Become A Volunteer

You Can Make a Difference by Becoming a Volunteer Attorney

Our volunteer lawyers come from law firms, legal departments, solo practice, and include retired judges. Attorneys may or may not have experience representing children in the child welfare system. Each is trained by LFCA staff, in collaboration with the Yale Child Study Center. Trainings occur 4-6 time per year and can be scheduled to accommodate your needs.

Trained volunteer lawyers are assigned to a child in need and work in partnership with LFCA staff attorneys (who enter an appearance on behalf of LFCA) to secure a permanent, safe placement for that child. Where appropriate, new volunteer attorneys may be paired up with an experienced volunteer. Each case can last anywhere from 6 months to several years, depending on the child’s unique circumstances. Many cases do not go to trial and represent a manageable time commitment.

Volunteers work with Lawyers for Children America staff to plan how best to move a case forward. The goal is to assess each child’s needs in a holistic, comprehensive way, including examination of medical, mental health, educational, emotional, and legal needs. During this period of state intervention, attorneys also seek to minimize further trauma such as multiple foster care placements, inadequate mental health services, multiple interviews, or separation from siblings.

Volunteer lawyers represent a child in legal proceedings, at child welfare agency hearings/meetings, school planning sessions, and other gatherings impacting the child. Attorneys advocate for medical, mental health, educational, and social services. Volunteers take the time to build a relationship with each child to ensure that they understand their client’s needs and interests and to give the child a voice in decision-making to the greatest extent possible. Finally, LFCA volunteer lawyers help keep the child welfare system accountable, serving as points of stability and active advocates for vulnerable children.

Our volunteer attorneys achieve results that far exceed national standards for child welfare and placement. Attorneys report high levels of personal satisfaction with their volunteer experiences. For most, the work they do advocating for vulnerable children is among the most fulfilling of their professional career. Many attorneys volunteer with LFCA for decades.

To become an LFCA volunteer, contact a local office to inquire about upcoming training opportunities.