LCYC’s founders envisioned an organization that supports and empowers young people by providing them with holistic legal advocacy. LCYC was created through collaborative efforts with input from a variety of organizations serving children in King County including founding board members from TeamChild and Columbia Legal Services. 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 child welfare and other juvenile court 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.
Our program supporting immigrant youth and families includes direct advocacy and an educational component. 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 Enforcement or deported.
LCYC’s youth homelessness 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. Three years have passed since the initial MOUs, and during that time, hundreds of young been have received critical legal services from LCYC in collaboration with community partners.
LCYC will continue to grow and adapt, advancing the well-being and legal rights of young people through direct legal advocacy, strong community partnerships, 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.