Barton Child Law and Policy Center

The Barton Child Law and Policy Center promotes and protects the legal rights and interests of children who are involved with the juvenile court, child welfare, and juvenile justice systems. The Center's work is directed by Emory Law faculty and performed by law and other graduate students who participate in reform initiatives and holistic client representation by conducting research; advocating for individual clients; writing articles, policy papers, and other informational materials; and analyzing and drafting legislation and policy directives.

Message from the Director, Melissa Carter

Welcome to the Barton Child Law and Policy Center at Emory University School of Law. Our mission is to promote and protect the legal rights and interests of children involved with the juvenile court, child welfare and juvenile justice systems; to inspire excellence and integrity among the professionals and within the institutions that serve children; and to prepare the next generation of lawyers. Please explore this site to learn more about how our faculty, students and alumni are positively impacting children’s lives through the provision of high quality legal representation and achieving systemic reform through research-based policy development and legislative advocacy.

The Barton Center’s three in-house legal clinics afford students a unique opportunity to integrate legal theory with law practice in a collaborative, interdisciplinary setting. Our students receive instruction in lawyering skills and practice those skills in courtrooms, legislative committee hearings, and administrative settings under close faculty supervision. As they are exposed to the social context against which laws operate, student attorneys in our clinics also gain critical insights into how laws impact vulnerable members of society. The experiences of advising real individual and organizational clients, conducting research and developing reform strategies, arguing before a judge or negotiating a plea, and resolving ethical and strategic challenges as they unfold in complex matters prepares our students for successful and fulfilling careers.

The Barton Center also serves as a resource for practitioners and policymakers committed to justice for children. We provide specialized training and consultation to juvenile court, child welfare and juvenile justice professionals and engage in systemic advocacy at the state and national levels. Visit the other pages on this site to better understand how together, through strategic partnerships and individual dedication, we can ensure justice and safety for all children.


News from the Barton Center

We are pleased to announce that the latest edition of Representing the Whole Child: A Georgia Juvenile Defender Training Manual, 3rd edition, is now available.

Emory Summer Child Advocacy Program 2021

ESCAP Internship Application period is now closed.

In spite of Covid19 remote work policies, the ESCAP 2020 was a success. Read about our interns' experiences.

Thank you for the outstanding responses from agencies and organizations to serve as placements for our 2021 program. The application period to serve as a host is now closed. View the details and timeline for the 2021 program. We will be posting the list of placements soon. Students may apply for positions in late November.

GA Child Welfare Legal Academy

Click on video presentations to view past Legal Academies. Search for "Georgia Child Welfare Legal Academy" to find additional program videos.

To stay informed about all of our Legal Academies and other activities, sign up for our listserv to receive periodic newsletters.


Support the Barton Center

Make a Donation
Your contribution directly supports the work of the Barton Child Law and Policy Center to improve the lives of abused, neglected, and court-involved children. Thank you for your generous support. Our work would not be possible without community contributions.

The Barton Juvenile Defender Clinic is co-counsel with Children's Rights, Inc. on an important lawsuit to ensure youth in jail receive special education services. Read about it here.

Also featured in Psychiatric News, the Barton Juvenile Defender Clinic addresses issues surrounding the school-to-prison pipeline. Read about it here.

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