Thanks to UC Hastings Ralph Abascal Fellow CJ Connolly and UC Berkeley law students Betsy Marshall ’22 and Ben Sachrison ’24, EBCLO hosted its first Know Your Rights Presentation for foster youth in Short Term Residential Therapeutic Programs (previously known as group homes) last month! Youth in STRTPs are typically teenagers with significant mental health needs that have lived in multiple foster homes before finding themselves in need of a higher level of care. The youth often experience gaps in their education as well. While our team strives to advocate for each of our clients every day, we also know that we don’t always know about everything happening in their lives, and sometimes youth simply need to advocate for themselves. So, we decided to do help them do something about it.

We partnered with Berkeley Law’s Foster Education student organization to develop a Know Your Rights presentation focused on a foster youth’s rights in school.  We covered general education, special education, school discipline, cyber safety, interacting with police on campus, and life after high school. We have delivered the presentation four times across the Bay Area at different STRTPs. Each time the youth were engaged, asked thought provoking questions, and were grateful for the information provided.

This was a big step in helping further support our clients both in and out of the courtroom. It enabled us to collaborate with community partners and has sparked ideas for future Know Your Rights topics and partnerships. With each presentation, EBCLO is ensuring our clients are both seen and heard by giving them the knowledge, tools, and power to take control of their future.