CAI’s Amy Harfeld, National Policy Advocate & Senior Staff Attorney’s Op-ed: Coronavirus's Collateral Damage, Appears in The Hill

Amy Harfeld, Children's Advocacy Institute National Policy Advocate & Senior Staff AttorneyAmy Harfeld, Children's Advocacy Institute National Policy Advocate & Senior Staff Attorney

SAN DIEGO (April 20, 2020) – University of San Diego (USD) School of Law Children’s Advocacy Institute’s (CAI) Amy Harfeld, National Policy Advocate and Senior Staff Attorney’s opinion editorial with Nelson Bunn—which discusses how abused and neglected children may be collateral damage of the coronavirus pandemic—was recently published in The Hill. [Excerpt below.]

The coronavirus pandemic will leave many dead in its wake. Tragically, some of its victims will be children, who may die not as a result of the virus itself, but from child abuse and neglect. During this public health crisis, risk factors for child maltreatment fatalities are sharply on the rise while protective factors for children and families are weakening.

Add to this equation the diminished operations of the courts and the severing of ties between children and most mandated reporters of child abuse, and the elements align to greatly elevate the risk of harm. Yet we know that many of these deaths are preventable if swift action is taken with a shared sense of responsibility to support vulnerable children and their families now. …

Read the full Op-Ed in The Hill here.

About the Children’s Advocacy Institute

The Children's Advocacy Institute (CAI), founded at the nonprofit University of San Diego School of Law in 1989, is one of the nation's premiere academic, research, and advocacy organizations working to improve the lives of children and youth, with special emphasis on improving the child protection and foster care systems and enhancing resources that are available to youth aging out of foster care.

In its academic component, CAI trains law students and attorneys to be effective child advocates throughout their legal careers. Its Child Advocacy Clinic gives USD Law students three distinct clinical opportunities to advocate on behalf of children and youth, and its Dependency Counsel Training Program provides comprehensive training to licensed attorneys engaged in or contemplating Dependency Court practice.

CAI's research and advocacy component, conducted through its offices in San Diego, Sacramento, and Washington, D.C., seeks to leverage change for children and youth through impact litigation, regulatory and legislative advocacy, and public education. Active primarily at the federal and state levels, CAI's efforts are multi-faceted—comprehensively and successfully embracing all tools of public interest advocacy to improve the lives of children and youth. To support CAI’s work, please visit

About the University of San Diego School of Law

Each year, USD educates approximately 800 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from throughout the United States and around the world.  The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest law and taxation.

USD School of Law is one of the 84 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for law school graduates.  The law school's faculty is a strong group of outstanding scholars and teachers with national and international reputations and currently ranks 36th nationally among U.S. law faculties in scholarly impact and 22nd nationally in past-year faculty downloads on the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.


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