FYLaw is pleased to announce the selection of Steven Katz and Melissa Bright as its 2015-16 HER FYLaw Adoption and Child Welfare Fellows. Steven is a second year student and Melissa is a third year student at Capital University Law School. Steven will be assisting with the coordination of FYLaw’s Wells Conference on Adoption Law and Moot Court Competition. Melissa will serve as our student representative for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. She recently attended NCJFCJ’s annual conference in San Antonio Texas.
2015 - 2016 HER FYLaw Adoption and Child Welfare Fellows
Many factors place children and youth at risk of involvement with our nation’s delinquency and child protection court systems, including child abuse and neglect, substance abuse, mental health needs, and educational issues. Of the 900,000 children served by the child welfare system, 114,000 foster care children wait for safe, permanent homes because their biological parents’ rights have been terminated. Thousands of these youths exit the foster care system without the skills needed for successful independent living, leaving them vulnerable to unemployment, homelessness, and criminal behavior.
Successful outcomes and futures for these children and youth are dependent on talented and dedicated legal professionals acting in all capacities within our child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Well-trained, highly qualified child advocates, agency counsel, government attorneys, and juvenile judges can make all the difference between a youth’s successful transition into adulthood and a youth’s continued struggle in the system.
HER Adoption & Child Welfare Law Fellowship
Adoption and child welfare law encompass a wide range of complex and challenging aspects. Adoption law professionals deal with termination of parental rights, parental consent, wrongful adoption, race and cultural issues, sexual orientation issues, and international issues. Child welfare and adoption practitioners grapple with systemic issues impacting the 500,000 children in foster care in the United States, which includes about 114,000 children who have been freed for adoption and who are waiting for permanent, loving homes. Each year, approximately 20,000 children in foster care will age out of the system without ever being placed with a permanent family. Qualified, highly trained attorneys are needed to advocate for the children, families, and child-serving agencies which come before the nation’s courts.
Many factors place juveniles at risk of involvement with our nation’s delinquency and child protection systems. These factors include child abuse, neglect, substance abuse, mental health needs and educational issues. Youth who age out of the foster care system are far more likely to become unemployed, homeless and/or involved in the criminal justice system as adults than those who do not.
Felicia Beth Nekritz, L’96, was committed to helping juvenile offenders through her work at the Office of the Ohio Public Defender. The Felicia Beth Nekritz Juvenile Law Fellowship was established in her name to assist students who share her vision for improving the lives of juveniles through prevention, intervention, policy and systemic improvement efforts, as well as the provision of direct services for at-risk youth.
Fellowship Program Details
Students who have completed their first two semesters of law school are eligible to apply for the Fellowship program, using the online application form below. Applications will be accepted in the spring semester for the following school year. Information sessions will be held periodically to provide information to interested students and to answer questions. Applications will be reviewed and finalists will be invited to present their proposal to a selection committee comprised of FYLaw staff members, faculty, administrators, and current Fellows.
Fellowship Application – for students who have completed two semesters of law school
Junior Fellows Program Details
First-year students interested in applying for the Fellowship program in the future are eligible to join our Junior Fellows program. A separate information session will be held each fall for first-year students, and applications are due due in October.
Junior Fellows will be invited to participate in programs and activities throughout their first year of law school that will provide opportunities to meet and interact with FYLaw staff and current Fellows. This may include attending lunch meetings to discuss hot topics, and other FYLaw programs and events. Students are also encouraged to join the Children and Family Law Advocates student organization.
Junior Fellows Application – for first-year students only
Family and Youth Law Center
Capital University Law School
303 East Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215-3200