The Family and Youth Advocacy Center (FYAC) is a multidisciplinary legal clinic staffed by Capital University Law School faculty, Family and Youth Law Center staff attorneys, and law and social work students. The FYAC team responds to the needs of systems-involved (child welfare/foster care, juvenile justice, mental health and/or developmental disabilities) youth ages 16-25 with information, legal counseling, and representation in the areas described below. The clients FYAC serves are an especially vulnerable population – many are homeless, have aged out of foster care, have had juvenile justice system involvement and/or are victims of crime.
The Family and Youth Advocacy Center has expanded to include the Legal Services for At-Risk Families program, which provides free legal services to vulnerable families whose children may be at risk of child protective services involvement. For more information about this program, please visit: fyacfamily.org
We can assist with the following:
- Obtaining personal records and documents
FYAC can help you get your medical and educational records from your time in foster care. We can also help you get your State of Ohio Identification Card or Driver’s License, Social Security card, and birth certificate. These are all necessary documents for living and working as an adult.
- Credit check and repair
FYAC staff will, with your permission, obtain copies of all three of your credit reports. We will help you learn how to properly read a credit report and review the items on your reports. If we find that items appearing on your report are incorrect or fraudulent (because of identity theft or someone else misusing your personal information), FYAC will assist you in removing those items. Credit scores are used in a number of important parts of adult life, including getting a job and housing, so it is important that your credit reports be accurate.
FYAC staff can give you referral information for local housing-specific resources. We will review your lease agreement prior to you signing it and we can also assist in landlord-tenant disputes, including evictions.
- Juvenile and adult criminal record sealing and expungement
FYAC staff will determine if you are eligible to have juvenile and/or adult criminal record sealed and/or expunged. If you are eligible, we will help you complete the application and attend the hearing with you to speak on your behalf. It is very important to have any and all eligible juvenile and adult records sealed/expunged because these records can stop you from getting a job or home.
- Small claims
On a case-by-case basis, FYAC staff may be able to represent you in filing small claims civil cases against appropriate defendants. Please contact us for an assessment of your small claims situation.
- Public benefits access
FYAC staff can help you complete the Ohio Benefit Bank application as well as apply for Medicaid and other public benefits.
FYAC staff can help you complete your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as well as help you access educational help specific to emancipated foster youth).
- Power of attorney, will, and living will documents
FYAC staff can assist you with creating these legal documents. Power of attorney documents give someone else the legal authority to act on your behalf in a variety of circumstances. Wills are typically used to inform the courts and others of your final wishes for your minor children and property. Living wills are legal documents used when someone is unable to make his or her own decisions because of medical needs. For more detailed information and questions about these documents, please contact our office.
No matter what issues FYAC staff assist you with, we will always make an effort to teach you how to address these and similar issues independently in the future. It is our goal that you will at least know where to go for help if the same or similar issue comes up again for you, but ideally you will be able to advocate for yourself because FYAC staff gave you the tools to do that during our representation.
- Other civil legal issues
If you have an issue that is not listed above, please contact FYAC because we may be able to help you. We make case acceptance decisions on a case-by-case basis and are always willing to discuss your legal needs with you. However, FYAC cannot help with criminal, immigration, or domestic relations legal matters and we cannot help you sue a state agency.
In addition to client-based, services, FYAC offers collaborative, multidisciplinary trainings for judges, attorneys, caseworkers, and agency personnel that promote collaborative decision-making aimed at helping systems-involved youth transition to productive adulthood. FYAC also work to create policy initiatives and changes that serve the same goals.
FYAC provides self-help resources and information. Please visit our Self-Help page for information about sealing and expunging juvenile and adult records, obtaining personal document and more! You can also refer yourself or someone you know to FYAC using the link below.