USD's Child Advocacy Clinic is operated by the Children's Advocacy Institute (CAI), a statewide center dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of California's children. Child Advocacy Clinic interns have three options:(1) they may, under the supervision of a public defender, represent minors in child abuse and neglect proceedings; (2) they may, under the supervision of a public defender, represent minors charged with offenses in delinquency proceedings; and/or (3) they may work with one of CAI's professional staff members on a variety of policy and advocacy projects.
Past policy projects have included:
- drafting and advocating legislation setting minimum standards for attorneys representing minors in dependency court;
- suing the state to compel the adoption of playground safety regulations;
- serving as Educational Representatives for children and youth involved in the juvenile court system;
- providing legal assistance to homeless youth through CAI's Homeless Youth Outreach Project; and
- researching and writing reports on topics such as child abuse and neglect public disclosure policies; the school nurse crisis; and the need to increase rates for California's foster family homes