The Child & Youth Advocates (CYA) seeks to build a community of students interested in a wide variety of issues affecting children and youth, including child welfare, education, juvenile justice, and children’s rights. We aim to heighten awareness and encourage discussion of these issues at HLS, facilitate student involvement with children and youth in our community and beyond, and advocate for children’s rights. Our initiatives enable students to discuss issues with peers and invited speakers, participate in community service, gain practical experience in partnership with different organizations and connect with one another in pursuit of a career dedicated to children and youth. These include:
- Community Events and Speakers: We organize various events on campus on issues related to children and youth. Most recently, we held a Migration Speaker Series covering topics which included family separation at the border and migrant children in state family court. We also hosted coffee chats with amazing professionals like Cindy Blackstock, and organized a collection drive for Y2Y Homeless Shelter. This semester we will be hosting community dinners to facilitate student discussions and will be hosting speakers in partnership with other student organizations.
- Community Service: We will set up monthly community service volunteer opportunities with Christopher’s Haven, Birthday in a Box and other local organizations. These community service opportunities are a chance to interact and help the youth we are advocating for and will require no more than two to three hours from students.
- Child Advocacy Hub: The Child Advocacy Hub is a mechanism for organizations working on children’s issues to receive remote support from law students on short-term projects, allowing students to build substantive skill sets, gain a broader exposure to various fields of child advocacy, expand career connections and networks, and get pro bono hours. A brief infosheet of the Hub can be viewed here.
- Database of Advocates for Children at HLS: The Database was established to foster a community of advocates for children and serve as a resource for individuals to connect on relevant issues. It includes those who are considering a career involving children, youth, and adolescents, as well as those who have any related prior experience, and it is continuously updated as submissions are received. If you would like to include your name, please fill out the survey. The Database can be accessed here.
Additional resources for students can be found on the website of the Child Advocacy Program (CAP): http://cap.law.harvard.edu/.