What can you do to help kids?
Do you need help with a legal matter?
- Mark Your Calendar
for the next Children's
Advocates' Roundtable: Sept. 11, 2014 —agenda coming soon!
- NEW CAI Presentation Illustrates What to Know about For-Profit Colleges Before You Enroll (June 26, 2014)
- NEW CAI Oped published by Sacramento Bee: Viewpoints: Jerry Brown neglected children by stripping $11 million from the budget (June 22, 2014)
- CAI Files Amicus Curiae Brief Urging U.S. Supreme Court Review in Pierre v. Holder (May 28, 2014)
- CAI Submits Comments to U.S. Department of Education's Proposed Rule on Gainful Employment (May 23, 2014)
- CAI Submits Comments to Children's Bureau on Proposed Changes to CFSR Process (May 22, 2014)
- House of Representatives Passes CAI-Supported Bipartisan Legislation to
Prevent and Address Sex Trafficking of Youth in Foster Care (May 20, 2014)
- CAI and Coalition Call Out May Revise for Failing to Address Kin Equity Issue (May 20, 2014)
- CAI Joins Coalition Urging Legislators to Align Foster Youth Services Program with Local Control Funding Formula (Apr. 28, 2014)
- CAI Releases 2013 Children's Legislative Report Card (Apr.17, 2014)
- Follow CAI's Advocacy to Ensure Appropriate Oversight of Private For-Profit Postsecondary Educational Institutions (Apr.16, 2014)
- Commentary by CAI Executive Director Robert Fellmeth published by San Diego Union-Tribune (Apr.14, 2014)
- CAI Executive Director Robert Fellmeth and David Chadwick co-author Expert Testimony in Pediatric Forensics (Apr. 4, 2014)
- View 2014 state legislative priorities for CAI and for other child advocacy organizations (March 20, 2014)
- CAI files Opening Brief in appeal challenging settlement in Facebook class action (March 14, 2014)
- CAI joins new Step Up campaign, aimed at better supporting foster youth placed with relatives. (Feb. 19, 2014)
- CAI Releases New Report on MHSA and Transition Age Foster Youth: Report / Press Release (Dec. 20, 2013)
- CAI Releases Report Reviewing First 18 Months of AB Implementation: Report / Press Release (Dec. 9, 2013)
VIEW WHAT'S NEW ARCHIVES
The Children’s Advocacy Institute (CAI), founded at the nonprofit University of San Diego School of Law in 1989, is one of the nation's premiere academic, research, and advocacy organization working to improve the lives of children and youth, with special emphasis on improving the child protection and foster care systems and enhancing resources that are available to youth aging out of foster care.
In its academic component, CAI trains law students and attorneys to be effective child advocates throughout their legal careers. Its Child Advocacy Clinic gives USD Law students three distinct clinical opportunities to advocate on behalf of children and youth, and its Dependency Counsel Training Program provides comprehensive training to licensed attorneys engaged in or contemplating Dependency Court practice.
Conducted through its offices in San Diego, Sacramento, and Washington, D.C., CAI's research and advocacy component seeks to leverage change for children and youth through impact litigation, regulatory and legislative advocacy, and public education. Active primarily at the federal and state levels, CAI’s efforts are multi-faceted — comprehensively and successfully embracing all tools of public interest advocacy to improve the lives of children and youth.
CAI's accomplishments and projects
include the following:
- first-in-the-nation litigation challenging a state's reimbursements to foster parents as being so low as to dissuade foster parents from caring for abused and neglected children.
- landmark legislation opening up state and county child protective services practices to public scrutiny when children die from abuse or neglect -- legislation that has prompted sweeping administrative reforms in at least two California counties.
- legislation requiring foster children who age out of the juvenile justice system to be provided the same program eligibility assistance as those who age out of the dependency system.
- path-breaking litigation challenging the judiciary's policy of imposing caseloads on lawyers for abused and neglected children that are up to twice what the judiciary itself says is the practical maximum.
- legislation prompting the nation's largest county to treat sexually exploited minors as victims rather than criminals.
- creation of the innovative Transition Life Coach proposal designed to provide services, resources and mentoring to former foster youth as they make the difficult transition to adulthood and self-sufficiency.
- administration of an annual program recognizing the state's news outlets for their coverage of children's issues.
- litigation ensuring that Social Security payments benefitting foster children are disbursed based upon the child's best interests.
- operation of a program of direct outreach to San Diego County's homeless youth, aiding them in obtaining benefits and services, and protecting their rights in court and before administrative agencies.
- exhaustively documenting the failure of Proposition 63 -- the Mental health Services Act -- to provide any significant benefits to the population of transition age youth with the greatest mental health needs -- former foster children.
- implementation of Kids' Plates, a personalized vehicle license plates program whose proceeds are earmarked for child abuse prevention, child injury prevention programs, and child care regulation;
- legislation to require children under the age of 18 to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle;
- research and evaluation of a pilot project substituting a single, interdisciplinary interview of a child abuse victim for repeated interrogations by multiple interviewers;
- coordination and leadership of the Children’s Advocates Roundtable, a network of 300 statewide and regional child policy organizations representing over twenty issue disciplines;
- creation of the Child Advocacy Clinic, a unique academic opportunity for law students to work on dependency or delinquency court cases under the supervision of an attorney, or on a variety of policy projects with a CAI attorney or other professional staff;
- operation of the Information Clearinghouse on Children, which works to stimulate accurate and meaningful discussion of child-related topics by the media and policymakers.
View CAI Program Overview