Advocates for children should be catalysts for change.

Volunteers for Youth Panel

Overview

TeamChild began this partnership with the Spokane County Volunteer Lawyer Program and the local Juvenile Court in 2002 to fill the unmet need for legal advice, counseling and representation for youth who are trying to access safe and stable housing through the Child in Need of Services (CHINS) process.

The Need

Studies have shown that abuse and neglect and conflict in the home are associated with the onset of youth getting into trouble with the law.  A number of these youth end up running away and being homeless or putting themselves into extremely unsafe housing situations. They do not have the knowledge or support network to find a safe path to housing. These youth benefit from having the advice and counseling from a lawyer to understand their legal rights to a safe and stable place to live. There are a limited number of attorneys with both the expertise in this specialized area of law and the skills to connect and engage with these youth. 

Project Strategies

Our Spokane office identified a need for specialized attorneys who could give legal advice, counseling and representation around these issues. TeamChild created the Volunteers for Youth panel and trains volunteer attorneys to consult with youth experiencing conflict in the home and other housing instability. This panel has increased capacity in Spokane County to provide legal representation to homeless and juvenile justice involved youth who are victims of domestic violence or experiencing family conflict. Creating a safe and stable living situation reduces the need for the court’s use of detention or other contempt sanctions. 

For more information about this volunteer lawyer panel, please contact spokaneinfo@teamchild.org.