The Individual Advocacy Team provides legal representation and child advocacy services for individual children in crisis. In the courts, the schools, the health care systems, and wherever needed, IAT staff stand with children as advocates on their behalf to ensure their best interests and needs are met and their rights are protected.
Areas of Focus
The IA Team focuses primarily in the areas of mental health, special education, and child welfare. Many children come to us with more than one issue and our team approach and broad expertise help us effectively and efficiently coordinate the needs of each child client to determine and to assist in getting the appropriate services necessary to produce successful outcomes.
Who We Help
Direct Representation and Advocacy via Community Referral
Many of our IAT clients come to us through community referrals: court counselors, social workers, guardians, parents, and others who work with children in the community. We provide legal representation when needed and advocate for the child wherever there is a need. Many of these cases involve educational needs and service and we partner closely with teachers and social service agencies to inform, support and ensure the best for our clients. Our work with an individual child can last anywhere from three months to more than a year, depending on circumstances and need.
Many of our child clients come to us through court appointment. A judge may determine that this particular child needs a special advocate to represent his/her best interest and an IAT attorney is appointed to that position. Often we are brought in to provide higher levels of expertise in complex, difficult cases and to coordinate efforts and approaches in situations where there are multiple needs. Less frequently, Council may be appointed Guardian Ad Litem for children placed in DSS custody through a delinquency disposition or as an Education Surrogate Parent for children in DSS custody who have complicated and complex education needs and issues.
The IAT team offers a series of training workshops that are free and open to the public on a variety of topics through our First Wednesday series. Offered the first Wednesday of the months of Oct – Dec and Feb –Apr, the sessions are held at the Children and Family Services Center in Charlotte. Information on individual workshops is available at our Events Calendar.
A limited number of internships are accepted each year for the Individual Advocacy Team. Information on opportunities and application process is available at the Internship page.