C-rntifced legal interns have an opportunity to represent
children in delinquency and dependency courts.
Gator TeamChild interns go into area schools to teach
students about laws that af[tct children.
Client-centered representation is heavily emphasized in the
Gator TeamChild curriculum.
Juvenile Law Clinic
Gator TeamChild Juvenile Law Clinic has
operated since Fall 1998 as an integral part
of the Virgil Hawkins Civil Clinic and the
Center on Children and Families at the
University of Florida Levin College of Law.
It is one of the many innovative hands-on
educational programs organized for the
benefit of students and the community. The
clinic provides free legal services to indigent
children and trains lawyers, social workers
and other professionals in skills necessary to
be advocates for children.
Gator TeamChild has a substantial, positive
impact on the children it represents as well
as on the law students who receive a front-
line education in juvenile law and procedure
and fundamental advocacy skills, including
interviewing, counseling, case management
and negotiation. Law students are certified
by the Florida Supreme Court to practice law
under supervision of faculty who are licensed
attorneys. They are trained to operate
effectively in a law office setting and navigate
bureaucracies, agencies and court systems.
Gator TeamChild is founded on the idea
that effective representation stems from the
commitment to a holistic approach. The
clinic specializes in representing children
with multifaceted issues and firmly believes
in simultaneously addressing the child's
legal, social and educational needs. A
large percentage of our practice is geared
towards advocating for children who have
cases in both dependency and delinquency
courts. However, we are always looking for
new challenges as we strive to expand the
boundaries of child advocacy.
Gator TeamChild provides lawyers for children while developing a pool of trained and skilled attorneys
to provide legal services to children in the future. The program provides: (1) resources, research
and training for lawyers throughout Florida who represent children and need support to carry out
their advocacy and (2) a clearinghouse for ideas and a center for coordination and collaboration for
professionals who work to improve the lives of children.
Gator TeamChild is based on a model I .
of interdisciplinary representation:
* Lawyers and social workers collaborate
to provide comprehensive legal and
* Law students work in teams with
graduate students in social work to
determine the needs of each child client,
assess strengths and weaknesses of the
child and family, and then advocate for
the provision of services.
* Student teams collaborate with other
professionals in the community-
caseworkers, psychiatrists and
physicians-to access a broad range of
services for child clients.
Children are referred for Gator TeamChild
services by courts, guardians ad litem,
school personnel, public defenders and
prosecutors, state agency case workers,
medical personnel, parents and other
agencies. Children who are clients have
encountered legal problems and issues
ranging from delinquency and dependency
to emancipation, guardianship, special
education, expulsions, suspensions and
social security disability.
Gator TeamChild is funded by the
Levin College of Law and individual
contributions from law alumni and
friends. The Jessie Ball duPont Fund
provided a generous contribution to
establish the program during its inception.
To help, contact Director Meshon Rawls.
Gator Team Child is .,I t. 4i Meshon Rawls, Director;
Karen Keroack, Licensed Clinical Social Worker; and
Judy Boyd, Administrative Assistant.
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