On July 1, 2009–exactly 10 years ago–we made our first appearances on the record as East Bay Children’s Law Offices. It was a Wednesday. On Tuesday, we had been the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office. The weekend before, we had assembled desks, unpacked boxes of files and made sure computers would turn on. I had a one year old and a three year old of my own.A lot has changed in those ten years. But the best parts haven’t. We continue to have a staff of extremely dedicated attorneys, social workers and administrative staff who come to work each day with the hope of improving the lives of a few kids–doing just one little thing, or maybe one giant thing, that will change their world for the better. We continue to believe that we must do our work holistically and in collaboration with others. Our clients’ needs are complex and extend far beyond the court process. The trauma they have experienced is real. They miss their families. Our advocacy must be driven by their reality.
I am so proud of everything we have accomplished and so excited about everything we have yet to do. Times have changed. Fewer kids are entering foster care, but those who do are the highest needs children and youth. The cost of living in the Bay Area has led to our children being placed in foster care further and further away from their homes and schools. We travel far and wide to meet with clients and then make our way back to Alameda County for court. And ten years later, my one and three year old daughters are both in middle school and baked EBCLO a birthday cake.
Our work has never been easy, but it’s always been worth the fight. Congratulations to all of us who have been part of EBCLO for the last 10 years. Please join us at our formal celebration on September 19 at the Salesforce Tower. Tickets will be on sale soon. Cheers!