Dancing with the CLC Stars 2019

Children’s Law Center’s seventh annual Dancing with the CLC Stars fundraising dance competition is on

Thursday, May 30, 2019 | 6:00-9:30 p.m. | Receptions Event Center | 1379 Donaldson Hwy, Erlanger, KY 41018


Press Releases

posted october 17, 2018

Children’s Law Center Welcomes New Development Director

The Children’s Law Center (CLC) is pleased to announce it has chosen Steve Hegge as the new development director of the organization. Hegge assumed the duties and responsibilities of development director on October 1, 2018. He takes over for John Vissman, who was the previous development director at CLC for the past six years. Vissman retired on September 30, 2018.

“I know I have some big shoes to fill in replacing John, but I also know that he left a solid foundation on which to stand,” said Hegge. “I look forward to working with staff and board members to continue to raise funds to fulfill CLC’s mission.”

Hegge has over 20 years of experience in the local nonprofit arena and has raised funds for United Way, Campbell Lodge Boys' Home, the Cincinnati Art Museum, and the University of Cincinnati. Hegge has a bachelor’s degree in English from Western Kentucky University and a master’s degree in English from Idaho State University.

“I have enjoyed a wonderful six years working as Development Director on the CLC team” said Vissman. “I am humbled by the great work the organization does every day to help children and youth overcome barriers to success. CLC is lucky to have Development Director Steve Hegge’s experience and wisdom leading its resource acquisition efforts as the organization continues to advocate for disadvantaged children and youth.”

Hegge is a member of the Leadership Northern Kentucky Class of 2006, and he has been a board member for Friends of the Kenton County Public Library, Greater Cincinnati Planned Giving Council, Cincinnati Zen Center, and the Fort Mitchell Tree Board. Hegge is also a current hospice volunteer with Bluegrass Care Navigators.

“CLC looks forward to working with Steve and we thank John for being an instrumental part of our organization for the past six years,” said Acena Beck, Executive Director.

For more information please contact Executive Director Acena Beck at abeck@childrenslawky.org or 859-431-3313, or Development Director Steve Hegge at shegge@childrenslawky.org or 859-431-3313

posted march 22, 2018

Children's Law Center and Lighthouse Youth & Family Services Join Partnership to Help Youth with Second Chance Succeed

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has awarded a grant to Lighthouse Youth & Family Services to partner with Children’s Law Center to provide civil legal services to youth returning to their families and communities following out-of-home placement. Through the Second Chance Act Juvenile Reentry Legal Services Initiative, the youth will receive civil legal services to address indirect consequences of justice system involvement. The goal is to reduce recidivism by removing barriers to securing housing, education, and employment. The initiative is funded by the DOJ’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Children’s Law Center selected Children’s Law Center Youth Reentry Staff Attorney Carrie Gilbert to coordinate this initiative with Lighthouse. Gilbert spends the majority of her time working within Lighthouse’s Hamilton County Community Juvenile Justice Reentry Services.

“This partnership with Children’s Law Center allows youth to receive streamlined reentry services, making what they need to succeed easily accessible and as a result, improving their outcomes, “said Gregory Bingham, Director of Lighthouse’s Hamilton County Community Juvenile Justice Services. ”Working together, we can support young people returning to our community in the best ways possible.”

Young people reentering their community frequently need assistance sealing or expunging their juvenile records, accessing education and stable housing, and managing court fines and fees. Ms. Gilbert assesses each young person’s legal needs and provides all necessary services, including attending all court and administrative hearings as well as school meetings, advocating for the youth, preparing motions, doing research, or contacting opposing counsel.


Save the Date: Dancing with the CLC Stars 2018

Inspired by the ABC-TV’s sensational show Dancing with the Stars, Dancing with the CLC Stars pairs eight local celebrities with professional dancers from Arthur Murray Dance Center to benefit the Children’s Law Center; a non-profit serving Greater Cincinnati’s disadvantaged and vulnerable youth. Reservations are required and are being accepted now.

Which Dancing Star has the “chops” to win the Talent Competition?  Which of our Stars can gain the most support from their fans to become Fundraising Champion?  Which Dancing Star has the talent and fundraising skills to be crowned Grand Champion? Guest judges will score the dancers on a scale of 1-10 but EVERYONE can influence the outcome of the competition by purchasing votes, sponsorships, and tickets for their favorite dancer.

WHEN: Thursday May 31, 2018

TIME: 6:00 to 9:30 p.m.

WHERE: Receptions Event Center, 1379 Donaldson Hwy, Erlanger, KY

VOTES: Every dollar purchase equals one vote for your favorite dancer, $1 = 1 vote and $5,000 = 5,000 votes.

TICKET PRICING: General tickets are $50, Priority Seating tickets are $100, and Priority Tables of ten are  $1,000. In addition to the competition, your ticket to attend Dancing with the CLC Stars includes dinner by the bite, beer and wine (cocktails at cash bar), open dancing before and after the competition, and one free dance lesson at the Arthur Murray Dance studio (10792 Montgomery Rd., Cincinnati, Ohio)!

SPONSORSHIPS: Keep your favorite dancer in the lead by becoming a sponsor! Sponsorships are available from $250 to $10,000.

CLICK HERE to purchase votes, tickets, and sponsorships for your favorite dancers!


Children's Law Center, Inc. Launches H.E.L.P. Program

Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG) granted funding to Children's Law Center for the Homeless and Education Law Program (H.E.L.P.). The program is funded for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 and is designed to provide legal counsel for youth experiencing poverty and homelessness to fill an existing gap for services in the area.

Through the program, CLC will work to advocate for youth in pursuing four major outcomes: economic opportunity, stable and supportive living situations, safety and well-being, and self-advocacy. Specific outcomes include school or college enrollment, employment, job training or assistance programs, graduation, GED, improved educational supports, grade promotion, and improvement in school attendance. For each client receiving services, CLC will help them identify their goals, create a case plan for achieving those goals, and provide services or referrals to other agencies/organizations to assist in obtaining identified goals and outcomes.

In accordance with the H.E.L.P. grant, CLC will partner with Arbor Youth Services in Lexington to hold monthly "H.E.L.P. Clinics" for their residents. The clinics will offer an overview of children's legal rights regarding education, housing, and dating violence, followed by an opportunity for residents to receive one-on-one consultation with our legal advocates. These are NOT open to the public, just available to residents at Arbor Youth Services. 

For more information, contact Amanda Bear at abear@childrenslawky.org. 


Children's Law Center, Inc. Joins The Education Civil Rights Alliance

In the face of increasing threats to student civil rights throughout the nation, Children’s Law Center, Inc. (CLC) has joined with more than two dozen leading education and civil rights groups to launch the Education Civil Rights Alliance (ECR Alliance).

Schools should serve, educate, empower and be safe for all students, yet all across America today, far too many students face bullying and other barriers to education based on their race, religion, national origin, gender identity, disability, first language, or sexual orientation. Immigrant children continue to be illegally denied the right to enroll in school. Increasingly divisive and hateful rhetoric and growing anti-Muslim and White nationalist sentiment only serve to exacerbate the threats to already marginalized vulnerable students.

“CLC is pleased to be a member of the Education Civil Rights Alliance” said Acena Beck, Executive Director at CLC. “Our children’s ability to succeed in school is vital to their successful transition into adulthood.”

The ECR Alliance will ensure the civil rights of marginalized students remain protected by providing resources to help parents, educators, school districts, and advocates protect students’ civil rights, supporting enforcement actions at the state and local level when schools districts and states fail to do so, working to raise public awareness of these challenges facing students, and serving as a deterrent to discriminatory and illegal behavior.

This alliance includes powerful community groups, experienced educators, the nation’s largest teacher unions, accomplished legal organizations, influential national associations, civil rights organizations, and government agencies committed to ensuring that schools serve, educate, empower and are safe for all students. Members of the ECR Alliance have extensive experience in, and a deep commitment to, protecting students’ civil rights.



