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Georgia Appleseed Center for Law & Justice
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The Georgia 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? 

  • In 2018, we launched our Bridges to Behavioral Wellness Project is working to ensure that low income children with mental illness, autism, and other behavior related impairments can receive the supports they need through their schools and community.  This Project will build on school climate reform advocacy Georgia Appleseed has championed along with other advocates and the Department of Education, which has had substantial success in keeping children in school across the state and reducing out of school suspensions. 
  • Also, this year, Georgia Appleseed published the results of its Juvenile Code Assessment Project, which assessed the 2014 Juvenile Code.  This was a follow-up project to the significant work Georgia Appleseed and its pro bono attorney volunteers did to recommend and advocate for the passage of the Juvenile Code.  These intricate projects revealed the so-called ‘school to prison pipeline,’ a track that too often moves a student from the classroom into the juvenile justice system.  
  • Georgia Appleseed’s Healthy Housing Project is working with its Healthy Housing Coalition to advocate for law and policy reforms to ensure Georgia’s children in low income families can live in safe, healthy and affordable rental housing.

Another project with tremendous personal impact is the Young Professional Council’s (YPC) Student Tribunal Project.

Georgia Appleseed’s Foster Care Student Tribunal Project is led by its YPC.  The YPC trains and coordinates pro bono attorneys to represent foster care children in public schools who are facing potential expulsion or long-term suspensions due to disciplinary infractions.  YPC is also working toward larger systemic changes to ensure fewer foster care children are removed from school and that more foster care children facing disciplinary tribunals have knowledgeable advocates.   This is a video explaining the problem and Georgia Appleseed’s involvement.

  • 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.

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