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Education Advocacy—
Keeping Kids In School 

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Keeping Kids In School Through Education Advocacy

Learning should be a priority, but disruption to a child's education is common when they are involved in family disputes. At CLC, we believe in supporting children who need special education to overcome difficulties through dedicated education advocacy. We call this Securing Seamless Education Services ("SSES")—pronounced SUCCESS, a component program of our Reflective Advocacy Practice.

Group of Kids

The Issue

CLC's special needs clients too often find themselves failing at school, suspended from school, or disillusioned by school. Their educational struggles are often rooted in the problematic intersection of a disability, family turmoil, and lack of parent empowerment. They could be left unaddressed for years without the support of a dedicated advocate. For too long, many of CLC's clients have been on track to drop out, rather than graduate.

The Response

In 2011, CLC sought to contribute to changing the academic trajectory for its clients by developing the SSES project, designed to provide crucial education advocacy for thousands of New York City's children. We want to ensure that no child is left behind.

Our Approach

Today, the SSES initiative works to minimize the obstacles to achieve a high school diploma that too many of CLC's special needs clients must overcome by safeguarding their education rights. We work with our clients' families to obtain timely special education evaluations to fully understand the client's educational disability. We advocate on behalf of these children to ensure that they receive quality educational services, both in public and private school settings, designed to meet their needs.

Education Is a Right

Our advocates make certain that our clients' Individualized Education Programs are appropriately developed and effectively implemented. We collaborate with clients' schools to address behavioral and academic challenges. We empower our clients and their parents by providing them with support, knowledge, and skills necessary to be lifelong special education advocates. 

 Year Description
2010 CLC collects data to determine the most pressing education issues faced by client. CLC finds that at least 3 in 5 clients have an unattended educational issue that is leading to academic failure.
2011 SSES begins as an Equal Justice Works fellowship sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP. SSES is staffed by one attorney. SSES begins representing CLC clients. SSES begins a series of trainings designed for attorneys and social workers.
2012 After one full year of operation, SSES has worked with over 75 children and their families to ensure timely special education evaluations, effective implementation of IEPs, representation at Department of Education suspension hearings, and academic progress. SSES begins training parents, students and staff members at schools in the community.
2013 SSES's client population has increased to 150 children. SSES is awarded New York Bar Foundation Grant.
2014 SSES's client population has increased to 250 children. SSES is awarded a second New York Bar Foundation Grant. SSES is awarded a William C. Bullitt Foundation Grant.
2015 SSES has assisted over 400 children. SSES received and renewal grant from the William C Bullitt Foundation.

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