The Community Justice Staff Attorney will help the Shriver Center accomplish its mission by working to create more equitable systems locally, nationally, and in Illinois. The Community Justice team is made up of advocates working to reimagine administrative and legal systems that guarantee equitable outcomes for black and brown people and their communities. Our work aims to ensure that both parents and children have access to necessary resources, that our legal systems shift from punitive practices to restorative practices, and that criminal convictions don’t continue to be permanent barriers to healthy lives. The person hired for this position will focus on the intersections between the criminal legal system and the child welfare system (DCFS in Illinois), family preservation, the foster-care-to-prison pipeline, and child welfare reform. There may also be opportunities to be involved in other issues in the Shriver Center’s comprehensive anti-poverty agenda, such as juvenile justice. The Staff Attorney engages in advocacy of all kinds (legislative, administrative, litigation, public education, coalition-building, etc.).
Advocate for laws and policies that promote safe, strong, and intact families and that could decrease family separation
Work collaboratively with community groups and individuals focused on family preservation
If necessary, represent parents in child protective proceedings and assist parents in accessing appropriate resources and services to restore full parental rights
Advocate for laws and policies that divert people from both the child welfare and criminal legal systems, advance racial justice, and increase access to necessary services for people experiencing poverty
Participate in the staffing and coordination of the Shriver Center efforts to coordinate community justice work across multiple states through the Legal Impact Network and Racial Justice Institute
Contribute to raising funds for advocacy activities, including assisting with grant proposals, attending site visits, and identifying new funding sources
Continue to learn about issues and potential or systemic solutions through contact with clients, direct service providers, and community organizations, and to develop strategies for accomplishing positive changes for the communities that we serve
Contribute to the strategic thinking of all of the Shriver Center’s anti-poverty efforts
Travel in Illinois and national conferences and meetings as needed
Salary/Benefits: This full-time position offers a competitive public interest salary and a comprehensive benefits package.
Opening/Closing Date: Open immediately; closed March 22, 2019.
Applications: In PDF form, please send a cover letter detailing your interest in working on systemic change within the Illinois child welfare system and, if applicable, any experience that you have working with parents involved in the child welfare system, a résumé, and three references to Patrice James at firstname.lastname@example.org. Reference “Community Justice Staff Attorney” in the subject line.
J.D., licensed to practice law, with three or more years of experience preferred
Experience in advocating for parents involved in the child welfare system strongly preferred
Strong research, analysis, and writing skills
Strong public speaking and training skills
A demonstrated commitment to public interest law or advocacy on behalf of people and communities of color strongly preferred
Ability to successfully complete work both independently and as part of a team
Ability to develop and lead new projects
Ability to participate in evening and weekend community and client meetings
Ability to travel for work-related meeting and conferences
About Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We put race front and center in our work. We recognize that inclusion of diverse voices, perspectives, and experiences is essential to understanding and addressing complex issues in our advocacy and within our organization. To that end, we focus on issues that deeply affect the lives and social mobility of people living in poverty: economic justice, housing justice, health care justice, and community justice. We lead, equip, and mobilize multi-state networks to advance an anti-poverty and racial justice agenda. Through training and leadership development programs designed to foster innovation and collaboration, we strengthen core competencies of advocates across the country.