Kathryn Hensley ’13 and Kira Ewig ’13 have been awarded the Bergstrom Child Welfare Law Summer Fellowship, which encourages outstanding law students nationwide to pursue careers in child advocacy. The Fellows attend a three-day training session at the University of Michigan Law School followed by 10 weeks or more at a child welfare office representing children, parents, and social service agencies.
Hensley will work at the Lawyers for Children - LGBTQ Youth Project, which offers free legal and social work to abused and neglected children, children in foster care, and children in high conflict custody cases. The LGBTQ Youth Project specifically assesses the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth in foster care.
Hensley, who also co-chairs the OutLaws student organization, said she came to Brooklyn Law School to work on child welfare, poverty, identity and exclusion issues. She was awarded the Equal Justice America Fellowship, which funds her work at Lawyers for Children. “I am excited about the opportunity to expand my knowledge so I can be a better advocate for children and their families,” she said.
Hensley credits her academic experience at the Law School for nurturing her interest in social justice. Last fall she took part in the Children’s Law Center Clinic (CLC) and remained there as an intern this spring term working on cases involving child advocacy, abuse, neglect, custody, and visitation. Hensley also interns at the Kings County Family Court in Brooklyn. “This work and that at CLC have really shaped my law school experience and the direction I will take as a children’s advocate,” Hensley said.
|Kira Ewig '13|
Ewig will be working at Children’s Rights, a Manhattan-based advocacy group whose mission is to reform the failing child welfare system across the nation. The organization also files federal class action lawsuits.
Ewig was attracted to Brooklyn Law School for its strong reputation in public service, its children’s rights curriculum, and its supportive community. Like Hensley, she joined the Law School’s CLC Clinic, where she interviews child clients and their parents and reviews case files and relevant documents to prepare for hearings and trials. She is also an Edward V. Sparer Public Interest Law Fellow.
Ewig said that the Law School has provided an exceptionally supportive environment for developing her interest in child welfare. “It is not a competitive environment when it comes to public service. It’s more about networking and helping one another, regardless of whether they know your field well or not,” she said, noting that Professors Linda Feldman, Frederic Bloom, and Elizabeth Kane, Director of Public Service Programs, have served as invaluable mentors.
Ewig hopes to continue her work in child advocacy, in particular with foster children after she graduates. “I'm so excited about my summer plans and truly appreciative of the wonderful opportunities and support I've received from BLS,” she said.