Tulsa Lawyers for Children
Tulsa Lawyers for Children recruits, trains, and provides assistance to volunteer attorneys representing children in court who are in custody of DHS for allegations of abuse and neglect raised against their parents.
Barbara Sears, Executive Director of Tulsa Lawyers for Children, explains that a Public Defender is assigned to a child’s case and sometimes that same attorney is also representing their parents, in this instance a volunteer from Tulsa Lawyers for Children will represent the child. The nonprofit organization was formed in 2000 and has two primary programs. The first program is the core program for training. Tulsa Lawyers for Children recruits lawyers who are interested in helping children and twice a year they train lawyers in the children’s code of the Oklahoma statutes (title 10A). The second program is called the shelter visitation and show cause hearing program. Sears says that when children are removed from their home because of a safety threat for alleged abuse and/or neglect they are often taken to the DHS Shelter, the Laura Dester Children’s Home. When a child arrives at the shelter a volunteer attorney with Tulsa Lawyers for Children visits with the child and gains information from the child about their siblings, their needs, etc. and gets to know the child. Sears explains that within 2 judicial days the child’s parent are in court for a show cause hearing. In this hearing DHS has to provide sufficient evidence - show cause - that there is a threat to safety to remain in their home. The volunteer from Tulsa Lawyers for Children represents the child in this hearing. As they are the voice for that child in the courtroom often times they are able to suggest other possibilities for placement of the child that they learned from the child by visiting with them when they arrived at the shelter. “It’s just an additional way to get information to the judge and give the child’s input into that hearing. The children do not attend that hearing, so our volunteers act as their guardians in the context of that hearing,” Sears says.
The nonprofit organization always needs lawyers. Some of the volunteers with Tulsa Lawyers for Children are law students. They have a partnership with the University of Tulsa college of law. TU law students involved with Tulsa Lawyers for Children volunteer at the children’s shelter. Last year, both the lawyers and the law students provided over 2500 hours of volunteer work totaling $374,000 worth of free volunteer hours given. People can help Tulsa Lawyers for Children through financial donations. Tulsa Lawyers for Children’s website has a donate page for those who want to help provide the legal services the organization gives to children in need.
On December 1st, Tulsa Lawyers for Children will have their inaugural fundraiser called Tinsel and Tuxes. It will be at the Tulsa Country Club and will include dinner, a band, and a silent and live auction. Diane White PR is working on this event. For details about Tinsel and Tuxes contact Heather Carver, Public Relations manager at Diane White PR, at 918-779-5771. For more information about Tulsa Lawyers for Children see their website and their facebook page. Also, see Tinsel and Tuxes facebook page for information on this upcoming event.
Tulsa Lawyers for facebook page
Tinsel and Tuxes event facebook page