2025 Legal Fellow – Child Welfare Team

The Position

National Center for Youth Law 

The National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) works to amplify youth power, dismantle racism and other structural inequities, and build just policies, practices, and culture in support of young people. Our efforts advance justice through research, community collaboration, impact litigation, and policy advocacy that fundamentally transforms our nation's approach to education, health, immigration, foster care, and youth justice. Our vision is a world in which every young person thrives and has a full and fair opportunity to achieve the future they envision for themselves. 


While NCYL welcomes project proposals (see Call for Fellowship Proposals posting), NCYL’s Child Welfare Team is particularly interested in sponsoring a legal fellow for the Skadden, Equal Justice Works, and other fellowships to work on a project that explores advocacy strategies to keep LGBTQ+ youth with their families and increase permanency options for LGBTQ+ youth in the child welfare system. LGBTQ+ youth are overwhelmingly overrepresented in the child welfare system, as well in the homeless population.  


One factor contributing to these family disruptions is families who do not affirm their children’s LGBTQ+ identity, making the youth feel psychologically or physically unsafe. Research has shown that family acceptance programs can help strengthen the relationship between parents and their LGBTQ+ children and prevent family separation. The fellow will explore various advocacy strategies to increase access to family acceptance programs, including policy, litigation, and media strategies.   

Please explain in your cover letter why you are interested in working on this particular project.  

Essential Functions 

  • In collaboration with NCYL staff, develop a proposal for a project that advances justice for children and youth who have been marginalized. 

  • Develop a fellowship project in partnership with NCYL staff. 

  • Apply to the public interest fellowships for which NCYL agrees to sponsorship. 

  • Once a fellowship is awarded, join NCYL as a fellow in September 2025. 

  • Implement the fellowship project under the supervision of NCYL staff. 

  • Respond to requests for assistance from the public and Qualified Legal Services Projects. 

  • Attend organizational and team meetings and retreats.


  • Graduating from law school in Spring 2025 or have been clerking since graduating from law school in a prior year.  

  • Interest in working in one or more of NCYL’s general areas of focus.  

  • Commitment to advancing justice by protecting the rights of children and youth and improving the systems that impact their lives.  

  • Commitment to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion.  

  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.  


Physical Requirements 

Prolonged periods sitting at a desk and working on a computer. This position requires the ability to work remotely and requires some travel. 


Salary, Benefits and Location 

This is a full-time, exempt position with a competitive salary of $76,313.00 annually. A geographic salary differential may be applied if the candidate resides somewhere other than the Oakland, CA, Los Angeles, CA, New York City, or Washington, DC metro areas. This means that the salary would be reduced if the candidate resides in an area where the cost of labor is less than that of the San Francisco Bay Area. 


NCYL provides robust benefits package including health, dental, vision, life, generous vacation and sick benefits, flexible spending account, commuter benefits, employer contribution to a retirement plan and short-term and long-term disability insurance. 


Candidates must reside in, or be willing to relocate to, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Virginia, Washington DC, or Wisconsin at the time the fellowship begins in September 2025. 


How to Apply 

Please submit a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and law school transcript at the link below. (You will need to click on “Upload Additional Files” to submit the writing sample and transcript.) 


Please, no emails or calls. 


Applicants who meet the above criteria with lived experiences within any of our practice areas, including Black, Indigenous, or other people of color, are strongly encouraged to apply. 


It is the policy of NCYL to provide equal employment opportunities to all Applicants (including Employees) regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, breastfeeding, national origin, age, abilities/disabilities, neurotypicality, socioeconomic status, veteran status, marital status, prior convictions, or any other protected classifications under federal, state, or local law. 

Meet The Team

The child welfare campaign designs multiple, complementary strategies to promote racial and social justice for children and youth involved with or at risk of involvement with the child welfare system. We work to transform child welfare systems so that children and youth can be safer and heal and thrive in their community. We aim to implement new strategies and policies that move beyond the current confines of our existing public policies and systems. Our work focuses on addressing root causes of racial and other inequities. We seek to be led by and with those most impacted by these systems and community advocates.