UDC School of Law students and faculty supervisors in the Juvenile and Special Education Law Clinic represent children and parents (or guardians) primarily in special education matters. Over the past sixteen years, the clinic faculty pioneered and developed a nationally-acclaimed approach to addressing the problems of delinquency by supplementing traditional delinquency representation with, where appropriate, advocacy to address the special education needs of the children who are the subject of those delinquency proceedings.
Essentially, by arranging for children to receive needed special education services, clinic professors and law students ensure that the delinquency system responds appropriately to the children's needs for care and rehabilitation. In a large number of cases, the clinic is able to protect children from punitive responses or to extricate children from the delinquency system altogether.
Since January 1995, the clinic has applied a similar strategy in neglect cases, exploring in appropriate neglect cases what special educational services the children might need. The results have been similar to those achieved in the delinquency context: the clinic professors and students are obtaining better services and better results for their clients by combining educational advocacy with neglect advocacy.
The Juvenile Law Clinic conducted between 1991 and 1996 bi-annual training sessions for District of Columbia attorneys and advocates regarding special education law and practice. In addition, the clinic faculty provided a short training regarding the applicability of special education law and remedies to delinquency and neglect cases for the local judges; and the clinic faculty regularly provide similar short training sessions for neglect social workers, as well as private and public sector youth care workers.
Second- and third-year students who are court-certified are responsible for the overall management of at least three special education cases. Students draft documents, develop and implement case plans, negotiate, and handle administrative hearings and courtroom representation. The Clinic produced a special education manual
that provides a narrative explanation of special education law, as well as chapters describing and exploring the parallel advocacy approach of seeking special education remedies for delinquency clients. This manual complements the materials that the Clinic faculty have developed and handed out over the years.
(in PDF format)
- Joseph B. Tulman, Applying Disability Rights to Equalize Treatment for People with Disabilities in the Delinquency and Criminal Systems, 8 A.B.A. Child. Rts. Litig. Committee 1 (Spring 2006).
- Joseph B. Tulman, Disability and Delinquency: How Failures to Identify, Accommodate, and Serve Youth with Education-Related Disabilities Leads to Their Disproportionate Representation in the Delinquency System, 3 Whittier J. Child & Fam. Advoc. 3 (2003).
- Special Education Advocacy Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) For Children in the Juvenile Delinquency System (Joseph B. Tulman & Joyce A. McGee eds., 1998).
Contacting the Juvenile and Special Education Law Clinic and
the Took Crowell Institute for At-Risk Youth
If you are seeking legal assistance, please contact
Jordana Arias, Clinic Paralegal, at (202) 274-5073.
Juvenile Law Clinic
UDC David A. Clarke School of Law
Building 52, Room 301
4200 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: (202) 274-7314
Fax: (202) 274-5569
Clinic Supervisors: Professors Joseph Tulman, Tomar Brown, and Julie Zibulsky