Stephanie Truong

  • Hosted by South Texas College of Law, Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinic
  • Sponsored by Texas Access to Justice Foundation
  • Service location Houston, Texas
  • Law school South Texas College of Law Houston
  • Issue area Children/Youth
  • Fellowship class year 2013
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Stephanie provided legal advocacy and support to youth aging out of foster care in Harris County, Texas, to improve their social, educa-tional, and occupational opportunities in adulthood.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project

In 2011, Harris County had 2,630 youth in long-term foster care. Judges rarely appoint attorneys to these cases due to budgetary constraints and limited resources and when they do, there are no uniform court practices established to ensure proper representation and case oversight. Many of these youth age out of the system without the resources or support necessary to obtain employment, higher education, or housing, leading to high risk for homelessness, drug abuse, mental health issues, and contact with the criminal justice system. Most youth have no advocate to help them transition out of the foster care system, resulting in many youth suffering from unidentified problems and insufficient support, which ultimately hinders their ability to live independently.

Fellowship Highlights

During the Fellowship, Stephanie has:

  • Represented 22 youth and young adults in Permanent Managing Conservatorship (PMC) of the state by increasing access to appropriate medical, special education, and transitional services and advocating for least restrictive placement
  • Assisted nine clients’ transition out of foster care with access to safe and stable housing, education, and employment opportunities
  • Partnered with a district court to conduct best practices in PMC cases with a focus on youth engagement in hearings and published a report on the findings
  • Coordinated and hosted a continuing legal education training for 35 child welfare attorneys and volunteer advocates
  • Created five free online tutorials for students and attorneys interested in representing transition-aged youth in foster care
  • Served as Legal Subcommittee Community Lead of the Harris County Child Welfare Collaborative, a local initiative created to strategize and implement practical, effective reform to the current system

Meet Other Fellows Like Stephanie

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Mary Bissell

Mary Bissell

Host: Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

Jaynie Leung

Host: Children's Law Center of Minnesota

Sponsor: Robins Kaplan LLP

Rachel Kleinberg

Host: Public Counsel

Sponsor: Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP