Operations / Administration Staff Attorney & Education Collaborative Manager – Project Achieve
Advocates for Children of New York (AFC) seeks an attorney to manage and lead our Education Collaborative, a community of foster care agencies designed to build the capacity of these agencies to better address the educational needs of the children and youth in their care. The attorney in this position will partner with Collaborative members to support individual students who are struggling in school, improve agency practices, develop agency staff, and advocate with the NYC Department of Education (DOE) and Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) for systemic reforms that help students in foster care succeed in school.
The Education Collaborative is an initiative developed by Project Achieve, AFC’s program that has been fighting on behalf of students in New York City’s child welfare system for nearly 20 years. Project Achieve trains child welfare professionals, parents, youth, and educators; designs resources and protocols to support positive educational outcomes for students in care; and secures critical services for students in foster care through school-based advocacy and IDEA litigation when necessary. We use the lessons we learn from our on-the-ground experience to push for policy change that will benefit all students in the City’s foster care system. The attorney in this position will serve on a team with a supervising attorney, staff attorney, education specialist, and project associate.
AFC is a not-for-profit social justice organization that strives to ensure a high-quality education for all New York students, focusing on students from low-income backgrounds. AFC works on behalf of children and youth who are at greatest risk of academic failure due to poverty, race, ethnicity, disability, homelessness, immigration status, limited English proficiency, or involvement in the child welfare or juvenile justice systems. We use uniquely integrated strategies to advance systemic reform, empower families and communities, and advocate for the educational rights of individual students.
The Staff Attorney & Education Collaborative Manager will administer the Education Collaborative while supporting the overall work of Project Achieve. Key responsibilities include:
- Scheduling, planning, and facilitating Collaborative meetings
- Developing resources and conducting trainings
- Doing outreach to Collaborative members, including traveling to foster care agencies (note that the Collaborative has been operating virtually during the pandemic)
- Providing ongoing technical assistance and consultation to foster care agency staff
- Advocating on behalf of individual students and families experiencing school-related difficulties involving special education, school discipline, enrollment or other issues
- Representing students at mediation and administrative hearings
- Serving as a liaison to the Collaborative funder, including collecting data and writing grant reports
- Engaging in collective advocacy for changes in city policies that affect students in care
- JD. degree required
- Experience in education advocacy or child welfare required
- Excellent written and oral communication skills, including experience presenting to groups
- Strong interpersonal skills; the ability to negotiate effectively in collaborative and adversarial contexts
- The ability to set priorities, meet deadlines, and work both independently and as a member of a team
- A commitment and ability to empower the families that are the focus of AFC’s mission
- Spanish language fluency preferred, but not required