Photo of Alexandria Cinney

Alexandria Cinney

  • Hosted by University of Miami School of Law’s Children and Youth Law Clinic
  • Sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP
  • Service location Miami, Florida
  • Law school University of Miami School of Law
  • Issue area Children/Youth, Racial Justice
  • Fellowship class year 2022
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Alexandria (Alex) (she/her/hers) will advocate for Black parents and families in Miami to prevent unnecessary removals of children from their homes by providing civil legal services and collaborating with parent-led advocacy groups to empower families.

Removing a child from their family is traumatic and fails to address the hardships facing families, yet it is often the result of child welfare system involvement. In Florida, most children are removed for neglect, a vague legal category that serves as a proxy for poverty and race, which often results in the separation of families for inadequate housing, childcare, and poor nutrition. In Miami, the inflection point occurs at the moment the Department of Children and Families decides to investigate and deems the child to be “at risk,” thereby allowing the child to remain with their family or be removed from their home. In 2019, Black children were 43% of children investigated, 41% of children confirmed as maltreated, and 56% of children removed, though they are only 20% of Miami’s child population.

Her family’s experience with her sister’s adoption, though different from experiences of families entangled in the child welfare system, led to Alex’s exploration of and commitment to supporting and strengthening families.

Fellowship Plans

Alex will prevent the unnecessary removal of children by providing direct representation to parents and caregivers before an investigation has taken place or before a petition for removal has been filed. She will advocate for families confronted with eviction, domestic violence, and public benefits matters, enabling them to continue caring for their children safely within their homes. She will collaborate with local parent-led advocacy groups to amplify community and parent voices within the child welfare system.

Media

Greenberg Traurig Names its 2022 Equal Justice Works Fellows

I have learned through years of working with families who have been torn apart by the child welfare system that separation deeply harms everyone involved and does not address the systemic poverty and racism that led to the removal in the first place. When given proper support, I have seen that children and their families can remain safely together and thrive.

Alexandria Cinney /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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