Equal Justice Works Fellow Kate Walker to Address Needs of Sexually Exploited Minors
NCYL is excited to welcome back former NCYL law clerk Kate Walker as an Equal Justice Works Fellow. Kate’s fellowship project will focus on increasing mental health access for young girls in Oakland, CA who are victims of sexual trafficking.
Kate’s work will supplement existing efforts of both local government and the community to reduce the number of commercially sexually exploited girls in Oakland. Between 2008 and 2009, arrests of minors for soliciting sex nearly tripled, illustrating the dire need for action. A majority of these victims are young girls who have run away, many from foster care, and they lack any kind of support system.
To address these issues, Kate plans to use direct representation and community collaboration, with the goal of connecting 30 to 40 girls to mental health and community support systems. In this capacity, she hopes to represent youths in matters involving Medi-Cal, special education, and public benefits. Kate will also train community stakeholders on youths’ entitlements to mental health care and community services.
In addition, Kate will work with Alameda County’s Juvenile Collaborative Court (ACJC) to address the reproductive health and mental health needs of girls involved with the Court. The Juvenile Collaborative Court is designed to divert youth with mental health issues from detention and the juvenile justice system. The court does this by providing or linking families and youth to health care services and supports, educational and vocational opportunities, and other community based programs.
Kate, a graduate of the University of Iowa College of Law, clerked at NCYL last summer, working on improving access to mental health services for California foster youth. She also helped write “Improving Outcomes for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System,” a NCYL report on the Alameda County Juvenile Collaborative Court.
Kate has interned at Alliance For Children’s Rights in Los Angeles, and was a volunteer at the Los Angeles Superior Court Self-Help Clinic. As a law student, Kate wrote for the Journal of Gender, Race & Justice, and was a board member of Iowa’s Equal Justice Foundation. She graduated from Pomona College with a degree in Public Policy Analysis.
Kate’s Equal Justice Works Fellowship is being sponsored by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.