Changing Lives: Lawyers Fighting for Children is a new book edited by Lourdes Rosado and produced by the Children’s Rights Litigation Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Litigation. The volume demonstrates the critical role that attorneys play in changing the life courses of our most at-risk children. Without legal representation, the children profiled in this book likely would have gone down a path that was detrimental to their safety, their well-being, and ultimately their ability to grow into happy and successful adults.
Changing Lives: Lawyers Fighting for Children well illustrates the difference that a highly trained and skilled attorney can make in the life of a child in need. Each chapter portrays a real-life case of a child in crisis and describes in detail the lawyering that was brought to bear to achieve the best outcome for that child. In describing these cases, the authors share a wealth of valuable information including primers on relevant statutory and case law, tips on conducting investigations, advice on utilizing experts, guidance on including social workers and other child-serving professionals on the legal team, and multiple checklists for motions practice and trial advocacy that will assist practitioners in various areas of the law, including:
- Child welfare (abuse and neglect)
- Juvenile delinquency
- Transfer (waiver) from adult criminal court
- School discipline
- Special education
- mental health
- Runaway and homeless youth
- Impact litigation to promote systemic reform
The authors of Changing Lives: Lawyers Fighting for Children hope to raise awareness about the need for legal representation for children and to encourage and support attorneys who advocate for children, both those who do this as a full-time vocation and members of the private bar who undertake pro bono representation.
A free Teaching & Discussion Guide for law and other graduate school programs is also available.