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 two-year Fellowship, 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 decided to continue 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.


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