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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. I will continue to pray that God keeps giving you the strength and courage to keep fighting for what is right and just so you are aware, you are an inspiration to those that are feeling weak and helpless as they are trying to figure out why evil keeps winning. God Bless.....

  2. Some are above the law in Indiana. Some lined up with Lodges have controlled power in the state since the 1920s when the Klan ruled Indiana. Consider the comments at this post and note the international h.q. in Indianapolis. http://www.theindianalawyer.com/human-trafficking-rising-in-indiana/PARAMS/article/42468. Brave journalists need to take this child torturing, above the law and antimarriage cult on just like The Globe courageously took on Cardinal Law. Are there any brave Hoosier journalists?

  3. I am nearing 66 years old..... I have no interest in contacting anyone. All I need to have is a nationality....a REAL Birthday...... the place U was born...... my soul will never be at peace. I have lived my life without identity.... if anyone can help me please contact me.

  4. This is the dissent discussed in the comment below. See comments on that story for an amazing discussion of likely judicial corruption of some kind, the rejection of the rule of law at the very least. http://www.theindianalawyer.com/justices-deny-transfer-to-child-custody-case/PARAMS/article/42774#comment

  5. That means much to me, thank you. My own communion, to which I came in my 30's from a protestant evangelical background, refuses to so affirm me, the Bishop's courtiers all saying, when it matters, that they defer to the state, and trust that the state would not be wrong as to me. (LIttle did I know that is the most common modernist catholic position on the state -- at least when the state acts consistent with the philosophy of the democrat party). I asked my RCC pastor to stand with me before the Examiners after they demanded that I disavow God's law on the record .... he refused, saying the Bishop would not allow it. I filed all of my file in the open in federal court so the Bishop's men could see what had been done ... they refused to look. (But the 7th Cir and federal judge Theresa Springmann gave me the honor of admission after so reading, even though ISC had denied me, rendering me a very rare bird). Such affirmation from a fellow believer as you have done here has been rare for me, and that dearth of solidarity, and the economic pain visited upon my wife and five children, have been the hardest part of the struggle. They did indeed banish me, for life, and so, in substance did the the Diocese, which treated me like a pariah, but thanks to this ezine ... and this is simply amazing to me .... because of this ezine I am not silenced. This ezine allowing us to speak to the corruption that the former chief "justice" left behind, yet embedded in his systems when he retired ... the openness to discuss that corruption (like that revealed in the recent whistleblowing dissent by courageous Justice David and fresh breath of air Chief Justice Rush,) is a great example of the First Amendment at work. I will not be silenced as long as this tree falling in the wood can be heard. The Hoosier Judiciary has deep seated problems, generational corruption, ideological corruption. Many cases demonstrate this. It must be spotlighted. The corrupted system has no hold on me now, none. I have survived their best shots. It is now my time to not be silent. To the Glory of God, and for the good of man's law. (It almost always works that way as to the true law, as I explained the bar examiners -- who refused to follow even their own statutory law and violated core organic law when banishing me for life -- actually revealing themselves to be lawless.)

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