CAI’s Executive Director, Professor Robert Fellmeth, Appears on ABC 10 News

Robert FellmethRobert Fellmeth, Price Professor of Public Interest Law; Executive Director, Center for Public Interest Law and Children's Advocacy Institute

SAN DIEGO (March 7, 2023) – University of San Diego (USD) School of Law Children’s Advocacy Institute (CAI) Executive Director Robert C. Fellmeth appeared on ABC 10 News San Diego, to discuss a lawsuit filed against the County of San Diego alleging that the County takes money from foster kids.

“It sounds outrageous to say they’re stealing the money, but they are stealing the money,” said Fellmeth, who is also one of the lawyers for the two children. “They (the county) get money for the care of the children from a separate account already, and it’s federal and state sourced money and they take care of the kids with that fund. This is different money.”

“This is someone (the kid’s parent) who’s paid into the system and the money is there,” Fellmeth said. “The fund is there, and these kids are due $860 a month each for 15 months or about $12,500 or $13,000 each. They are due that money. It’s their money. It’s survivor benefits. It’s for them – not for the county – and the county takes it.”

According to the article, the complaint alleges that while the kids were in foster care and the County was acting as their legal guardian, the County applied to the Social Security Administration to be the children’s representative payee. “Defendant did so without identifying other potential preferred representative payees, and without notifying or consulting (i) the Plaintiffs; (ii) their attorneys who are charged with representing Plaintiffs’ interests including Plaintiffs’ financial interests; (iii) the judges in this County solemnly and legally charged with assuring Plaintiffs’ overall welfare in loco parentis, including Plaintiffs’ financial welfare; or (iv) adults in Plaintiffs’ lives whom federal and state law prefers to be appointed over Defendant.”

To read the full article and watch the segment, click here.

To view the complaint, please visit CAI’s website.

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 premier 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 30th nationally among U.S. law faculties in scholarly impact and 28th 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.


Katie Gonzalez
(619) 260-4806


Contact Us

View Directory

83° 61°

Visit Campus

5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110