Open navigation menu. Close navigation menu.

Children’s Law Center is a leading advocate for DC children and families.

Our systemic advocacy is grounded in the experience we have gained helping more than 50,000 District children and families since our founding in 1996. We use this expertise to partner with the Mayor, District agencies, the DC Council, other advocates, parents and youth for city-wide solutions that better serve children’s needs. 

We work to change laws, policies and practice and appellate caselaw. We also secure media coverage to raise awareness about the District’s successes and failures in meeting children’s needs. Whether it is ensuring appellate caselaw gives proper weight to a parent’s wishes, working with DC education agencies to improve special education programs across all DC schools or increasing the number of pediatricians who screen for children’s mental health needs – our policy and appellate advocacy delivers real results that improve all children’s lives.

Children’s Behavioral Health

Even before the pandemic, children living in DC experienced deep levels of poverty, racism and trauma that took a toll on their mental health. The social isolation and loss of family members due to COVID made that burden even heavier. Reforming DC’s behavioral health system continues to be our top priority with a focus on increasing the number of providers, improving funding and breaking down barriers that prevent children from getting care.

Child hugging a teddy bear

Appellate Victories

Our appellate team works to address recurring issues that show up across our cases and push the law in directions that will meaningfully improve children’s lives. Until recently, practitioners and judges had little guidance on how to evaluate the harm of removal when determining whether to place a child in foster care. Working with our trial lawyers, our appellate team secured an important precedent from the Court of Appeals — helping to prevent future unnecessary removals. 

Healthy Housing

When a child lives in a moldy or pest-infested home, they are more likely to end up in the ER because their housing conditions can trigger health issues like asthma. Children’s Law Center represents children and families who need landlords to fix these housing issues and advocates for city-wide reforms that ensure healthier housing for all children.

Young boy on a hospital bed attached to several medical tubes