The University of Arizona

Creating Better Children's Advocates

By La Monica Everett-Haynes, University Communications | October 4, 2007

A two-day conference this month will coincide with the 10-year anniversary of the UA's Child Advocacy Clinic.

Children’s advocates from across the nation will convene at The University of Arizona this month for a free conference hosted by the James E. Rogers College of Law’s Child Advocacy Clinic.

At the same time, the clinic, founded by Paul Bennett in 1997, will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary.

“The clinic’s first 10 years have been enormously successful and we look forward to growing even more in the next 10,” says Bennett, a clinical professor of law and the clinic’s director.

Bennett estimates that since the clinic was founded, it has served more than 200 children and families and involved more than 150 law students.

“The clinic has become so valuable to the community,” Bennett added. “Our students learn not only about the law, but also about family dynamics, child development, and the many complexities and nuances that these emotionally-charged cases require.”

The clinic is a working law office that allows higher-level law students to practice prior to graduation. The clinic serves as clinical training site and advocate for Pima County children and many clients are children involved with the Pima County Juvenile Court in child abuse and other cases.

The conference will explore issues related to clinical education and the best practices in child advocacy.

Bennett will speak during the two-day conference, which begins Oct. 19.

Other participants include several other law school faculty and representatives from the University of Washington, the University of Georgia, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Michigan and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Titled “Child Advocacy: Celebrating the Decade Past, the Decade Ahead,” the conference is geared toward legal professionals, social workers, case managers, child advocates and others concerned about child welfare.

A specialized training session on national certification and proper workload for children’s attorneys will precede the start of the conference.

The Oct. 19 activity will be held noon to 1:30 p.m. at Pima County Juvenile Court, 2225 E. Ajo Way.