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  CARLA’S STORY   Carla had run away to the local shelter after experiencing abuse at the hands of her father and finding her mother unable to protect her due to alcoholism. Carla found temporary respite at the shelter but had no long-term plan. A LACY attorney worked extensively with Carla to find a protective family friend who was willing to obtain guardianship. Unfortunately, Carla’s father threatened the family and they were no longer willing to take her in. The LACY attorney petitioned Child Protective Services to take Carla in and provide her with the support she needed. LACY advocated for court orders that gave the family friends the comfort and security needed to provide Carla a stable home. LACY continues to represent Carla as she works to graduate from high school next year.

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The First Five Commission of California is facing a critical juncture in its existence. First 5, with its focus on development and nurturing of our state's most vulnerable children, faces drastic budget cuts. LACY has been a long-standing supporter and partner of the First 5 Santa Clara County chapter. Join us in calling upon our state's elected officials to support this amazing program. Learn more about how you can take immediate action by clicking here:

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Legal Advocates for Children & Youth

Our Mission

Legal Advocates for Children & Youth (LACY) advances the legal rights of children and youth, empowering them to lead healthy and productive lives.  We listen to, advise, and advocate for our clients to ensure their voices are heard and their rights are protected.

Click here to view our featured client story for 2012 LACY Honors Luncheon.


Every day LACY staff encounter youth with small wishes and needs that go unmet, even though the items cost very little.  The LACY Wishbank was created to help these youth.  LACY staff submit applications that will be reviewed by a committee of staff and community members and "wishes" will be granted based on need, appropriateness and availability of funds.  Make a gift to the Wishbank today and make a difference in a child's life!


Our Services


Educational Empowerment Project   The Educational Empowerment Project assists students and their caregivers in school enrollment, school discipline, and special education matters.  LACY specializes in providing educational advocacy for youth in foster care or in the juvenile justice system.  LACY also conducts trainings for parents, social workers, probation officers, and attorneys about the special education process.

School Discipline Outreach Flyer for Parents (English)

School Discipline Outreach Flyer for Parents (Spanish)

School Discipline Outreach Flyer for Partners

Juvenile Dependency Project   LACY is the primary provider of legal representation to Santa Clara County’s foster youth in proceedings before the Juvenile Court.  Working collaboratively, LACY’s attorneys and social workers provide holistic legal services to 2,000 foster youth.  LACY also partners with the Court, Department of Family and Children’s Services, and community-based organizations on initiatives designed to promote system-wide understanding and improvement.


Safe Families Project   The Safe Families Project provides representation and education for children and young adults in family law and guardianship matters to help stabilize their lives.  In family law matters, LACY serves as court-appointed counsel for children in high-conflict divorce and custody matters.  LACY also represents pregnant and parenting teens in paternity, child custody and support, and visitation matters and offers legal services to protect teen victims involved in unhealthy relationships.  Through legal guardianships, LACY assists youth in establishing alternative caretaking arrangements and prevents youth from entering the foster care system.  Local courts recognize our expertise in this area by regularly appointing LACY to represent children in contested guardianship proceedings.    Additionally, LACY educates minors, parents, and service providers on the realities of emancipation and represents minors who qualify for legal emancipation.


Specialized Legal Assistance and Clinic Programs   LACY brings its services to targeted populations of vulnerable youth through several special projects.  LACY addresses the unique legal needs of transition-age youth through Fostering the Future, which provides legal assistance to foster and kinship youth as they move from the foster care system to independent adulthood.  Through the Homeless and Runaway Youth Project, LACY offers legal representation, advice, and education to homeless children and young adults in our community.  LACY’s medical-legal partnership with the county hospital, Valley Medical Center, assists children and families with legal issues that impact children’s health and well-being by providing weekly on-site services at the Pediatric Clinic.  LACY also operates a school-based legal clinic at Andrew Hill High School.





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