Child Welfare Congregate Care Advocacy Fellowship - Fall 2022


The Youth Law Center (YLC) is seeking applications from third-year law students and judicial clerks who are interested in beginning a fellowship position in the fall of 2022 focused specifically on protecting the rights of systems-involved children and youth in California by challenging the use of institutional care. Use of institutional care disproportionately impacts children of color, results in criminalization of youth, and creates disparate health, education, mental, physical and adult outcomes. Finally, it deprives children of the most important and effective intervention—parenting in a family. 

The work will focus in particular on eliminating the use of congregate care in the California child welfare and juvenile justice systems, challenging conditions and utilization of shelter care for children of all ages, along with developing a developmentally appropriate continuum of supports to allow all children to grow and thrive in families. 

YLC will support candidates to apply for law-school-specific or other sponsored fellowships, and will consider fundraising to create a fellowship for a strong candidate. 

Candidates for this role should be self-starters with an interest in system-impact advocacy to protect the rights of children, who are willing to utilize a variety of different tools and approaches to end the use of institutional care, including but not limited to litigation, policy reform, legislative advocacy, public education and outreach, coalition work and media advocacy. Experience and/or interest in child development is a bonus. Our staff will work closely with the selected candidate to develop a strongly-aligned fellowship proposal.


YLC is a nonprofit legal advocacy organization that works to protect children in the nation’s foster care and justice systems from abuse and neglect, and to ensure that they receive the necessary support and services to become healthy and productive adults. Since 1978, our lawyers have worked across the United States to reduce the use of out-of-home care and incarceration; ensure safe, humane, and developmentally-appropriate conditions in out-of-home placements; keep children out of adult jails; and secure equitable treatment for children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Our efforts have focused on strengthening families, and we advocate for education, medical and mental health, legal support, and transition services needed to assure children’s success in care and in the community. We fight for increased accountability of the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, and champion professional and public education.


Factors that will be utilized in evaluating candidates include:

  • Demonstrated commitment to public interest law
  • Knowledge of, experience in or strong interest in child welfare and/or juvenile justice issues
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Strong analytic ability and legal research skills
  • Ability to work independently yet also work well with others
  • Anticipated or current bar membership*
  • Ability to travel (depending upon public health orders)

People of color and individuals who have lived experience in the child welfare and/or juvenile justice system are strongly encouraged to apply.

* A note about bar licensure: YLC has a strong preference for candidates with anticipated or current California bar membership who will reside in or near the Bay Area (YLC’s office is located in San Francisco). However, we will consider particularly strong applications from candidates who have anticipated or current bar membership in another state and can work remotely.


  • Employment Status: Full-time, exempt; one-year contingent position
  • Paid Time Off: This position is eligible for YLC’s flexible, unlimited paid vacation policy, as well as generous accrued paid sick time and 12+ paid holidays annually.
  • Benefits: This position is eligible for our complete health benefits package (medical HMO & PPO options, dental, vision, short-term disability, long-term disability, and basic life) as well as pre-tax commuter benefits if applicable. Currently, all health benefits coverage is 100% employer-paid, with no employee or dependent premium contribution.
  • Location: This position will be based in our San Francisco office, with some flexibility to support work from home. If the successful candidate is located outside of the San Francisco Bay Area, this position can be performed 100% remotely.


Please submit an application including all of the following required documents:

  1. Cover letter, explaining your interest in YLC, including why you are interested in working on a project challenging congregate care in California.. 
  2. Resume
  3. Writing sample
  4. List of at least three academic or professional references

Please submit all required documents (either as a single PDF or as separate Word or PDF document attachments) at the time of application. Incomplete applications will not be considered for this position.

Applications should be submitted electronically via email to Please include the position name and your name in the email subject line.

Timeline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and interviews will be conducted on an ongoing basis until the position is filled.

If you have questions about this position or the application process, feel free to contact us at Please note that due to the volume of applications and questions we receive, we may not be able to respond to every inquiry. No phone calls about the position, please.

About YLC

YLC’s mission is to transform foster care and juvenile justice systems across the nation so every child and youth can thrive. Our goal is to ensure that, whenever a system must intervene in the life of a child, that child will receive the supports, services, and excellent parenting they need to become a flourishing adult. YLC’s specific, actionable, and sustainable advocacy strategies are shaped by the voices of youth and families most impacted by these systems and are informed by research in child development, psychology, behavioral economics, marketing and branding, and adult learning. The YLC team reflects the diverse backgrounds, experiences, and skills needed to make our creative approach to advocacy successful. Find out more about us at and

If you are interested, please submit a cover letter, resume, list of three personal references and a writing sample. Youth Law Center is an equal opportunity employer. Your application package may be submitted via email to

Or, you may send it via postal mail to:

Youth Law Center
attn: Careers
832 Folsom Street, #700
San Francisco, CA 94107

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