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Council For Childrens Rights Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Alliances & Advocacy, Arts & Culture, Education, Health

Mission: The council for children's rights leads our community to stand up for every child's right to be safe, healthy, and educated.

Programs: Children's defense advocacy - the council serves as the specialized juvenile public defender in mecklenburg county. Through a contract with the north carolina office of indigent defense services, the council's attorneys represent all children charged with crimes in juvenile delinquency court. In addition to performing the public defender role in juvenile court, the council represents every child that is facing confinement in a mental health institution. As express interest attorneys, the council provides the voice of the child and fights to ensure that his/her constitutional and statutory rights are protected. The council is the only specialized juvenile public defender in north carolina. During the most recent fiscal year, 1,428 children were served through this program and 743 children were represented at mental health commitment hearings, with nearly 90% receiving assistance with treatment planning, discharge planning and/or liaising between the children, the family and the treating professionals.

system advocacy - research and public policy uses internal and external data and research to inform our advocacy for system reform in juvenile justice, child welfare, mental health, and education. We examine the ways our clients' needs are not being met by current systems, and we identify gaps in capacity, defects in policies and procedures, and failures in performance. We promote the adoption of best practices and the allocation of sufficient resources to fill the gaps identified and to improve outcomes for all system-involved children. By partnering with other public and private child serving agencies, community researchers, funders, and stakeholders, we supplement our data to create a more comprehensive picture of what children in our community need. This research informs our public policy work, which currently focuses on four issues : (1) at the state level, raising the statutory age in north carolina for automatic prosecution as an adult from 16 to 18, and (2) at the local level, (a) racial and gender disproportionality and disparity in the application of discipline in charlotte-mecklenburg schools, (b) the adverse educational, health and economic opportunity effects of concentrations of poverty and racial identification of more than one-third of the schools in cms, and (c) the inadequacy of mental health services and therapeutic placements for children in mecklenburg county.

custody advocacy - the council serves as the court-appointed best interest attorney to represent the best interests of children who are caught in the middle of high conflict custody cases. Using a combination of staff attorneys, volunteer attorneys and volunteer child advocates, the council ensures that the child's voice is heard and that the judge has all the necessary information to make a decision that is in the best interest of the child. The council receives cases through court appointment from a district court judge; this program operates only through court order. The council's custody advocacy services are provided on a court-ordered fee based on the income of the parties. The council represents only the child - not the court or the parents. During the most recent fiscal year, 139 children were served through this program and 94% of recommendations made by the organization's attorneys were accepted by the judges.

individual advocacy- $455,398. The council's attorneys and advocates serve as best interest advocates for children who are in need of services. These advocates work in the complex areas of special education, mental health, abuse/neglect, public benefits, domestic violence and juvenile delinquency. The council receives cases through a court order from a district court judge or through a parental consent from a concerned parent/guardian that contracts the council's office. The council helps clients navigate the difficult social service systems so that they can receive appropriate services to meet their needs when advocacy or other intervention efforts are unsuccessful, the council files impact litigation on behalf of an individual child to ensure that his/her legal rights are protected. The council specializes in working with children that have complex needs in multiple social services systems, who are at risk of languishing and falling through the cracks during the most recent fiscal year, 237 children were served through this program and 90% of clients achieved their case goals. Public awareness- $94,434. The council is dedicated to raising awareness of children's issues in the community. The council uses events, print and online publications, social media, community collaborations, media relations and partnerships as well as the collection and dissemination of best practice programs for children.

Community Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Client Served

Rating: 1

They tortured our family and left us scrambling mentally for understanding. They damage spirits of mothers and children’s. Use Attorneys and threats to get their way! Use medical records against families. They need to be dismantled


General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

The child in question is 9 years old and lived with his grandmother since he was about 8 months old, and his grandmother has had custody since December 2011. In September 2016 there was a custody hearing in which the court ordered shared custody, with a review in December. In making their recommendation to the court CFCR disregarded a professional therapist's evaluation. CFCR did not, and was not required to, submit a professional therapist's evaluation upon which to base their decision.

Item 7 of the September court order reads: "Defendant shall ensure that the child attends any and all extracurricular activities as scheduled and on time."

