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Interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic

Founded in 1983, the Interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic brings together law, social work, medicine and mental health to advocate across disciplines for families and children while teaching students fundamental lawyering skills through an interdisciplinary practice.  

Students meet with a CHOP family through the CHOP Penn Legal Partnership. Students meet with a CHOP family through the CHOP Penn Legal Partnership.

About ICAC

Students represent their clients on a range of issues including dependency, custody, and education matters. In recent years, students litigated as Child Advocates in Family Court for youth in foster care, and represented migrant children in custody proceedings in Domestic Relations Court. Interdisciplinary teams of law and social work students advocated for their clients to secure essential services including mental health treatment, financial aid, childcare benefits, and appropriate educational plans. In one of the first cases in Pennsylvania, clinic students successfully argued for two teen parents to re-enter foster care after they turned 18. The interdisciplinary team’s exceptional advocacy resulted in our clients securing stable, supportive housing for their family and wraparound services to assist with their medical and educational needs.

Students

The Clinic gives law students the structure and support to provide direct representation to clients with complex problems involving the child welfare, education, immigration and mental health systems. Students prepare for their real life client representation through simulations focusing on interviewing, counseling, and litigation skills. Law students work in teams with graduate level social work students and receive additional supervision and guidance from the ICAC Social Work Supervisor. Throughout the semester, students learn from and collaborate with experts from Youth Fostering Change, CHOP, Nurse-Family Partnership and HIAS Pennsylvania.

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