Our Work

Children’s Law Center has been fighting for 24 years to ensure every child in the District of Columbia can grow up with a stable family, good health and a quality education.

Judges, pediatricians and families call on us to advocate for children who are abused or neglected, who aren’t learning in school or who have health problems that can’t be solved by medicine alone. Councilmembers, DC government officials and advocates turn to us when the District’s laws and policies are failing children and need to be improved.

DC’s Black and Brown children often shoulder the combined burden of systemic racism, poverty and trauma. We address this by finding long-term solutions – whether we advocate for mental health services when a child has experienced multiple traumas or secure changes to school discipline laws.

With nearly 100 lawyers, social workers and other professional staff and additional help from hundreds of pro bono lawyers, we reach one out of every nine children in DC’s poorest neighborhoods – more than 5,000 children and families each year. We multiply this impact by advocating for city-wide solutions that benefit all children.

Making Learning Fun Again

When schools went virtual, 12-year-old Elmer had difficulty studying English on a computer and faced multiple technical issues along the way. Not having the dedicated aide who helped him in his classes made learning even more challenging. Thanks to a generous donation from a Children’s Law Center supporter, Elmer and hundreds of other kids like him received activity kits and digital devices to keep them engaged. Elmer’s mom loved seeing Elmer’s excitement come to life,

Despite his learning difficulties, Elmer exerted himself and built a robot from the kit in five hours. He was so proud of himself.

One Grandfathers' Life-Changing New Role

For Mr. Waters, taking care of his 12- and 7-year-old grandsons, Crevonte and Kaire, has been life-changing. When their mother was unable to care for them, Children’s Law Center stepped in to help him gain custody and move the grandfamily into a special community for grandparents raising grandkids. Now, with a support system made up of fellow church members and grandparents, Mr. Waters reflects on his rewarding new role,

I see that I’m saving lives and doing the right thing. And I couldn’t have done it without Children’s Law Center.

Turning 21 During a Pandemic

20-year-old Jamal was on track to graduate in June – one month before turning 21. Then the pandemic hit, and he spent his time worrying about whether he would graduate or have a place to live. Thankfully, Children’s Law Center advocated for legislation that ensured foster youth turning 21 would continue receiving support and resources until after the public health emergency was over. His Children's Law Center lawyer shared Jamal’s reaction to the good news,

He's relieved knowing he won't be kicked out on the streets in a few months if he doesn't have a place to live.

Creighton Magid, Chair, Dorsey & Whitney LLP

Melissa Wiley, Treasurer, Ernst & Young LLP

Elizabeth Bausch, Secretary

Allison L. Alexander, Clark Enterprises, Inc.

Meagan Barkett, NorthStar Anesthesia

Brian V. Breheny, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, Manatt Health

Anne P. Davis, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP

Manu Gayatrinath, Latham & Watkins LLP

Stephanie P. Hales, Sidley Austin LLP

Frederick L. Klein, DLA Piper

Michael S. Labson, Covington & Burling LLP

Claire M. Maddox, Dentons US LLP

Daniel A. Masur, Mayer Brown LLP

Evan Miller, Jones Day

Miguel E. Rodriguez, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Simone E. Ross, Covington & Burling LLP

Joanne L. Zimolzak, Dykema Gossett PLLC

Stephanie P. Hales, Chair, Sidley Austin LLP

Stephanie M. Bell, Wiley Rein LLP

Meredith L. Boylan, Venable LLP

Jennifer Brough, Locke Lord LLP

Karen Bruni, Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Jill Caiazzo, Amazon

Nicole Cerquitella, Aetna

Ronald Coenen Jr., Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP

Theresa M. Coughlin, Jones Day

Nathaniel Custer, WilmerHale

Michael S. DePrince, Troutman Pepper

Sean M. FitzGerald, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

Tracey A. Fung, Williams & Connolly LLP

Charlotte Gillingham, Crowell & Moring LLP

Adam C. Goldstein, Clifford Chance US LLP

Shira M. Helstrom, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Melanie Katsur, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Kara H. Lowery

Maureen C. McDonald, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

David McDonough, Wells Fargo & Company

Stacey McEvoy, Hogan Lovells US LLP

Bryan Nese, Mayer Brown LLP

Jessica T. Nyman, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Katherine E. Pappas, Miller & Chevalier Chartered

Julia Post, Covington & Burling LLP

Jessica A. Rebarber, Dentons US LLP

Timothy W. Riffe, Fish & Richardson P.C.

Benjamin Shapiro, Deloitte

Margaret (Maggie) Spicer, White & Case LLP

Catie Ventura, Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Ben Wolfert, Bates White Economic Consulting

Melissa Wiley, Chair
Jessica Abrahams
John T. Bentivoglio
Thomas N. Bulleit
H. Guy Collier, Past Co-chair
Joseph S. Conti
Wayne R. Curtis
Renee DeSilva
Donna Donlon
Ona Alston Dosunmu
Patrick Doyle
Janet Eakes
Evan R. Farber
Joseph C. Figini
Vicki Scheer Foster, Past Co-chair
Mary Giliberti
Wendy Goldberg

Justin Gray

Nina Gross
Michael N. Harreld
Anthony Herman
Sharon Gibson Judge
Leslie Kiernan
Ed Lazere
May Liang
James Marsh, Founder
Margaret J. McKinney
Kenneth Noyes
Sylvia Pearson
Robert A. Peck
Alan A. Pemberton
Charles F. (Rick) Rule
Theodore D. Segal
Nancy Sidamon-Eristoff