorney is responsible for providing high quality legal representation and legal assistance to low-income parents and caregivers where legal solutions are required to address children’s health problems.  Healthy Together Staff Attorneys also perform community and medical partner outreach activities.  The primary responsibility of the Staff Attorney is to represent parents and caregivers in education/special education, health care access and housing conditions matters, along with representation in other legal service matters as needed.  The Staff Attorney is also responsible for conducting intakes with potential clients and providing advice and referral information. 

The Staff Attorney will also play an integral role within CLC’s GAL Education Program, providing critical support to guide GALs in identifying needed educational supports for children who are the subject of abuse and neglect cases in DC’s Family Court.  The primary responsibility within this GAL Education Program role is to provide technical assistance and legal consultations to GALs in the education arena, providing collaborative support on education-centric issues arising in their cases, including special education, school stability, discipline, and other legal issues specific to youth in foster care.  In limited circumstances, the Staff Attorney may also provide direct representation to adult educational decision-makers on behalf of children involved in abuse and neglect cases in DC’s Family Court. 

This role has an established career path with the potential for promotion to a Senior Attorney.

This position reports to a Healthy Together Supervising Attorney.

Duties/Responsibilities

Case Handling Responsibilities

  • Provide high-quality direct legal representation in extended representation cases for parents/caregivers to address health-harming legal needs of their children.
  • Carry a caseload of approximately 15-20 extended representation cases primarily in the areas of education/special education but may also include health care access, housing conditions, public benefits and other poverty law areas as needed.
  • Ensure timely and accurate input of case information into case management system and adhere to applicable policies and protocols, including case planning notes, case-handling timelines, and case notes/timekeeping policies in order to achieve positive outcomes for client families. 

 

Brief Advice and Collaboration Cases

  • Maintain recurring monthly meetings with approximately 5-8 assigned GAL attorneys to provide education-related resources, information, and supports for GAL staff cases. 
  • Provide in-depth advocacy and consultation as part of collaboration cases, working in tandem with a GAL to solve complex case-related issues for children in foster care.  Where appropriate, a GAL Education Attorney may stand-in for the GAL during education meetings.
  • Document outcomes and next steps from monthly GAL meetings in Legal Server, the case management system.
  • Work with GALs and supervisor to identify promising cases for referral to the education team, assisting in facilitating project referrals. 
  • Ensure that each case in the assigned pod is reviewed at least quarterly during pod check-in meetings and that the status and next steps are documented in Legal Server.
  • Assist GAL during transition planning to ensure clients’ education issues are stable at the time of case closure.    

 

Handle Healthy Together Intakes

  • Serve as a point of contact for community members and receive referrals from the Healthy Together Program Director, attorneys, health care and other community partners.
  • Conduct preliminary and subsequent intake interviews with potential clients to determine legal issue, and whether and how Children’s Law Center can assist the potential client and family.
  • Receive potential client contact information from medical partner/clinic or hospital staff and be responsible for conducting the intake or assigning the intake to the Healthy Together Brief Service Staff Attorney.
  • Enter intake information into our case management database and conduct intakes within Children’s Law Center guidelines.
  • Independently assess whether potential clients need full representation, brief service, advice, referral, or information.
  • Conduct legal research and/or identify other community resources for intakes.

 

Referrals, Advice, and Brief Service to Parents and Caregivers

  • Provide brief advice, counsel, and referral information to parents and caregivers in need of legal assistance to address health-harming legal needs of their children.
  • Provide brief service to parents and caregivers in need of legal assistance in the areas of education/special education, health care access, housing conditions, public benefits and other poverty law areas.  Examples of brief service include but are not limited to:  helping parents and caregivers with initial child Supplemental Security Income applications and requests for reconsideration; ghost-writing letters for parents requesting evaluations or other services from school; writing letters to landlords and/or property managers detailing housing conditions concerns, request remediation, and providing notice; providing troubleshooting assistance through phone calls or emails to agency personnel to try to resolve a legal problem.
  • Recommend cases for extended representation.
  • Revise and/or prepare outreach and education materials such as tip-sheets, referral sheets, know your rights flyers, etc. to improve the efficacy and timeliness of legal service delivery to parents and caregivers.  

