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IBA: IndyBar Revitalizes School Education Advocacy Program

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By Andrew Campbell

campbell-andrew-mug Campbell

This fall, the IndyBar Pro Bono Standing Committee will rejuvenate its School Education Advocacy Program through collaboration with FosterEd, a project of the National Center for Youth Law. For more than five years, IndyBar volunteers have helped students in Marion County address a variety of challenges in the education process, particularly issues surrounding proper implementation and execution of Individual Education Plans (IEPs). In September, FosterEd is launching FosterEd: Marion County, a new initiative aimed at improving the educational outcomes of the approximately 2,500 Marion County foster children. IndyBar is excited to partner volunteer advocates with this program to bolster the School Education Advocacy Program, and is eager to involve more IndyBar members, specifically law students and paralegals.

While most children have an educational support structure to serve their educational needs, the acute unmet need for assistance in meeting the educational challenges facing foster youth is striking. Recent studies show that approximately 75% of foster children are behind grade level, 67% will be suspended from school, and foster youth are twice as likely to drop out of school. These educational outcomes can have long-lasting societal impacts, as 22% of former foster youth experience homelessness and 17% receive some form of public assistance. More troubling, many former foster youth spend time incarcerated, and the unemployment rate for former foster youth tops 50%.

FosterEd: Marion County is a joint project of the Indiana Youth Institute (IYI), Marion County Department of Child Services, and Child Advocates aimed at combating these poor educational outcomes by ensuring that foster children have the resources, support, and opportunities they need for a healthy and productive future. The project is being launched in partnership with a broad array of local organizations, including the IndyBar, Indianapolis Public Schools, Marion County Juvenile Courts, About Special Kids, INSOURCE, Connected by 25’s Education Success Program!, Disability Legal Services of Indiana, and Youth Law T.E.A.M.

IndyBar volunteer advocates will contribute to the FosterEd initiative by supporting the educational success of children with special needs through lay advocacy intended to build the capacity of foster youth and their families. Volunteers will be paired with foster youth living in Marion County who have unmet special education needs and will work with the student, family, caregiver, and school system to secure appropriate educational opportunities. This advocacy may take many forms, but will center on ensuring proper implementation of IEPs and related special education issues. Because the advocacy almost always is not traditional “legal” assistance, it is specifically designed for all IndyBar members, including attorneys, law students, and paralegals.

Training for the IndyBar School Education Advocacy Program is being offered on Wednesday, September 14, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the IndyBar office, 135 North Pennsylvania Street, Ste 1500. This training will introduce the agencies, procedures, and processes a volunteer will encounter when advocating for a child with special educational needs. Education law and entitlement programs and rights will briefly be covered. For those who cannot attend this offering, DVD’s will be available for check-out through the IndyBar. Please register for the complimentary training at www.indybar.org. Program volunteers must be members of the Indianapolis Bar Association (membership applications are also available at www.indybar.org).•

Andrew Campbell is an associate with Baker & Daniels LLP and the chair of the Indianapolis Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono.

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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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