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Children and Youth Advocacy Clinic

CAYAC was established in 1996 as a multidisciplinary program of the University of Washington schools of law, social work and medicine. The clinic’s primary focus is child advocacy and the development of a holistic legal program for children and youth.

CAYAC also provides a home for a Court Improvement Training Academy that provides interdisciplinary training for judges, lawyers and other key players in the child welfare system, using an innovative, grassroots approach to local leadership known as the Tables of Ten.

CAYAC in the News

  • - The News Tribune New proposed legislation would require the state require to compile and record the dropout number among homeless students. Liz Allen, a University of Washington child and youth legislative advocate, testified in front of the committee in support of the bill.
  • - Professor Lisa Kelly is the chair of the statewide workgroup that developed standards for attorneys representing children and youth in dependency and termination proceedings. The Children and Youth Advocacy Clinic also has been active in filing amicus briefs in the Washington State Supreme Court in cases seeking to establish the child's constitutional right to counsel in termination of parental rights proceedings.
  • - At the behest of a group of UW law students, Rep. Jeannie Darneille successfully pushed a bill this session to alter the rules governing juvenile records. The bill prohibits consumer reporting agencies from releasing juvenile records to employers, landlords, and other third parties after the person turns 21.
  • - TVW ESHB 2752 worked by 2009-10 Legislative Advocacy Clinic TVW (starting at 23:36)
  • New program designed to improve response to child welfare cases - Building on the strength of the Child and Youth Advocacy Clinic, the law school recently implemented the Court Improvement Training Academy (CITA) under the direction of Tim Jaasko-Fisher.
  • - Seattle P-I Court decisions putting a child in foster care or under state guardianship can leave young people in trauma, even when the choices are smart. In a state struggling to improve foster care, older children deserve as much involvement in determining their future as possible. a pilot project, administered through the Children and Youth Advocacy Clinic, would offer every child 12 and older the help of a trained attorney for dependency cases.
  • - Seattle Times A Skagit County Superior Court Judge decided to allow 14-year-old Dennis Lindberg of Mount Vernon to refuse blood transfusions — based on his religious beliefs — in his fight against leukemia. Lindberg died later that evening. Lisa Kelly is quoted
  • - Seattle P-I Kim Ambrose write about safety issues and crimes in schools.
  • - KCBA Although she is now associate dean for faculty and administration and director of the Children and Youth Advocacy Clinic at the University of Washington School of Law, Lisa Kelly describes herself as “just a working class kid from Pittsburgh.” This working class kid has enjoyed a remarkable career as a civil rights advocate, a legal educator and a champion for the rights of children and families.

Faculty Profiles

Clinic Annual Report

View report


In Their Own Words

The Clinical Law Experience Children and Youth Advocacy Clinic Alumna Megan Vogel

The Child and Youth Advocacy Clinic has received generous support from:

  • Peter Miller and Jean Johnson Foundation
  • The Bobbe and Jon Bridge Endowed Professorship in Child Advocacy
  • The Children’s Justice Interdisciplinary Task Force
  • The Stuart Foundation
  • The Casey Family Program
  • Department of Social and Human Services
  • The State of Washington

Last updated 7/10/2014