Barton Child Law and Policy Center Newsletter
Dear Child Advocates, this update contains:
New Barton Center Director Appointed
Applicants Sought for 2011-2012 Robin Nash Fellowship
Placements Sought for 2011 Emory Summer Child Advocacy Program
Georgia Child Welfare Legal Academy, December 9, 2010
Student Perspective: Barton's Runaway Youth Project
New Barton Center Director Appointed

As many of you know, the founding Director of the Barton Child Law and Policy Center, Karen Worthington, left this fall to move closer to family and pursue an independent consulting practice.  We are grateful for Karen's many wonderful contributions over the years, and she is dearly missed.  Replacing Karen has been a difficult task, because her vision, energy, and commitment have gotten the Center to where we are today. 


After an extensive search, we are thrilled to announce that we have found an extraordinary person to lead the Barton Center through the next phase of our work.  Emory Law School has appointed Melissa Dorris Carter to serve as the next Barton Center Director.  Melissa has been closely associated with the Barton Center for years.  Her legal career as a child advocate started first with an internship through the Center's Emory Summer Child Advocacy Program, and then with two years as the Barton Post-Graduate Fellow in Law.  Since then, Melissa has had a distinguished career, including work in leadership positions in the federally funded Court Improvement Projects of both Georgia and Illinois, and in private practice as an adoption attorney.  She served for three years as Deputy Director of Georgia's Office of the Child Advocate before being appointed by Governor Perdue as the Director of that office in February of this year.  In addition to her work experience, Melissa brings to the Barton Center her credentials as a published scholar on child welfare policy; the relationships she has built working as a pro bono attorney, as a federal child welfare reviewer, and as an active member and former chair of the State Bar's Juvenile Law Committee.  Melissa will joining the Barton Center effective December 1, 2010.   

Applicants Sought for 2011-2012 Robin Nash Fellowship 

The Barton Child Law and Policy Center is looking for the next Robin Nash Fellow.  The ideal candidate is a graduating 3L or recent law school graduate experienced in child law, who is interested developing strong public policy and legislative advocacy skills, leadership, and expertise in child law while working in a law school clinical setting.  Application information can be found on our website. 

Our Robin Nash Fellowship Program depends on the support of the committed members of the community dedicated to honoring Robin's memory and launching the careers of talented child advocates.  To donate, click here and in the "select fund" drop down box, please choose "Robin Nash Fellowship."  Thank you for your generous support.

Placements Sought for 2011 Emory Summer Child Advocacy Program

We have begun planning for the 2011 Emory Summer Child Advocacy Program, and we invite interest child welfare organizations to supervise a student intern. If you would like to participate this summer, please visit our website and complete the online Placement Survey Information Form by November 12, 2010. The information you enter there will be used to post on our website descriptions of the placements for which students may apply. Please provide as much information as possible. 


Students who are accepted into the program will be paid through a grant that is administered by the Barton Child Law & Policy Center at Emory Law School. Please read the information on the website for more information regarding program requirements and deadlines. The deadline for student applications will be in early December, with interviews between selected students and supervisors to occur in early to mid-January 2011.   

If you know of other organizations that may be interested in hosting an intern, please direct them to our website. Please contact me if you have further questions or need assistance.

Georgia Child Welfare Legal Academy, December 9, 2010 
Our next Georgia Child Welfare Legal Academy is scheduled for Thursday December 9, 2010 from 1:10 p.m. until 3:15 p.m. in room 575 of Gambrell Hall at Emory University School of Law.  Visiting Scholar in Dr.  Brent Wilson, Clinical Assistant Professor at Emory School of Medicine, will discuss A Trauma Informed Approach to Children in State Custody.  Children in state custody often display concerning behaviors, sometimes intolerable behaviors.  Some of these children do not trust relationships, have over-activated nervous systems and have not learned emotion-regulation skills.  Many have experienced trauma or toxic levels of stress during their short lives.  In this program, we will hear from an empowerment advocate about his experience in state custody and the advocate's counselor as well as Dr. Wilson, who works with this population of children.  Risks for medication will be discussed as as well approaches to helping these children manage their emotions better. Come learn how to be advocate for the children you serve and bring your questions.  The speakers anticipate an interactive session with the audience.  


Seating is limited. Advanced registration is strongly encouraged.  The registration fee for all participants is $10 and includes materials, parking in the hospital visitor parking deck, and light refreshments.  


Register online at   For registration information, contact Sherry McPeeks at 404.712.4643 or

CLE credit: 2.0 regular CLE credits will be offered for this program pending approval from the State Bar of Georgia for an additionalfee of $10.00 payable by cash or check at the door.Please make checks payable to Emory University.


Student Perspective: Barton's Runaway Youth Project


by Kate Thompson, Emory 2L 


The land could have been a zoo or a park where children could play, but, instead, it became a parking lot and the scene of the worst memory for many abandoned and abused children. I was standing in front of a runaway youth shelter, hearing about how many of the children at the facility don't come voluntarily - they are dumped in the parking lot by their own families. Others come on their own, but hardly choose the situations from which they run. Most probably knew long before they arrived in that parking lot that they weren't wanted, but it is unlikely they knew that their community could not help them either: Georgia law imposes barriers to assisting runaway youth. As a result, the shelter is only able to serve children above the age of 17. The rest have nowhere to go.

Without the skills students cultivate at the Barton Center, this tragic situation would likely continue. However, through analysis of the legal, political and social landscape, we have identified the first step to improving outcomes for runaway youth: removing the legal barriers to service. Through coordination and partnership with nonprofits, shelters, government entities, and law firms, we have capitalized on the strengths of the community. Through intensive research of the laws of other states, we have identified best practices and used them to inform our policy recommendations. And most importantly, through meetings with the youth we seek to serve, we ensure that we remain true to the interests of those children with nowhere to go. As students at the Barton Center, we learn how these tragic outcomes are the product of policy choices made and develop the skills to influence today's policy decisions for the better. After all, we have a choice about how we serve our children, just as we have a choice about how we use our land.

Quick Links...
Learn more about our work at the Barton Child Law and Policy Website.

Learn more about our educational opportunites for law students and other graduate students at the Barton Center at Emory Law Website.

Donate. Your contribution directly supports the work of the Barton Child Law and Policy Center to improve the lives of abused, neglected and court-involved children. In the "select fund" drop down box, please choose "Robin Nash Fellowship" to help us launch the careers of talented new child advocates or choose "other" and write "Barton Center operations" to support all other aspects of our work. Thank you for your generous support; our work would not be possible without community contributions.

Join the Barton Center email list. The Barton Child Law and Policy Center sends weekly legislative updates when the Georgia General Assembly is in session. During the rest of the year we send periodic emails with information on upcoming educational opportunities, legislative and policy developments, research findings, and changes to law, policy and practice. Sign up here to receive important updates on children's law in Georgia.