The Child Welfare & Family Justice Clinic provides direct legal representation to families who are involved in child welfare matters in the Youth Court System. Student attorneys represent parents during shelter hearings, adjudication hearings, disposition hearings, review hearings, foster care review hearings, and/or permanency hearings under the supervision of the clinical director. Students are involved in all aspects of case planning and litigation, which may include extensive client contact, interviewing, counseling, investigation, legal research, motion practice, out-of-court advocacy, team meetings with other service providers, and preparing for and conducting all phases of trials and hearings in Youth Court. Students may also have opportunities to research and participate in policy reform efforts to improve outcomes for vulnerable families in Mississippi. Students have a weekly one hour class meeting. Each student enrolled in the clinic is required to log a total of at least 150 hours of time in classroom meetings, preparation of cases and court proceedings. Class enrollment is limited, and graduating third year students will be given preference if there are more applications than available clinic openings. Students must be eligible for admission under Mississippi Law Student Limited Practice Rule.
Clinic Impact At-A-Glance
- High Quality Legal Representation: Within the first six weeks, students dedicated over 50 hours each toward their cases.
- Parent Engagement: Students engaged in family team meetings to advocate meaningful family services for their clients and increased visitation.
- Family Justice: Students litigated the successful reunification of children with their families within the first seven weeks, cutting foster care costs by approximately $23,700.