Emory Report

April 17, 2000

 Volume 52, No. 29

Law clinic to serve children

By Elaine Justice

Emory has launched the Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic, dedicated to improving Georgia's child protection system by helping the state serve neglected and abused children.

The clinic will provide multidisciplinary, child-focused research, training and support for practitioners and policy-makers charged with protecting Georgia's children.

The clinic will be located at the law school and collaborate with other Emory schools and units, including public health, nursing, medicine and the Center for Violence Studies. The clinic also will collaborate with other state colleges and universities that have programs related to child protection.

Local attorney Karen Worthington will serve as the clinic's director, and Atlanta's Michelle and Andrew Barclay provided funding for the clinic's startup phase. All three have extensive experience in the child protection system.

"With the creation of the Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic, Georgia now has a research center dedicated to improving the child welfare system for the benefit of the children involved in it," said law Dean Woody Hunter.

Michelle Barclay, an attorney, is child placement project director for the Georgia Supreme Court. "[My husband and I] hope the Barton Clinic will serve as a strong catalyst for systemic policy and process changes and improvements in Georgia's child welfare practices," she said. "Media coverage in the past year about the deaths of children in state custody sadly highlights the great need to reform Georgia's child welfare system."

The clinic will offer information about best practices and technological advances in children's law, an area that requires specialized knowledge and skill.

The clinic also will provide research-based feedback on whether policies and laws affecting children have their intended effect.

Other planned activities for the clinic include:

  • ongoing workshops for practitioners.
  • student internships focusing on research, evaluation, drafting and tracking legislation, and working on public policy in the area of child deprivation.
  • an annual symposium, to be broadcast on the Internet and at distance learning sites across Georgia.
  • a website to serve as a statewide resource on child abuse and neglect issues.
  • one-year postgraduate fellowships that focus on specific issues in child deprivation.

For more information about the clinic, call Worthington at 404-727-0333 or send e-mail to info@childwelfare.net.

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