Child Welfare Clinic
Child Welfare/Family Justice Clinic (CWC)
Rahkel Bouchet, Esq., Adjunct Professor and Supervising Attorney
Howard Law’s Child Welfare/Family Justice Clinic is the result of a contract awarded by the D.C. Superior Courtís Counsel for Child Abuse and Neglect (CCAN) Office. This Clinic will be offered for credit to third year law students who are eligible for admittance under the Student Practice Rule of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. The Clinic is an eight (8) credit, year-long course. The Clinic will serve up to 12 students per year. In order to enroll in the Clinic, students will have to apply, be interviewed and accepted by the Supervising Attorney or the CLC Director. Eligible students must have taken a course in Criminal Procedure and Evidence, and to have undertaken prerequisite or co-requisite courses such as Family Law, Family Law Practice, Children and the Law, Domestic, or Adoption Law. Preference for admittance will be given to those students currently participating in our previously established Family Law Certificate Program.
The Child Welfare/Family Justice Clinic will combine classroom instruction with work on actual cases. Students will attend three hours of classroom instruction per week, to include the necessary law, legal, ethical and advocacy training and skills required to successfully represent adults involved in child abuse and neglect cases, including Client Interviewing Skills, Trial Advocacy Skills, Family Division Practices and Procedures, DC Rules of Professional Conduct, DC Code Title 16 and Child Abuse & Neglect Attorney Practice Standards. Classes will also include case rounds, analysis of ethical, strategic and client representation issues, litigation planning and litigation skill development. Students will work on cases appointed to the Clinic by the Family Court Division of the District of Columbia Superior Court and accepted by the Supervising Attorney. They will work on actual case matters with assignments to include interviewing clients by telephone and in person, case analysis and adherence to Child Abuse and Neglect Practice Standards.
Their case work will include factual investigation and research of various issues and claims, court appearances, team meetings with other service providers, and community outreach projects, as well as research and preparation of pleadings, motions, memoranda and oral arguments on relevant pending cases. Students will staff the intake system (which is an integral component of the clinical program at Howard Law) by devoting in-office hours each week to the Clinic and which include interviewing and triage of requests for representation which come from write-ins, walk-ins, e-mails via our clinical program’s website www.law.howard.edu, and referrals from outside organizations.
This course is designed to introduce students to a broad array of advocacy and advisory skills and substantive law to enable them to provide direct legal representation to parents who have or are alleged to have neglected or abused their children in a way that has resulted in state intervention.
updated: October 9, 2015