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Alliance for Childrens Rights

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Legal Services

Mission: The Alliance for Children's Rights provides free legal services and advocacy to protect the rights of impoverished and abused children and youth so that they have safe, stable homes, health care and the education they need to thrive. Since our founding in 1992, we've served nearly 100,000 children and youth in L.A. County. For many of our clients, The Alliance is the only connection to a safer, brighter future.

Geographic areas served: Los Angeles County, California

Programs: Nextstep for transition-age foster youth: every year thousands of youth "age out" of the foster care system in los angeles without a permanent family, adequate support or preparation. The alliance is a safety net for youth ages 14-25, empowering them with skill building, access to resources, advocacy and mentoring to overcome barriers to employment, education, housing and healthcare. For youth with severe disabilities, the alliance secures ssi benefits to pay for housing and medical care to help avoid homelessness.

education: more than half of all foster children have learning disabilities, behavioral issues or developmental delays. This combined with frequent moves and school changes results in a 60% school drop-out rate. The alliance levels the playing field for school-aged foster children by advocating for them to receive assessments, education services and therapies tailored to meet their special needs. Evidence shows that reaching children at a young age will improve healthy development and reduce or avoid the need for special education and mental health services later. In response, the alliance created the saltz family early intervention center to increase access to services for hundreds of children ages 0-5 every year.

adoption & guardianship: stable, nurturing homes are a primary need for the children the alliance serves. Adoption gives foster children a chance to be part of a permanent family. The alliance overcomes barriers and delays for children waiting for their adoption to finalize. Working with adoptive families to identify the health, educational and financial needs of the child, the alliance completes one third of all adoptions of children in los angeles county foster care. The adoption day program led to the creation of national adoption day, celebrated in every state across the country. The alliance also helps hundreds of caregivers file for legal guardianship through the probate court for children who might otherwise fall into the foster care system.

public benefits and services: children who have been abused or neglected by their parents have a tremendous need for a stable home. Caregivers, particularly relatives, who step up to provide for these children are often low-income and can become overwhelmed, putting that essential stability at risk. The alliance obtains appropriate funding and services for these children so that caregivers can provide basic necessities and access critical support like counseling, child care, tutoring, specialized medical equipment and respite care. Securing these resources can often mean the difference between permanent, safe homes and struggling, unstable ones. Healthcare: a child's illness can be emotionally and financially devastating for any family, and for families already living in poverty the challenges are even greater. The alliance helps children facing medi-cal eligibility problems, treatment denials and inadequate access to physicians, dentists and mental health services. The alliance also conducts trainings and support for medical and social service providers. System-wide reform and advocacy: the alliance provides children with a voice for system-wide change. Through education, advocacy, litigation, and support of sound policy, the alliance promotes protocols and practices that are in the best interest of children and challenges those that are not. Through its work with a high volume of individual clients, the alliance is able to recognize trends and identify issues on a larger scale, and respond with systemic solutions that improve the lives of countless children and families. Opportunity youth collaborative: the aspen institute for community solutions has selected the alliance to lead a cross-sector, multi-agency effort that will improve education and employment outcomes for transition-age youth (tay) in los angeles. The l. A. Opportunity youth collaborative (oyc) brings together public agencies, nonprofit organizations, education systems and employers to leverage resources and create linkages among the many systems and community organizations that serve current and former foster youth. Through collective impact the oyc will improve policies and resolve system barriers as it supports youth on pathways to: (1) high school graduation and ged attainment, (2) postsecondary enrollment and credential completion, and (3) workforce readiness and gainful employment.

Community Stories

9 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Emily B.

Donor

Rating: 5

The first Alliance gala I attended, was the most remarkable evening. The videos touched me, the stories moved me, the mission inspired me. I'm in awe of the work that the Alliance does, the lives it changes and the help they provide. They are a team of hard working, mountain moving angels!

Previous Stories
1

Donor

Rating: 5

Since when is it alright to leave our children in group homes and unstable foster care? Why do we leave our children to fend for themselves? Who has their back? The Alliance for Children's Rights stands up for each kid. The Alliance gets kids into adoptive homes. They also help the kids who never get out of foster care by shepherding them into apartments, careers and families of their own.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I feel that the Alliance for Children's Rights exemplifies compassion and a commitment towards social justice goals, especially given the fact that during the eight months that I have volunteered for this organization, I have personally witnessed the dedication that staff members have in enhancing the quality of life for foster youth as well as improving the quality of life for the caregivers of foster children. I am also a prospective law student who is interested in pursuing public interest so I have found that working for the Alliance has been one of the most valuable experiences I have had so far. Not only did I get exposure to the many facets of law, but my experience with legal work occurred in a setting where I was surrounded by valuable role models who, despite their busy schedule, never hesitated to inspire and encourage their interns. The legal work that I did was also very rewarding and educational. I was given many opportunities to work directly with clients as I conducted qualitative interviews necessary for drafting their case summaries. The Alliance has a very holistic program that includes benefits, guardianship, special education, transitioning youth etc and in this way you have the opportunity to tailor your legal experience to your interest. In addition, every moment is a learning opportunity because you are given so many opportunities to not only interact with clients but attorneys also who will educate you in the many facets of law. For the legal projects, there is a perfect balance of independence and guidance.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer as a pro bono attorney with the Alliance for Children's Rights, and the work has been amazing. The people at the Alliance are incredibly supportive, answering questions quickly and providing advice and suggestions when needed. It's been wonderful having direct client contact with those in need of pro bono legal services, who have all been very appreciative of the help we can provide.

