Who we are:
Justice for Children is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) child-advocacy group that provides legal and social services to abused children when the System fails to protect them.
We are the only organization of its kind in the country. Using our knowledge of the System learned over 28 years of representing abused children, Justice for Children provides a safety net of skilled caseworkers, volunteer lawyers, and lay advocates to make judges, prosecutors, CPS caseworkers, and law enforcement take a look at the evidence and the law and listen to the child.
Our experience and unique knowledge of the process and problems allows us to focus on the agencies that are preventing the child from receiving the safe placement they deserve to avoid further physical or sexual abuse or neglect.
Informed by almost 3 decades of experience, we provide our community leaders and elected representatives with recommendations for legislation and changes to governmental agencies to improve the protection of children.
1. Children must receive fearless, uncompromising, unflinching advocacy for their safety in a System often fraught with inappropriate goals for the child or complete disinterest in their welfare.
2. When a child is at risk of being physically and sexually abused by his or her parents, Justice for Children believes the child should have a right to independent and competent legal representation like every other party in the case.
3. Our focus must be on the child’s well-being and only indirectly on the protective parent.
4. We must open up the process of adjudication of children’s rights to public scrutiny.
5. There can be no appeasement of judges or public officials to achieve protection of the child.
6. Bureaucracy is an enemy to child protection.
7. The System fails children systematically.
8. “Family Preservation” is antithetical to protection of child.
9. We must remain our independence from the System in order to avoid the co-opting effect of dependence.
10. Investigation of crimes against children is the exclusive responsibility of law enforcement. While child abuse is a social problem, it is first and foremost a crime against the child.
11. The institutions that we have entrusted and funded to protect the most vulnerable members of our society must be held accountable for their actions.
12. While the initial act of abuse may not be preventable, it is inexcusable for it to reoccur once it is known to exist.
What we do:
We intervene on behalf of abused and neglected children to prevent their re-abuse when no one else will.
We ensure that abused children receive legal representation that is diligent, free of conflicts of interest, and meets the highest standards of care. As we can now plainly see, a child’s life literally hangs in the balance.
We provide direct legal and social services in cases involving the protection of children when the System fails.
Our pro bono attorneys advocate zealously for the child within the bounds of the law.
We help the child and their protective parent navigate a complicated administrative and judicial process that is often absurd and unjust.
JFC fearlessly brings the failures of the System to the attention of our community, our governmental leaders, and works for reforms to prevent the reoccurrence of these tragedies in the future.
For almost 3 decades, Justice for Children has successfully intervened on behalf of abused children to ensure that their safety during custody determinations is given the highest priority.
How we can help:
We accomplish these tasks in the following ways:
1) Our Cloud-based online Intake. Our Intake Staff provides Information and Referrals based upon the information you provide by completing our online Intake Form. Because we are thinly staffed, we cannot efficiently handle all the requests for assistance through a telephone Hotline. After reviewing your intake package, our Staff of veteran caseworkers and student interns from local Universities and Law Schools will contact you by phone or email if we believe that we can help.
Our Intake Staff provides expert Information about the System (how it works or does not work) and Referrals within and without the System to empower the protective parent, foster-parent, relative, or care-giver including teachers, nurses, and other front-line professionals and help them negotiate through the maze of governmental agencies and courts. We explain what the key aspects of the law, though our Staff does not provide legal advice.
2) Our Casework. Our Intake Staff refers certain the most urgent cases to the Director of Casework for follow-up and intensive assistance to the care-giver consisting of the following services:
The Child’s Case is created in our Intake Database for monitoring, storage of additional information as the case progresses, collection of evidence (medical reports, psychological reports, photos, witness statements) and cataloguing of the participants in the case (Prosecutors, Police, Doctors, Psychologists, Family Court personnel.)
3) Pro Bono Legal Services. In an appropriate case, the child and/or caregiver is provided with pro bono legal representation in the court case to seek protective custody of the child. In addition, attorneys provide the following services outside the courtroom:
Conduct Legal Research
Prepare Amicus Curiae Briefs
Provide Online resources for attorneys nationwide.
Provide assistance with Protective Orders or make referrals to local Prosecutors Offices.
4) Courtwatch. Volunteers and/or Hotline staff attend court cases to observe proceedings, provide assistance, testimony, speak to the media, etc.
5) Therapy. On rare occasions, JFC provides paid therapy for abused children. We can also assist with the applications for crime victims compensation where provided by state law.
6) Training. Provide formal training to volunteer attorneys and other lay volunteers. For pro bono counsel, provide in-depth training and resources to attorneys who represent our clients in the courtroom.
7) Education and Advocacy. We author editorial opinions, conduct research, speak at seminars, work on authoritative literature regarding child advocacy, participate in community forums, etc.
8) Resource to Community Leaders and Legislators. We provide live and written testimony on various legislation and provide expertise to legislators in drafting of legislation, both state and federal. We also work on Systemic changes to state and federal agencies to improve protection of abused children.
9) Community Watchdog. When the System fails a child, we serve as the voice of the community and the child, who has no voice. We are frequently called upon as child abuse experts by the media (local, state, and national).