 

Engage in Evaluation and Data Management Activities

  • Ensure timely and accurate input of case and intake information into the case management system and adhere to applicable policies and protocols, including but not limited to case planning, intake and case-handling timelines, and case notes/timekeeping policies.
  • Maintain accurate, timely data entry for non-case-related activities including but not limited to medical partner trainings and consultations, community outreach efforts, systemic advocacy and/or coalition activities.

 

Participate in and contribute to Learning, Systemic Advocacy and Coalition-Building Opportunities

  • Attend and participate in all Healthy Together/GAL staff meetings, CLC staff meetings, and other internal committees and working groups as requested by the Program Director.
  • Provide support to the Policy Team in areas of expertise to address the systemic needs of the Children’s Law Center client community.
  • Participate in community partner coalitions or external committees as needed and requested by the Program Director.

 

Resource Development and Trainings

  • Develop resources to train and assist GALs in their ability to issue-spot and address a range of educational topics for youth in care.
  • Deliver trainings for GALs, other Children’s Law Center staff, and external stakeholders on salient education topics.

 

Program Activities

  • Attend all Education Project meetings.
  • Actively participate in case rounds, training, contract deliverables, or other program activities as requested, including Thursday Trainings, fall trainings, and trainings for external stakeholders.
  • Contribute to innovation in casework and trainings, both internally and externally.
  • Support the education-related work of the Policy Team where appropriate.
  • Support the collection and reporting of case information to improve practices.
  • Serve as a mentor to pro bono attorneys in education cases, as appropriate based on experience.    

 

Skills/Abilities

  • A demonstrated commitment to social, economic, and racial justice.
  • Cultural humility as shown through demonstrated openness to self-reflection and commitment to understanding and respecting other cultural experiences and points of view and viewing individuals as the experts on their own culture and experience.
  • Strong litigation, legal analysis, research, writing, and oral advocacy skills.
  • Self-reflective, open to feedback and supervision.
  • Strong interpersonal, communication, and relationship-building skills.
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills, and demonstration of work/life balance.
  • Strong independent judgement and decision-making skills.
  • Demonstrated capacity to work independently and collaboratively.
  • Ability to problem solve and think creatively.
  • Bilingual English/Spanish communication skills strongly preferred.

 

Education and Experience

  • JD and DC Bar membership or immediate eligibility to waive into the DC Bar required, Maryland Bar membership is a plus.
  • Minimum of 1- year previous special education/education advocacy experience in DC or another jurisdiction required.
  • Experience in legal services, child welfare practice or other community lawyering required.
  • Valid Driver’s license required.

 

Salary and Benefits

The salary for this position ranges from $57,225 to $63,746 annually for applicants with 1--5 years of relevant experience.  Children’s Law Center offers a generous benefits package that includes medical, dental, vision, and short- and long-term disability insurance; employer-provided retirement contributions; flexible spending plans; and vacation, sick, holiday, family and medical leave. Children’s Law Center is a 501(c)(3) organization.  Employees with federal student loan debt can apply for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.  For more information, go to https://myfedloan.org/borrowers/special-programs/pslf

Additionally, the DC Bar Foundation’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program provides renewable one-year, interest-free, forgivable loans up to $12,000 per year for qualified Children’s Law Center attorneys.  For more information, see https:/dcbarfoundation.org/lrap/.

Application Instructions: 

To apply, please submit the following materials in one PDF file: cover letter, resume, writing sample and 3 professional references.  Please do not submit application materials as a .zip attachment if submitting by email.  Applications may be submitted via mail, fax, or email to: 

 

Children’s Law Center

Attn: Education Staff Attorney Hiring Committee

501 3rd Street NW

8th Floor

Washington, D.C. 20001 

202.467.4949 (fax)

Jobs@ChildrensLawCenter.org

 

No telephone calls please.

Children’s Law Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We are committed to equal employment opportunities for all applicants and existing employees.  We evaluate qualified applicants without regard to ancestry, age, color, disability, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, military or veteran status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and any other basis protected by federal, state, or local law, ordinance, or regulation. We invite you to visit us here to learn more about our organization and our career opportunities (www.childrenslawcenter.org/join-us).

Children’s Law Center is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment. If you believe that you need accommodation to search for, or apply for, one of our positions please send an email to Jobs@ChildrensLawCenter.org. In your email, please include the accommodation you are requesting and the job title you are applying for. It may take up to three business days to receive a response to your request.