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Mackenzie Becker

2017, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Mackenzie Becker

Mackenzie Becker

Name of Host Organization: Children's Law Center
City, State: Washington, District of Columbia
Issue area: Children/Youth
Sponsors: Greenberg Traurig, Steptoe & Johnson

The Project

Create a model for culturally competent legal representation for LGBTQ foster youth in Washington, DC by directly representing youth, engaging in coalition building and outreach, and training stakeholders.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
Research has consistently shown that LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in foster care. Even when sexual orientation is not the impetus for foster care entry, many LGBTQ youth deal with an added layer of trauma stemming from such rejection or mistreatment and often stay in care longer because of a lack of culturally competent legal representation and a dearth of supportive placements.
The Right Person For This Project

Mackenzie is the right person for the project because:
• As an undergraduate, Mackenzie completed a minor in LGBT & Sexuality Studies and conducted independent research related to families and education.
• In law school, she earned a certificate in family law and interned with organizations focused on advancing the rights of children and families, including Children’s Law Center.

Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship

In the first six months, Mackenzie will:
• Participate in the Children’s Law Center six-week new attorney training.
• Develop a substantive understanding of the services, legal protections, and issues affecting LGBTQ youth in foster care.
• Connect with LGBTQ focused organizations and services.
• Develop relationships with relevant contacts in the courts and CFSA.
• Through community partnerships, identify common and pressing issues meriting legal remedies or policy solutions.
• Directly represent and assist others in representing 3-5 LGBTQ youth.