Phyllis Stricklan to lead expansion of CLC’s equity and disproportionality initiatives

Phyllis Stricklan – CHILDREN’S LAW CENTER OF CALIFORNIA – CLC is the largest children’s legal services organization in the nation, advocating for over 38,000 children and youth in the Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Placer County foster care systems. March 2, 2021.

March 22, 2021 – Children’s Law Center of California (CLC) is proud to announce that Phyllis Stricklan has been selected as Children’s Law Center of California’s (CLC) first Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Phyllis will spearhead the implementation of a new strategic plan that centers 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.

Ms. Stricklan joined CLC as a staff attorney in 1998 and became Firm Director in 2010.  Throughout her tenure at CLC, Ms. Stricklan has guided the development of a multitude of trainings focused on the important role of culture, family connections and identity, communicating with our clients about race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, and understanding how explicit and implicit bias impacts our work and the children and families we serve.  These training sessions have laid a strong foundation – but we recognize that training alone is not enough. 

“Every person who interacts with children in a court system plays an integral role in addressing systemic racism. Each of us must identify inequitable practices and policies that create poor outcomes for clients and their families and then we must act intentionally to eradicate bias and prejudice.  To do this requires much self-reflection, courage, and accountability,” said Ms. Stricklan.

As a certified Child Welfare Law Specialist, Ms. Stricklan’s many years of experience includes representing parents and youth in both San Bernardino and Los Angeles County Dependency Courts. In addition to her legal background, Phyllis has worked as a Registered Nurse and Assistant Professor of Mental Health Nursing. She serves on the Steering Committee of the Los Angeles County Eliminating Racial Disproportionality and Disparity workgroup. Among other accolades, Ms. Stricklan was honored as an “outstanding, unsung hero” during the National Foster Care Awareness Brightest Star Awards in 2012 and in 2019 received the Game Changer Award from the Children’s Institute International Project Fatherhood.  

“CLC’s dedication to strengthening anti-racist practices both internally and externally is exemplified by the creation of this new position,” said Rick Drooyan, Chair of CLC’s Board of Directors.  CLC Executive Director Leslie Heimov added that “Eradicating systemic racism in child welfare and incorporating Diversity, Equity and Inclusion into all aspects of our work requires long-term commitment, creative problem solving, and a willingness to ask tough questions. We applaud Ms. Stricklan’s work and are confident that CLC will solidify its role as a champion of these important issues now and in the future under her skilled leadership.”

About Children’s Law Center of California

The Children’s Law Center of California (CLC) provides skilled legal representation for abused, neglected, or abandoned children and youth under the jurisdiction of the dependency court. CLC is the largest children’s legal services organization in the nation, advocating for over 38,000 children and youth in foster care in Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Placer counties each year.

If this is a time-sensitive media inquiry, please contact Andrea Gleaves, Communications Manager.


  1. 1
    David Stricklan, MD on March 23, 2021

    Dear Mrs. Stricklan, Esquire you’ve done a wonderful job in the attorneys law degree… I am so happy for you! Keep up the good work….

  2. 2
    Cynthia A Eckles on March 24, 2021

    Congratulations on this awesome accomplishment. As a leader in our family and the world at large, you continue to be the “FIRST” (i.e., lawyer, registered nurse, professor and now Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion). To our God, we give all the glory!

  3. 3
    Antoinette Mitchell on March 31, 2021

    Ms. Phyllis, What an amazing accomplishment this is. Congratulations!! I am very happy for you and feel this is so well deserved. You are incredibly hard working and such a wonderful asset to CLC. You’ve always been a great role model for me and I’ve always had the utmost respect for you. Keep up the great work. I’m so proud to work with you.

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  5. 5
    Hon. Martha E. Bellinger, Judge Retired, Los Angeles Superior Court on April 7, 2021

    My former law student, Phyllis, I am so proud of you and it gives my life purpose to know what an extraordinary career you are having in the law concentrating on the most important aspect of life – accepting and helping the least fortunate. We share a common faith that this is what our Creator intended us to do. It warms my heart to know I may have had a small part in encouraging you to use your law degree and psychiatric nursing knowledge to help foster children. You have risen higher in helping humanity than any other student I was fortunate to teach in the course where I met you for the first time – Children and the Law. God bless you, Phyllis. The crowns you have laid up in heaven are many.

  6. 6
    Dr. Lisa Pion-Berlin on April 21, 2021

    Congratulations! I look forward to working with you! Dr. Lisa, President & CEO of Parents Anonymous Inc.

  7. 7
    Sharon Heaston on May 21, 2021

    Dear Phyliss, I am so proud of you!!! As an LMFT who has worked with foster care children for over 15 years and now Short Term Intensive Residential Programs, I am so glad these children, adolescents and their families have a voice like yours to advocate for them. I have a lot of research I would be happy to share with you that I did for Riverside County in treating traumatized children, their families and their caregivers. I would love to know it would be put to good use. You are truly an inspiration and I hope Juan and your family are well. Congratulations!!!

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