The Juvenile Rights Practice of The Legal Aid Society To Receive Prestigious Award From Congressional Coalition For Excellence

The Juvenile Rights Practice (JRP) of The Legal Aid Society has been selected for the prestigious 2017 Congressional Angels in Adoption Award (CCAI) for its excellence in the provision of direct legal representation to more than 30,000 children annually, for its appellate victories creating and changing laws that affect children locally and nationally, and for its success in changing or creating policies for the betterment of children’s lives.

United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand nominated the Juvenile Rights Practice for this coveted award. CCAI’s Program provides Members of Congress the opportunity to honor an individual, couple, or organization from their district that have made an extraordinary contribution on behalf of children who are become involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

JRP was founded in 1962, representing children even before the Supreme Court decision In re Gault which provided for attorneys for children in delinquency matters, and has been at the forefront of innovative and robust child advocacy including partnering social workers with attorneys in child representation. The dedicated staff of attorneys, social workers, paralegals, investigators and support staff work tirelessly to address the issues so many children and families face when they become involved in these systems.

The representation of these children means addressing issues of poverty, racial equity and racial justice making the work extremely complex. As leaders in the field of child welfare, JRP participates in policy advocacy at the local, state and national level, impacting the provision of legal services to children across the country.

“JRP lawyers value the positions of their clients, no matter what their age, and ensure that the their advocacy reflects their clients' wishes and interests,” stated Tamara Steckler, the Attorney-In-Charge of the Juvenile Rights Practice. “We also value the right of every child to be with their family of origin whenever possible, and if not possible, to be in a loving home with relatives. For those children who are in foster care, we work to ensure our clients social, familial and educational interests are front and center both in court and out of court.”

Whether changing laws via their appellate victories and legislative advocacy, impacting tens of thousands of children through their robust impact litigation docket, successfully changing or creating policies for the betterment of children's lives or providing client-directed representation in New York City's Family Courts every day, JRP's committed and hardworking staff remain steadfast in their zealous and innovative advocacy for children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems in New York City and beyond.

The award will be presented on September 27, 2017 in Washington, D.C.