I have mainly volunteered to assist with guardianships through the Alliance. The cases can be heartbreaking, with absentee parents and children who are living with other family members who need to obtain the correct paperwork to be able to obtain benefits and sign legal documents on behalf of the children. It's been amazing to be able to help these families in filing the paperwork and attending the legal hearings needed to obtain the guardianship orders.

Helping these families has been the highlight of my pro bono work as an attorney.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first learned of ACR at a job fair held at my law school. I was immediately interested in their organization because of the range of legal issues it handled pertaining to children. Special Ed, Guardianship, Adoption, Benefits, Transitional Services...these were all areas I could assist with if I volunteered at ACR.

Soon after I began volunteering my time at ACR, I was given the opportunity to handle a Benefits case from intake through the hearing date. I was shocked that the attorneys allowed a second-year law student to take on so much, but was grateful for the confidence it instilled in me as a lawyer-in-training. My research and writing skills improved, and I had the opportunity to actually advocate for my client before an adminstrative judge. I felt an immense sense of satisfaction knowing that because of my hard work, and my supervisor's guidance, we had changed our client's life for the better.

While in law school I also volunteered in the Guardianship Program. I enjoyed the contact I was allowed with my clients, who were always so diverse from each other. Now that I am a licensed attorney I still volunteer my time on these types of cases, however now I am the one accompanying them to court in addition to filling out the paperwork.

Deciding to volunteer at the ACR as a law student shaped my interest in the legal world, and continues to help me become a better attorney. I recommend this organization for anyone who has an interest in helping children.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Alliance for Children's Rights is one of the best non-profits I've ever volunteered with. As an organization, it is run better and more professionally than many for-profits I've encountered in my career. It is also staffed by extremely capable, caring and patient people who do an excellent job of making both their clients and volunteers feel at ease. Anyone who wants to do community service/volunteer work with children and families in the LA area should do so through the Alliance as it is guaranteed to be a very meaningful, rewarding and enjoyable experience.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

During Summer 2010 I traveled to Los Angeles (I am from Europe, Switzerland), where I interned for the Alliance for Children's Rights (ACR), an organization devoted to protect the rights and future of abused and impoverished children throughout Los Angeles County.

Although I was not familiar with the system here in the US, the ACR let me help the Guardianship's department. I went to court with my supervisor, I interviews families, I prepared documents for the attorney, etc. The staff was always really helpful and kind. I had so many questions, but i never felt like my supervisor or other people were tired of my questions, my comments, etc. They were always happy to help me understand how the Alliance and the system work. This organization made me feel welcomed and at ease. My time there was enjoyable and I learned a lot from the members of the ACR. I am so thankful for the time I spent at the ACR.

If you are interested to be part of this AMAZING organization and team, I encourage you to volunteer. It is a great opportunity to help children and families, to make a difference in someone's life! The Alliance for Children's Rights would truly appreciate your time and work. Believe me, it is a rewarding experience.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As the pro bono coordinator for the Los Angeles office of a National Law Firm, I have worked closely with Executives, Attorney Volunteers and Staff at the Alliance for over five (5) years. During this time, attorneys in our office have been trained in several areas and handled numerous cases, representing those in need. The training, assistance and advice provided by the Alliance, both to the clients and to the volunteer pro bono attorneys, shows the dedication, knowledge and skill of all those working for this organization.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The first thing you notice when you walk into the Alliance for Children's Rights is how welcoming and appreciative the staff is. The next thing you notice is how dedicated the Alliance is to helping their clients, under-priviledged youth in Los Angeles County.

If you are looking for a place where you can help others, the Alliance is the place to be. From my experience and many others, you are helping clients from day one! You actually work with clients through phone calls and interviews and sometimes going to court (different departments of the Alliance do different things). This isn't a place where they just hand you busy work with no idea how it is helping. This is a place where you feel like you are making a difference in someone's life.

I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful the people are who work at the Alliance. They have different waves of new volunteers every few months and the staff have to train new volunteers often. You would think someone would get tired of training new people so often, but the Alliance staff never show it. They truly value the work volunteers provide for them.

In addition to being friendly, the Alliance is organized and efficient. They have an area for volunteers to use computers and phones. They have questionnaires and information packets explaining every detail. It may seem overwhelming at first but it does not take long to get into the swing of things. In addition, there is always someone at the Alliance you can turn to for help.

If you are looking for a place to volunteer where you feel like you are actually helping someone, the Alliance for Children's Rights is the place to go.