Barton Child Law and Policy Center


The Barton Center houses four clinical offerings for law and other graduate students. Students selected for enrollment will earn three hours of graded academic credit upon satisfactory completion of 150 hours and fulfillment of course requirements. More information on the academic offerings is available on the Barton Center page of the Emory Law School web site.

Appeal for Youth Clinic

Students in the Appeal for Youth Clinic support appellate representation to protect the constitutional rights of children and parents. Teams of two students work on either a civil appeal regarding legal issues arising from foster care proceedings or criminal appeals on behalf of youthful offenders in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Civil appeals most commonly challenge the necessity of child removals or continued need of foster care while criminal appeals most commonly focus on post-conviction relief. Students in this clinic gain experience interviewing and counseling clients, identifying legal errors and drafting appellate briefs, and working with appointed counsel to prep cases for oral argument. 

Juvenile Defender Clinic

In the Juvenile Defender Clinic second- and third-year law students admitted to practice law under Georgia’s Student Practice Act represent child clients in juvenile court and provide legal advocacy in the areas of school discipline, special education, mental health, and public benefits, when such advocacy is derivative of a client’s juvenile court case. Students also engage in research and participate in the development of public policy related to juvenile justice issues. By allowing students to work directly with clients and take responsibility for the caseload, the Juvenile Defender Clinic aspires to help students understand the impact of the legal system on a community. 

Legislative Advocacy Clinic

The Legislative Advocacy Clinic engages students in the real-world process of taking a reform from the proposal stage to actual enactment. Students hone their advocacy skills by interacting with legislators and elected officials around current law reforms spearheaded by Barton and its community partners. Students attend legislative sessions and present evidence-based testimony in support of initiatives. They live the life of a lobbyist, experiencing first-hand the realities of relationship-building and compromise that are hallmarks of the legislative process. Students also provide technical assistance to legislators and other stakeholders in assessing the merits and legality of various proposals. Examples of recent legislation spearheaded by Barton include increased protections for victims of commercial sexual exploitation, expanding the scope of the state’s mandatory child abuse reporting statute, and passage of a comprehensive revision to Georgia’s Juvenile Code.

Public Policy Clinic

Lawyers who practice in the public interest face a range of choices about which issues are most salient and what measures are best adapted to accomplishing desired goals. The purpose of the Public Policy Clinic is to engage students in the process of policy development, from conceptualization to the drafting of concrete proposals for reform. Working in teams, students begin by identifying and researching real life problems relating to children and youth. Teams explore options for addressing the problem and produce blueprints to guide reform efforts. They receive detailed feedback on their work product. Students also participate in ongoing initiatives in the Georgia child advocacy community and in building and sustaining partnerships with state agencies and other stakeholders.

Barton Center Newsletter

To receive email updates from the Barton Center, please enter your email address in the form below. The Barton Center uses this list to disseminate targeted news and organizational information. This list is not used as a forum for discussion. When the Georgia General Assembly is in session, subscribers may receive one or two messages per week. During the rest of the year, subscribers will receive one to four messages per month.