Federal Judge Rules Cuffing of Young Elementary Students Unconstitutional

Covington, KY- Oct. 13, 2017- The Federal District Court Judge presiding over S.R. et. al v. Kenton County issued an opinion Wednesday granting the child-Plaintiffs motion for summary judgment, ruling that the cuffing of two students with disabilities by a school resource officer was an unconstitutional seizure and excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The Court also ruled that Kenton County is liable for the deputy sheriff’s unconstitutional conduct.

“Even as young children, both were certain that what the deputy did to them was wrong” said Rickell Howard Smith, litigation director for the Children’s Law Center and counsel for the child-Plaintiffs. “I am glad to be able to tell them that the federal judge agrees with them.”

The children, an 8-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl were handcuffed above the elbow behind their backs. A disturbing video shows the boy, S.R., crying out in pain. The girl, L.G, was twice handcuffed above the elbow, also causing her pain. Both children were being punished for behavior related to their disabilities.

“We are gratified that the judge found, as a matter of law, that this was a violation of the 4th Amendment” said Claudia Center, senior staff attorney for the ACLU Disability Rights Program. “We knew this was unconstitutional behavior. Anyone who viewed the video could see it was tantamount to torture.”

The lawsuit was filed in August 2015 by the Children’s Law Center, Dinsmore & Shohl, and the American Civil Liberties Union, which prompted a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into the school districts disciplinary practices, including the use of police to deal with routine student misbehavior. In January 2017, Covington Independent Schools entered into an agreement with DOJ and began implementing new policies to ensure that disciplinary practices do not discriminate against children with disabilities.

"This is a great day for our clients and the elementary school children of Kentucky” said Kenyon Meyer of Dinsmore Shohl. “The court confirmed that using law enforcement tactics to discipline young children in this manner has no place in our schools."

A copy of the decision can be found at www.childrenslawky.org. For more information, contact: Rickell Howard or Acena Beck, Children's Law Center, 859-431-3313, rhoward@childrenslawky.org or abeck@childrenslawky.org Kenyon Meyer, Dinsmore & Shohl, 502-540-2300, kenyon.meyer@dinsmore.com Claudia Center, ACLU, (415) 343-0762, ccenter@aclu.org Susan Mizner, ACLU, 646-421-9387, smizner@aclu.org

See the opinion HERE


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Local Civil Rights Lawyer and Reform Advocate Wins Prestigious Fellowship In Youth Justice

Rickell Howard, Ohio Litigation and Policy Director of Children’s Law Center, has been chosen to be a Fellow in the Youth Justice Leadership Institute. The Institute is a prestigious national fellowship program run by the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) in Washington, DC for juvenile justice reform advocates. Applications to the year-long leadership development program—which is targeted at advocates of color—are extremely competitive and only ten people are selected nationally each year.

Although communities of color are generally those most heavily-impacted by juvenile justice policies, advocates of color are surprisingly underrepresented in reformer leadership. The Youth Justice Leadership Institute seeks to address this imbalance by offering fellowships to develop the leadership and advocacy skills of people of color who are in the youth justice field.

“It is both an honor and privilege to be selected to be part of this year’s Youth Justice Leadership Institute,” said Rickell Howard. “I look forward to learning from national leaders in juvenile justice reform and using new strategies to affect positive changes for youth and families in Hamilton County.” Over the next year, Rickell Howard will complete an advocacy project centered on reducing racial disparities in Hamilton County’s Juvenile Justice System.

“There’s a critical need to develop strong and effective leaders of color in the youth justice movement,” said Diana Onley-Campbell, who coordinates the national program for NJJN. “We believe that the voices and leadership of individuals of color are crucial tools in reforming the biased juvenile justice system and will help build a fairer, more equitable and developmentally appropriate juvenile justice system for all youth and families.


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CLC Gets Funded to Start New Pro Se Clinic In Kentucky

Children's Law Center has been granted generous funding from the Kentucky Bar Foundation to start a Pro Se Custody Clinic in Campbell County and Jessamine County. At each clinic, participants will be provided with all legal documents required for a child custody action filing. Pro Bono attorneys will provide an overview of the child custody process, answer questions, and offer procedural advice. Law students will assist participants with completing and filing the legal documents. We are very excited about this new project. Thank you to the KBF for making it possible!