“The Clinic for me was an opportunity to integrate theory and practice and experience for the first time practical legal work… While in class we learned about the legal rights of children and youth and the surrounding legal issues raised; at the ongoing practical work we learned how to implement these issues. With Shiran's close supervision, we managed to get a taste of the practical work involved in policy change and dealing with legal cases of minors".
Student in the Children and Youth Rights Clinic
The Children and Youth Rights Clinic works to promote the rights of at-risk children and youth in Israel. The Clinic provides individual legal aid and representation, runs education and empowerment programs for children and at-risk youth, and engages in ongoing policy change and legislative reform work that stem from various pressing needs and issues that are raised by the children and youth whom the Clinic’s students encounter in their field work.
The Clinic runs two main projects. Through theStreet Law Program, students lead a year-long weekly workshop for youth at risk, exposing them to the legal system, including citizens’ rights and obligations. The Representation of Children and Youth Projectoffers representation to children and youth who require legal assistance in various civil actions based on insurance claims, National Insurance Institute rights, foster care and adoption issues, as well as criminal charges. Students manage all elements of the cases except for actual court representation performed by the clinical attorney, including emotional help referrals and assistance with housing, employment, education, welfare and other issues. In addition, the students engage in policy-level projects to assist child and youth victims.
Among the Clinic's recent achievement:
- The Clinic represented a minor from Mesila (a locked home for at-risk young girls). The Clinic accompanied the minor through a legal procedure at the juvenile court, in which it was agreed to accept the minor's request to move to a different facility. The Clinic, with the help of a youth Social worker, located an alternative facility for the girl. In the framework of the court discussion, a special emphasis was given to the obligation to hear the minor and respect her request.
- The Clinic wrote a report reviewing the issue of minors running away from out-of-home care facilities. The report, based on the many cases dealt by the Clinic, described the current situation, while examining the difficulties arising from criminal enforcement in this area. Following the report and a roundtable dissuasion held by the Clinic, the Ministry of Justice is working to promote a change of the existing protocol.