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19 Nov 2021

Operations / Administration Robin Hood Project – Staff Attorney

Advocates For Children
 New York, New York County, New York, United States

Job Description

Advocates for Children of New York, Inc. (AFC) seeks a Staff Attorney to join AFC’s Robin Hood Project to provide direct representation at special education hearings, advocacy, and technical assistance on a variety of education issues, and community outreach/training to improve access to educational services for students ages 0-21 from low-income backgrounds in New York City. Currently, New York City families have a crucial need for legal assistance to navigate the education system as the pandemic has strained resources and disrupted learning, leaving the education of students in a precarious position.

AFC’s Robin Hood Project partners with roughly 20 other Robin Hood-funded organizations (such as domestic violence shelters, hospitals, tutoring agencies, and social service providers) to help their staff assist clients who encounter barriers to education, including problems relating to literacy, learning disabilities, emotional and behavioral needs, English-language learner (ELL) supports, and inappropriate school services, supports, and placements as well as barriers to accessing educational services for families in temporary housing.

The Project, which also includes another staff attorney, an advocate, and a project director, works directly with families served by these organizations, providing legal representation and advocacy. Legal representation for families consists primarily of special education hearings and conferences pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Additionally, the Project builds the capacity of these organizations through training and technical assistance so they can better address the educational needs of current and future clients. This attorney will use the Project’s integrated strategies to advocate for the educational needs of students involved with the various partner agencies and assist agency staff in supporting the educational needs of their clients.

AFC is a not-for-profit social justice organization that strives to ensure a high-quality education for New York students who face barriers to academic success, focusing on students from low-income backgrounds. AFC works on behalf of children and youth who are at greatest risk of encountering obstacles to accessing quality education due to poverty, race, ethnicity, disability, homelessness, immigration status/limited English proficiency, or involvement in the child welfare or juvenile/criminal justice systems. We use uniquely integrated strategies to advance systemic reform, empower families and communities, and advocate for the educational rights of individual students.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing legal representation and advocacy on behalf of families experiencing school-related difficulties such as inappropriate special education placements and services, enrollment issues, or suspensions. This includes conducting client interviews, helping clients assess their options and goals, advocating for students at special education meetings or suspension hearings, requesting and interpreting evaluations, advocating with the New York City Department of Education to resolve problems, and representing clients at impartial administrative hearings related to special education under the IDEA.
  • Providing trainings and workshops to parents and staff at partnering agencies on a variety of education-related topics, including, for example, the educational rights of students in temporary housing and special education rights.
  • Providing on-going technical assistance to staff at partnering agencies with the aim of building the capacity of these organizations to better address educational issues their families may be facing.
  • Serving as a liaison to partner organizations, helping to identify shared goals and fielding inquiries and concerns.
  • Tracking and recording project statistics using Salesforce database and preparing data for grant reports.

Qualifications:

  • D. degree required.
  • Fluency in Spanish is required.
  • Experience in education advocacy or a related field is strongly preferred.
  • Knowledge of relevant education, disability or civil rights laws or practices is strongly preferred.
  • Commitment and ability to empower the families that are the focus of AFC’s mission.
  • Strength in oral and written communication skills.
  • Ability to identify, analyze and creatively resolve layered and complex problems.
  • Ability to set priorities, meet deadlines, and work both independently and as a member of a team.
  • Ability to negotiate effectively in both adversarial and collaborative contexts.
  • Experience presenting to groups is preferred.

Compensation:

Salary is commensurate with experience and includes generous benefits.

AFC is an affirmative action employer that actively seeks to recruit and retain a diverse staff and especially encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, persons of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or gender expressions and persons of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. For more information on AFC, visit our website at www.advocatesforchildren.org

How to Apply

How to apply: Please send an email with “Robin Hood Staff Attorney” in the subject line with a resume and cover letter to rhstaffattorney@advocatesforchildren.org. Candidates should highlight any personal or professional experience that demonstrates their connection to the populations that AFC serves. No phone calls, please. Only candidates being scheduled for interviews will be contacted. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. This position is available starting immediately, and candidates are encouraged to apply as quickly as possible. The position is currently in person from our New York City office two days a week and remote on other days. At some point, more or less in-person work may be required, depending on the course of the pandemic.

Bureaus: New York. Job Categories: Full-Time. Job Types: Operations / Administration.

Job expires in 22 days.