The EdLaw Project is dedicated to ensuring that Massachusetts’ highest risk children receive a quality education and avoid the school-to-prison pipeline. A partnership between the Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts and the Committee for Public Counsel Services, Children & Family Law and Youth Advocacy Divisions, the project offers direct advocacy to students facing school exclusion, experiencing ineffective reintegration into the school system following detention or incarceration, receiving inadequate education while in state custody, or struggling with undetected and underserved special needs.  Advocacy in these areas, though crucial, is not government funded and thus the Edlaw Project has become the main initiative for the Youth Advocacy Foundation, a nonprofit organization designed to support projects related to the Youth Advocacy Division.

EdLaw also engages in a targeted training and mobilization strategies to support court-involved children. We provide training and support to the attorneys throughout the Commonwealth representing children and families in child welfare, delinquency, and youthful offender cases to identify and address the education needs of their clients, thereby leading to better legal and life outcomes. Our work focuses on prevention and intervention as a means to divert highly vulnerable children from the school-to-prison pipeline, while improving public safety and saving taxpayers millions of dollars.

Since its formal inception, EdLaw has directly advocated for over 1,500 children to access the education they need to succeed. Last year, the EdLaw staff of four full-time attorneys provided direct legal services to nearly 150 children ranging in age from 6 to 22, with the majority between the ages 12 to 16. Additionally, EdLaw attorneys provided 27 trainings on education rights to over 1,100 participants, including parents, students, lawyers, and youth-serving professionals. They also consulted on over 400 requests for information and technical assistance.