At the time the child was enrolled in i9 flag football. The i9 season ran 8 weeks. Due to a rain date, the child's mother was responsible for bringing him to the game 3 times. On 2 of those occasions she was 15 minutes late; on the other occasion she kept him home because he had a very dubious "sore throat." Of the other 5 days, the mother failed to attend 3 games, was 1 hour 35 minutes late for another, and was only on time for the last game -- when the review date was close. Translation: The mother never got the child to his game on time and was absent for 53% of the child's playing time.

The court was also concerned with the child's school tardiness when in his mother's care. CFCR misrepresented the number of tardies while in the mother's care during the 3-months between hearings.

Prior to the September hearing, when CFCR asked the child where he preferred to live, he told them he wanted to stay with his grandmother. CFCR recommended permanent custody to the mother.

Then prior to the review hearing CFCR again asked the child where he preferred to live. He told them he wanted to go back and forth. (He told me he knew he would not be allowed to stay with his grandmother.) Again CFCR recommended permanent custody to the mother.

CFCR and the blew all this off and the court rubber-stamped CFCR's recommendation to give the mother full permanent custody.

I wonder what impression it has made on the child now that CFCR failed him twice and the court failed him twice.

CFCR's rationale for placing the child with his mother was that shared custody was causing anxiety for the child (not supported by any professional psychological report) and that the grandparents were spoiling the child (without any specifics). So they felt that the child was better off being removed from a household in which he had been thriving for more than 9 years and putting him in a household that, just 3 months earlier, the court did not find suitable for permanent custody.


Client Served

Rating: 1

After a costly divorce primary custody was awarded to me due in part to my ex-husband's unresolved anger and control issues. I retained custody until July of 2010 when I went to court.

He reported abuse. No one believed him. Few heard the voice of my child.

Only his counselor who meet with him weekly for approximately 10 months heard him. He listened.
I saw the fear... heard the nightmares.

While I HAD to go to court to protect my child, this was probably the biggest mistake I have ever made! In court, the testimony of our counselor, who had 18 years of experience was considered to be unqualified. He was adamant that these accounts about the abuse were consistently the same and continued to surface during his meetings with my son.
Custody was immediately given to my ex-husband.
The Council for Children’s Rights was assigned control of the case.I was ordered to undergo and pay for testing by a forensic psychiatrist. During this time, I was only allowed to see my son every other weekend with a supervisor.

After the evaluations were completed 8 months later, it was found that no intentional alienation had occurred.
The Council for Children’s Rights said that since my son had been with Dad for 8 months, they felt that it would be too traumatic to move him back so they wanted him to stay where he was …. with Dad. So in spite of no wrong doing on my part, My son was not returned to his home of seven years.The hitting accusations were never addressed.
Two months later… Daddy broke up with his girlfriend and moved to yet another county….putting Our child in his 3rd school in 3 years. Upon hearing about this move from my son, my lawyers immediately requested that our case be reevaluated. While I waited for this reevaluation, I had to have my leg amputated and went on disability from my job. The Council of Children’s Rights came to visit me again at my home. I assumed this visit would be related to the most recent violation of the order due to the move. Instead, the meeting was focused on my amputation. I answered multiple questions about my amputation and the medications I had and was taking.Members from the Council for Children’s Rights wanted details about my recovery such as it’s’ impact on my mobility and work attractiveness. I provided the names of my surgeon, my pain management doctor, and my prosthetic doctor.
It's been almost two years now.
I have been denied the opportunity to have joint custody of my son based mainly on my physical disability (Leg amputation).

Basically my judgment/sanity, was questioned because I believed my child. I was accused of alienation. My ex-husband had admitted to me during a conversation that he had hit our son. In fact, he seemed to find it funny that I couldn't prove anything...I only had the "words of a child"

The date of this reevaluation was in August of 2012. Via email, a representative for The Council for Children's Rights specifically stated that my disability and psychological issues were the primary reason used to determine custody.
I am not just someone who has lost custody of my child. I have lost my leg, my confidence, my trust, my independence, and my financial security.
I am now on disability and getting ready to file bankruptcy.
I don’t know what additional discriminatory evidence that may be found embedded in the files held by The Council for Children’s Rights. I have only been privy to a limited amount of information. I don’t know if I have been told all the facts. I don’t know if what I’ve been told is the truth. I do know that “the best interest of the child” gives this organization a wide birth to do pretty much what they want to do. I know that I was and am a good mother. I deserve the right to co parent my child. My physical and or mental issues should not affect how much time I get to spend with my child.

Review from Guidestar