Jessie Conradi

  • Hosted by East Bay Children's Law Offices
  • Sponsored by Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton LLP, The Clorox Company Foundation
  • Service location Oakland, California
  • Law school Golden Gate State University School of Law
  • Issue area Children/Youth
  • Fellowship class year 2016
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Jessie expanded legal advocacy to create access to quality mental health services for Alameda County’s foster youth through direct representation, community collaboration, and policy implementation.

More than half of foster youth have a need for mental health services; however, many are over-institutionalized and receive minimal mental health services. Children with troublesome behavior are placed into alternative schools or restrictive group homes and about 25 percent of foster youth are prescribed psychotropic medications with little oversight. An attorney is needed to confront the legal barriers that prevent foster youth, especially youth of color, from receiving adequate mental health treatment.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Jessie has:

  • Provided direct representation to 53 foster youth with high mental health needs, participating in two trials and numerous settlements on behalf of her clients;
  • Consulted with 38 individual foster youth hospitalized for a psychiatric emergency to ensure protection of their legal rights in placement and medication;
  • Reviewed more than 270 psychotropic medication requests and conducted follow-up with providers and youth on many of these;
  • Interviewed around 15 youth held in juvenile hall and represented them in delinquency hearings by providing information regarding mental health and trauma history;
  • Conducted over 30 trainings on legal mental health topics, including local psychotropic medication approval procedure; foster youth mental health privacy protection; trauma-informed systems; guardian ad items for transition-aged youth; and the basics of dependency practice;
  • Obtained a $23,000 grant to support ongoing review of psychotropic medication requests for foster youth.

What’s Next

Now that the Fellowship is complete, Jessie plans to:

  • Continue her mental health advocacy for foster youth at East Bay Children’s Law Offices;
  • Incorporate trauma-informed representation and mental health awareness into advocacy for foster youth who are charged with crimes or detained at juvenile hall, and youth who are at risk of being commercially sexually exploited;
  • Train additional providers, courts, and attorneys;
  • Maintain thorough self-care to enable her continued open heart for her clients.

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