Innovative Partnership Brings Positive Change for Bay Area Youth

Friday, June 30, 2017

A unique collaboration between education advocates at Berkeley Law and local public defenders is providing hope—and stability—for vulnerable youth. Lawyers and students at the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC), working in its Education Advocacy Clinic and Youth Defender Clinic, are making a meaningful impact at the intersection of education and juvenile justice.

“In many ways, this partnership redefines youth advocacy,” said Kate Weisburd, who directs the Youth Defender Clinic. “Traditionally, education advocacy and juvenile defense exist in separate silos and public defenders aren’t able to address their clients’ complex educational needs. But through this collaboration, we work together to keep young people in school and out of the juvenile justice system.”

Youth arrested at school face criminal charges and expulsion. Many have learning disabilities that their schools fail to address. Berkeley Law students at the two clinics collaborate with Alameda County public defenders to identify their clients’ educational needs, consult with school administrators and teachers, and appear in court.

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