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Child Advocacy Clinic is a new clinical offering at Wake Forest University School of Law commencing in Fall 2010. This clinic focuses on the representation of children in three settings: deciding the custody of children in high conflict cases, deciding the custody of children in civil domestic violence actions, and representing children of indigent parents in issues involving the public school system. Students study the various models for representing children – as lawyer advocate, as lawyer guardian ad litem, and as non-lawyer guardian ad litem – and analyze the ethical issues raised in the various settings. Students also study the procedural and substantive law involved in deciding the custody issue in both the family law and the domestic violence settings and in representing children in the educational setting.

Students work in teams of two on cases that have been referred from the district courts of the 21st Judicial District to the Children’s Law Center of Central North Carolina and to indigent parents who have called the Children’s Law Center for assistance in discipline and other matters in the public schools. Clinic students interview the child, parents, teachers, relatives and others, gathering information and formulating recommendations. In the custody cases, clinic students present their recommendations to the court. For the educational matters, clinic students work with the Children’s Law Center in presenting a position to the school authorities. Students meet weekly for course work and schedule their field work in coordination with the professor. Students need blocks of time on at least two mornings other than Wednesday for the field work.

Iris Sunshine serves as the director of the clinic. She can be reached at (336)831-1909 ext. 6 or isunshine@childrenslawcenternc.org.