The Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice is a public interest law center working to increase justice in Georgia through law and policy reform. We seek to better the laws of Georgia, so they may better serve the people of Georgia, particularly those who are most vulnerable. Our work makes a difference in whole systems and in individual lives. Georgia Appleseed champions justice by investigating root causes of issues (using many pro bono volunteers), reporting on what we have learned, and then engaging community stakeholders to bring about lasting change that increases fairness and provides greater opportunity.
What does this look like in practice?
• A great example is our seven-year effort on behalf of a new juvenile code for Georgia. This intricate project revealed the so-called ‘school to prison pipeline,’ a track that too often moves a student from the classroom into the juvenile justice system.
• This past year we published the report “Race, Law Enforcement & The Law,” which promoted practical reform to increase trust and confidence in a fair justice system for all, and we furthered this project by hosting community conversations to discuss the issues.
• One of our long running projects, Heirs Property, has continued to grow and will soon be a fully independent center to serve low- and moderate-income owners of heir property maintain ownership of their homes despite barriers to title.
Another project with tremendous personal impact is the Young Professional Council’s (YPC) Student Tribunal Project.
Under Georgia law, K-12 public school students faced with potential out-of-school suspension of more than ten days or expulsion, can dispute the disciplinary action at an administrative hearing called a “tribunal.” While they have a right to a lawyer, they are not appointed public attorney to represent them. Foster children are especially vulnerable and end up often attending a tribunal alone. This is a video explaining the problem and Georgia Appleseed’s involvement: https://vimeo.com/182156968
• YPC created a Training Manual for attorneys to provide them with an understanding of the laws and procedures involved with these tribunals and better represent the students who current live in foster care.
• They created a CLE training and have trained over 120 attorneys to represent youth in foster care at these tribunals.
• They actively also train Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) representatives to be aware of the representation available
We welcome your core support of Georgia Appleseed with your contribution or as a volunteer. Learn more and download our free publications at www.GaAppleseed.org.