With spring upon us and increasing hope on the horizon, we invite you to take a peek at a few highlights of CLC’s work. Read our first E-Newsletter.

Note from the Executive Director

Dear CLC Friends and Supporters,

With spring upon us and increasing hope on the horizon, we invite you to take a peek at a few highlights of CLC’s work. In this issue, we are proud to announce Phyllis Stricklan as CLC’s first Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and to share the incredible advocacy of CLC Attorney Laura Guerrero – a fitting way to close out Women’s History Month – as we highlight two of the many forward-thinking, groundbreaking women CLC is lucky to have on board making sure all our young clients thrive. We also invite you to join us for our ‘Big Day of Self-Care’ virtual event coordinated by our Northern California office to celebrate the resilience of our clients and staff, and to take a few much-needed moments to pause and reflect on how far we have come. As always, we are grateful for your continued partnership in standing up for foster youth.

Leslie Heimov
Executive Director

CLC Announces New Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Children’s Law Center of California (CLC) is proud to announce that Phyllis Stricklan has been selected as CLC’ first Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).  Phyllis will spearhead the implementation of a new strategic plan that centers on racial justice and equity and expands our current work to include the enactment of new strategies and best legal practices to address disproportionality and disparity in child welfare.

2020 was a year of unforeseen challenges for CLC’s young clients and their families – but with the hard-work of CLC’s staff and the continued generosity of our supporters, our clients persevered. Basin Street Properties is one of our long-time supporters who has rallied around our clients time and time again. Each year, Basin Street generously participates in our Adopt-A-Family activities, bringing joy to families in need during the holidays. Importantly, Basin Street has acted as a community hub, bringing people together to uplift CLC and other non-profits in the Sacramento Region. Every year, without fail, Basin Street supports CLC as we prepare to participate in the Big Day of Giving — encourage tenants from all over Sacramento to support children in the Sacramento and Placer County foster care systems. We are incredibly grateful for Basin Street Properties and their continued partnership!

The 2021 California legislative session is in full swing! CLC has been working diligently with state leaders to introduce legislation that prioritizes children and youth in foster care, particularly during the ongoing public health crisis. Our legislative priorities this year are centered on addressing the harmful impact of racial disparities within the child welfare system. CLC is proud to co-sponsor the creation of a blind removal pilot program and legislation that addresses the disproportionate impact of school suspensions on Black students in foster care. Additionally, we are focused on enhancing support and eliminating gaps related to reproductive health, access to immigration services, and resources for parenting youth in foster care. Learn more about CLC’s five sponsored bills and how you can take action with us.

BDOG Save the Date

CLC is excited to participate in the 2021 Big Day of Giving! This year, we will be kicking off the May 5, 2021 events with the “Big Day of Self-Care,” an online mini event to support our Sacramento clients. As 2020 was a year full of challenges for our clients and the CLC community, we want to recognize their resiliency and strength. The “Big Day of Self-Care” will feature a free virtual event with self-care tips and tricks, guided meditation, and an opportunity to purchase a self-care box full of goodies. Support CLC’s while relaxing and practicing the self-care you deserve!

For CLC Attorney Laura Guerrero, becoming a lawyer was an unexpected career change. While working in the nonprofit sector supporting children and families, Laura decided to go after her dream and apply to law school – a moment she now views as a miracle and blessing.  

Since joining CLC in 2016, Laura says her job does not feel like a job. “It’s a privilege to explain to a child that they have a voice in what happens to them and that their voice is important.” While the pandemic has made the work more challenging, she truly enjoys the opportunity to connect with children. Her passion and care for her young clients is apparent to everyone who works with Laura and was on full display with one of her recent cases: 

Laura was appointed to represent a youth with multiple layers of needs – emotional trauma, immigration issues, placement concerns, and more.  As a fluent Spanish speaker, Laura was able to build trust with her young client, and support her as she navigated an unfamiliar court system with language barriers. After a placement in a group home without a single Spanish speaker, her client left her placement, at one point telling Laura “I don’t know if I can go through with this case.” But Laura never gave up reaching out, and even worked overnight to write a brief to ensure that her case could proceed. With patience, perseverance, and Laura’s unwavering support, her client bravely shared her story in court, and her powerful testimony resulted in a quick resolution of her case. Laura’s client is now in a stable placement, utilizing the benefits of extended foster care, and receiving the services she needs to transition safely into adulthood.

“There is no better feeling than helping my clients get to where they want to go,” shared Laura. “Every single day I am grateful to be a lawyer…and a lawyer in this field.”

Thank you, Laura, for going above and beyond for CLC’s clients! 

Dependency Cases 2020 – Year in Review

CLC’s talented in-house Writ Team produces a legal newsletter focused exclusively on dependency case law. Each month, the team provides an in-depth analysis on recent cases and legal developments within the field. Read our 2020 year in review here.

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