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

Emory Summer Child Advocacy Program

We are gearing up for the 2017 ESCAP training. If your organization is serving as a placement for a summer intern who is not part of ESCAP, we would be happy to include him/her in our training May 22-25 at Emory School of Law. This intensive 4-day training will give your interns an overview of the GA child welfare system and the skills and knowledge to get them started on Day 1 in your office. Contact Melinda Banks, mbanks8(at)emory.edu for details.

GA Child Welfare Legal Academy

Recent shifts in federal spending policies have signaled an uncertain future for federal programs that impact children in the areas of child welfare, early childhood, education, health, housing, and nutrition. Closer to home, the Georgia General Assembly concluded its 2017 session and the Atlanta Journal Constitution identified "children in foster care" among those "left behind by this year's legislation." Our next Legal Academy is scheduled for Wednesday, May 17, from 1:30-3:45 pm at Emory Law School. This program will feature a legislative update and discussion facilitated by State Representative Mary Margaret Oliver and Polly McKinney, Advocacy Director for Voices for Georgia's Children. Register online for this event.

Click on video presentations to view past Legal Academies.

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

Guardian Ad Litem training

The Office of the Child Advocate is now offering online guardian ad litem training. This course offers 6.5 CLE hours and satisfies the GAL training requirement in O.C.G.A. § 15-11-104(f) and CAPTA Section 106. Access the training through this link: https://www.prosolutionstraining.com/ocagal.

Representing the Whole Child manual

Click on Representing the Whole Child: A Georgia Juvenile Defender Training Manual to view the second edition that is now available in pdf format. It will also be posted on our Publications page soon.

Child Welfare Legal Academy presentation videos are back online!

Thank you for your patience as Emory School of Law transitioned to a new website. Our most recent Child Welfare Legal Academy presentations and juvenile code revision presentations are now available. Please visit and bookmark the Barton Center's "Presentations" page on the Emory Law website.


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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