LCYC’s founders envisioned an organization that supports and empowers children in need by providing them with holistic legal advocacy. We work with youth and partners to timely identify and address each youth’s unique legal and non-legal needs. LCYC was created through collaborative efforts with input from a variety of organizations serving children in King County including founding board members from TeamChild (Hillary Behrman) and Columbia Legal Services (Casey Trupin). LCYC is distinct from other legal organizations serving children for various reasons, such as: the wide range of legal issues we address; our holistic approach to legal advocacy; our onsite service model with community partners and schools; our responsiveness to youth in crisis; our commitment to data collection and reporting; and our interest and engagement in taking lessons learned from direct service work to inform systemic change.
LCYC represents youth in juvenile offender and child welfare matters, going beyond what is provided through traditional public defense by meeting all of the youth’s civil legal needs. For example, we assist youth with education, housing, immigration, and public benefits. Complementing our advocacy in juvenile court matters, we more recently stepped up to fill a need for legal services for immigrant youth and families and youth who are or are at risk of experiencing homelessness as described below.
Our immigration program includes both an educational component and direct advocacy. In late 2016, LCYC developed a Safety Plan for parents at risk of deportation. The Safety Plan is a set of documents for parents to complete in an effort to reduce childhood trauma, the duration of family separation, and unnecessary entry into foster care. LCYC partnered with ethnic, community-based organizations such as El Centro de la Raza to educate parents on the Safety Plan in a setting where they felt safe and supported. As to direct advocacy, we serve immigrant youth in partnership with Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and Kids In Need of Defense. We also provide legal services to the children of immigrants who find themselves alone after a parent is picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcementor deported.
LCYC’s homeless youth program began in collaboration with Street Youth Legal Advocates of Washington (SYLAW) and YouthCare. Years prior, SYLAW provided legal services to youth, ages 12-24 years, who were or were at risk of experiencing homelessness in King County. At that time, SYLAW employed one person for administration, fundraising, and advocacy – SYLAW on its own was unsustainable. SYLAW approached LCYC, offering to transfer most of its remaining funds to LCYC, with LCYC’s commitment to reignite community-based legal advocacy for homeless youth, ages 12 -24 years. YouthCare made a monetary contribution and provided space at the Orion Center for intakes. Over two years have passed since the initial MOUs, and during that time, over 350 youth have been connected to LCYC for services.
LCYC will continue to grow and adapt, seeking to improve the lives of children and youth through direct legal advocacy and systemic change.
LCYC was incorporated on May 25, 2010, with pro bono legal assistance from K&L Gates LLP. Casey Trupin (JD), Hillary Behrman (JD), Chorisia Folkman (JD/MSW) and Marcy Pareira (LICSW) constituted the initial Board of Directors. LCYC is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is acknowledged as a Charitable Organization by the Washington State Charity Solicitations Program.