Lashawnda Woods-Roberts

  • Hosted by Georgia Appleseed Center for Law & Justice
  • Sponsored by Anonymous
  • Service location Atlanta, Georgia
  • Law school University of South Carolina School of Law
  • Issue area Education/Special Education
  • Fellowship class year 2018
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Lashawnda advocated for the educational rights of low-income dual-system involved children and students critically at risk of court involvement through policy advocacy, special education advocacy, legal education, and legal training.  

Georgia youth in foster care are critically at risk of justice involvement. Children in foster care come to school with compounded issues and barriers due to the circumstances leading to removal, complex trauma, and a host of other problems that largely remain unaddressed. Of the approximate 14,000 children in Georgia foster care, less than a third are likely to graduate from high school. More than 75% of this special population of children perform below grade level. Despite special group status, foster children are still more likely to experience exclusionary school discipline and justice involvement due to behavioral challenges they may exhibit as a result of removal(s) from their families, constant school and placement transfers, and incidents of trauma before and during their time in care. Capitalizing on the Georgia Appleseed Foster Care Student Tribunal Project and Bridges to Behavioral Wellness, this project aimed to change the social and academic trajectory of justice-involved youth in foster care, particularly children of color and children with disabilities, and other students at high risk of involvement.

Fellowship Highlights

During the twp-year Fellowship period, Lashawnda:

  • Directly represented and assisted dozens of justice-involved children, families, and service providers in South Carolina and Georgia to increase and maintain access to education services and supports
  • Partnered with several local, regional, and state agencies and organizations to improve policy and legislation affecting at-risk children and those with current dependency or delinquency involvement
  • Increased access to legal representation, meaningful evaluations, and individualized supports and accommodations for justice-involved clients with disabilities

Next Steps

Lashawnda continues her advocacy work as a staff attorney for Georgia Appleseed and Atlanta Legal Aid. Lashawnda tackles systemic justice and policy issues at Georgia Appleseed and directly represents children in foster care with significant disabilities at Atlanta Legal Aid.

Media

‘Negative outcomes’ for kids linked to push for school safety

Meet Other Fellows Like Lashawnda

View All

Margaret Wakelin

Host: Equip for Equality

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig Fellowship Foundation

Photo of Amelia Huckins

Amelia Huckins

Host: Mississippi Center for Justice

Sponsor: Philip M. Stern Fellowship

Tovah Pentelovitch

Host: Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc.

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Texas Access to Justice Foundation

Teresita Ramos

Host: Disability Law Center

Sponsor: Equal Justice Works Text-to-Give