Removing barriers to help current & former foster youth reach their potential without being blocked by their past
Lawyers Fostering Independence (LFI) is a one-of-a-kind program based in King County. LFI connects volunteer attorneys with current and former foster youth to provide life-changing civil legal assistance, keeping them moving forward to independent and productive lives.
What happens to the over 500 youth who age out of foster care in Washington state every year?
45% will not graduate with a high school diploma
Only 50% will be employed by age 24
25% will experience PTSD
28% will become homeless within a year
Former foster youth face significant emotional, educational, financial, and legal challenges that threaten their independence and future as adults. From identity theft to juvenile records to housing problems, a myriad of issues keep former foster youth from rebuilding their lives.
Together, LFI attorneys remove legal barriers that stand in the way of former foster youth securing housing, employment, and furthering or completing education. Our volunteer attorneys donated nearly $150,000 in billable hours in 2015, hosting 4 legal clinics every month, closing 72% of assigned cases, and serving 57% more youth than in the previous year.
Over the years we have helped our young clients move past legal obstacles, freeing them to move toward safe, independent, and productive lives. For example, our volunteer attorneys:
Resolved an identity theft case, which cleared up the client’s credit and resulted in the client passing a housing credit check and becoming stably housed for the first time in several years.
Sealed a juvenile record for a young man, leading to him getting a great job two weeks later after having not been able to get a job due to the record for the prior two years.
Obtained a name change to clear up confusion with the state in order that the client could receive the public benefits she was entitled to and needed to be stably housed and provide for her child.
If you are a former foster youth needing non-criminal legal help, an attorney looking to volunteer, or someone just wanting more information, please contact the LFI program at 206.696.7503 x17 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Youth Dependency Guide: Know Your Rights! In collaboration with partners from Perkins Coie, Washington Defender Association, and Columbia Legal Services, CCYJ has produced a handbook for the ABA on the legal rights of youth in dependency.