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 Program volunteers must be members of the Indianapolis Bar Association (membership applications are also available at•

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. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues