Senior Attorney - Child Welfare Litigation and Policy
Juvenile Law Center advocates for rights, dignity, equity and opportunity for all youth in the child welfare and justice systems.
Founded in 1975, Juvenile Law Center is the first non-profit, public interest law firm for children in the country. Through litigation, appellate advocacy and submission of amicus (friend-of-the-court) briefs, policy reform, public education, training, consulting, and strategic communications, we fight for children who come into contact with the child welfare and justice systems. Widely published and internationally recognized as leaders in the field, Juvenile Law Center has substantially shaped the development of law and policy on behalf of youth. We strive to ensure that laws, policies, and practices affecting youth advance racial and economic equity and are rooted in research, consistent with children’s unique developmental characteristics, and reflective of international human rights values. Current issues can be found here.
The Senior Attorney will work in our Decarceration and Eliminating Congregate Care Department, with a primary focus on developing our child welfare portfolio. This is a new position with a primary focus on engaging with Juvenile Law Center legal and policy leaders to develop initiatives to transform our current child welfare system in accordance with our Strategic Plan.
Projects in this department include affirmative civil litigation in state and federal courts around the country, appellate and amicus litigation, and policy advocacy. The work may also include public education, media advocacy, training, technical assistance, coordinating state or national reform efforts including organizing and facilitating meetings, and other duties as assigned. All our work requires collaboration in a highly collegial atmosphere with attorneys, communications, development, and operations staff, and in partnership with colleagues around the state and country.
Essential Functions (include, but not limited to)
Think strategically about how to reduce harm in and transform the child welfare system to be developmentally appropriate, racially equitable, and supportive of youth, families and communities using an abolition framework
Develop initiatives to address systemic issues in the child welfare system for older youth in foster care
Develop strategies to abolish congregate care, confront racial disparities in placement, and invest in youth, families, and communities
Engage in impact litigation and appellate advocacy to shape the field of child welfare, including drafting memoranda, motions, and briefs as well as oral advocacy and trial participation as needed
Engage in policy reform efforts, including analyzing statutes and regulations, drafting fact sheets and publications, and convening key stakeholders
Provide public education at conferences, convenings, and meetings
Provide technical assistance to lawyers, social workers, advocates, and other stakeholders on child welfare issues
At least 7 years of experience in child welfare policy or civil litigation. Direct representation in child welfare matters may be relevant, but only applicants with demonstrated policy and litigation experience beyond individual representation will be considered.
Demonstrated commitment to civil rights, racial justice, economic justice, and children’s rights
Commitment to our mission and vision
Strong research, writing, oral communication, and legal skills
Expertise in child welfare system reform through past personal and/or professional experience
Demonstrated expertise in policy reform at state and federal level or campaign building
Highly collaborative, including ability to work effectively with external partners and internal colleagues; ability to build strong rapport and relationships; ability to work collaboratively alongside youth
Strong sense of professionalism, including ability to manage multiple deadlines; strong work ethic and commitment to see assignments completed thoroughly and timely; flexibility to pitch in when needed; willingness to learn new skills and improve existing skills
Previous experience with child welfare policy analysis and advocacy A commitment to racial equity, including: a dedication to expanding analysis and knowledge about the role that racial inequity plays in our society and a commitment to building or deepening commitment to racial justice work with a goal of abolition.
Ability to integrate understanding of racial equity concepts into work projects by addressing structural implications and disproportionate impacts of laws, policies, and practices.
Additional Skills and Experiences Preferred
Experience using multiple lawyering strategies, including litigation, appellate advocacy, policy advocacy
Demonstrated skills in racial justice advocacy, including: a demonstrated understanding of the role of racial inequity in movement-building, a demonstrated ability to effectively manage across difference
Insights into the child welfare system that bring a new perspective to Juvenile Law Center, which may be based on personal experience in the system, personal experience as a member of a historically oppressed group, and/or deep knowledge of a relevant body of law
Note: Juvenile Law Center has a commitment to professional development and will actively support candidates in further developing their skills in these areas.
This position is Senior Attorney level position. It will report to the Managing Attorneys, Chief Executive Office, and Chief Legal Officer. The Senior Attorney will have supervisory responsibilities over interns, legal fellows, and staff attorneys on child welfare matters
Salary is commensurate with experience. The minimum starting salary for an attorney with seven years experience is $80,064.
Juvenile Law Center offers excellent benefits, including employer paid health, dental and vision insurance for employees and their family, short- and long-term disability and life insurance, and employer contributions to 403b retirement plans. Paid time off includes fifteen (15) vacation days, five (5) personal days and twelve (12) sick days. Juvenile Law Center is closed for twelve holidays and for the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Juvenile Law Center’s physical office in Philadelphia is closed through January 18, 2022. We anticipate a hybrid work schedule in the new year. Juvenile Law Center’s office is open to use only by employees who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19. This position may be remote or in person. Once the office reopens, individuals working remotely will be expected to travel to Philadelphia on a regular basis to be determined based on the needs of the position as identified by the individual’s supervisor and the needs of the organization. All remote working employees will be expected to travel to Philadelphia a minimum of once every other month.
At Juvenile Law Center, we believe that we must do all that we can to protect the safety, health, and well-being of employees, youth advocates, guests, our communities, and others with whom we interact. All offers of employment are contingent on the candidate showing proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to pass the pre-employment requirements. Individuals in need of an exemption from this policy due to medical reasons, or because of a sincerely held religious belief may request an exemption from this policy. Accommodations will be granted where they do not cause Juvenile Law Center undue hardship or pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others.
Round 1: Submit your application by completing this form and email a single PDF containing your resume, list of three references and a writing sample to email@example.com. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
Round 2: Candidates will be invited to schedule a 45-minute video interview with members of the hiring team.
Round 3: Finalists will be invited to two 45-minute interviews with members of the hiring team, the Chief Operating Officer, and staff from the relevant departments for the position. Following this round of interviews, candidate references will be checked.
Equitable/Inclusionary Hiring Practices
Juvenile Law Center seeks to minimize bias and the impact of structural racism in the fields we work in within our hiring practices. To that end, we focus on relevant skills and experience, and aim to de-prioritize information that can allow for implicit bias.
Juvenile Law Center is committed to advancing equity both internally and in our advocacy
work. We recognize the urgency and necessity of actively building and supporting diverse leadership at Juvenile Law Center and in the field more broadly. We are committed to actively recruiting and hiring from communities most impacted by our work. Applicants working to advance equity and who identify with these impacted communities are strongly encouraged to apply and self-identify during the application process.
Juvenile Law Center’s mission is to advocate for rights, dignity, equity, and opportunity in the child welfare and justice systems. The diversity of our staff is critical to fulfilling this mission.
Juvenile Law Center is committed to cultivating an inclusive space that affirms and celebrates the backgrounds, learned and lived expertise, whole identities, and individual perspectives of our staff. We are committed to the diversity of our staff as it pertains to race, color, ethnicity, class, sex, marital or parental status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, size, disability, religion, national origin, and/or child welfare or juvenile or criminal justice involvement, including prior record of arrest, adjudication, or conviction. Applicants of all backgrounds and experiences are encouraged to self-identify during the application process.
Juvenile Law Center is an equal opportunity employer.