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

2014 Youth Law Conference

Save the dates for the 2014 Youth Law Conference to be held June 23-25th. Abstracts are now being accepted. More details are available at http://gaccchildlaw.org/.

Special collaboration with Department of Juvenile Justice and the Governor's Office for Children and Families.

Recently, the Barton Center collaborated with DJJ and GOCF to bring together several presenters for a "Forum to Increase Evidence-Based Practices by Addressing Disparities in the System - Part II." This presentation is available for viewing at our Emory Law School Presentations page.

The webcast on Wed., Dec. 11, of the follow up discussion of Disparate Minority Contact is now posted on the Presentations page at Emory Law School.

2014 Complex Trauma in Children Summit

On April 25, 2014, the next Summit will take place in Savannah at the Coastal Georgia Center at Georgia Southern University from 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon. Details are available at the online registration site. Reserve your seat today!

The 2014 Child Welfare Legal Academy: A Year of Exploring Openness in Child Welfare

Additional sponsors of this series: The Supreme Court of Georgia's Committee on Justice for Children; The Georgia Department of Human Services; Casey Family Programs; and Voices for Georgia's Children. Please join us for a series of classes exploring the rationales in our current laws and policies around confidentiality in our child welfare system.

Class 3 - Open Courts in Georgia
Thurs., April 24, 2014, at Emory School of Law
1:00-3:15 pm

For the next installment of the Child Welfare Legal Academy, a panel of Georgia juvenile court judges will discuss their experiences with the state's open courts law since its enactment in 2009, and offer their insights on the law's effectiveness at promoting community engagement and system transparency.  Confirmed panelists include Judge Bradley Boyd (Fulton County Juvenile Court), Judge Lane Bearden (Gordon County Juvenile Court), and Judge Deitra Burney-Butler (Clayton County Juvenile Court). Ashley Willcott, Director of the Office of the Child Advocate, will serve as moderator for the panel.

Other judges have been invited. Click on online registration to reserve your seat.

Class 4 - Open Adoptions in Georgia

Details forthcoming.

Class 5 - Let's Hear from Former Foster Youth

Details forthcoming.

Class 6 - A Public Case Review

Details forthcoming.


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.

One Advisory Committee Member's Story
Stephen F. Fusco 98C 01L raises funds for the Barton Center, saying “The Barton Child Law and Policy Center was my single best experience in law school.”

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