Photo of Brianna Bell

Brianna Bell

  • Hosted by KidsVoice
  • Sponsored by PNC Bank, Reed Smith LLP
  • Service location Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Law school University of Pittsburgh School of Law
  • Issue area Children/Youth, Education/Special Education
  • Fellowship class year 2021
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Brianna (she/her/hers) will provide legal assistance and support to children in the Allegheny County child welfare system with special education needs who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The goal of Brianna’s project is to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on dependency system-involved children who receive special education services. Since the pandemic crisis began in March 2020, these students have gone months without educational services or with insufficient supports and services resulting in long-term consequences. Without the stability of a secure family, these children are particularly susceptible to receiving an inadequate education, which has a lifelong impact as they transition to adulthood. 

Fellowship Plans

Brianna will advocate for recoupment and/or compensatory services based on the Pennsylvania Department of Education guidance to address the needs of special education students impacted by the extended school closure. She will research and advocate for best practices to be implemented in school districts for their benefit. Brianna will also provide consultations and technical assistance to attorneys and child advocacy specialists on individual special education cases, advocate for children at Individual Education Program (IEP) and other school meetings, and provide support to foster parents and other caregivers in their role as educational decision-maker. 

I am continually inspired by the resilience demonstrated by children facing difficult circumstances. It is a privilege to work toward creating transformative change for educational equity.

Brianna Bell /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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Rachel Judd

Host: Rocky Mountain Children's Law Center

Sponsor: The Morrison & Foerster Foundation

Mary Claire Hyatt

Host: Legal Aid of Arkansas

Sponsor: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Walmart, Inc.

Lily Eagle Colby

Host: Youth Law Center

Sponsor: Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Christina Campbell

Host: Center For Educational Excellence In Alternative Settings

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP