Taylor Greenberg

  • Hosted by Bay Area Legal Services, Inc.
  • Sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP, The Florida Bar Foundation
  • Service location Tampa, Florida
  • Issue area Children/Youth
  • Fellowship class year 2018
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Taylor improved outcomes for teenagers in group home foster care by providing holistic, client-directed representation, holding “Know Your Rights” trainings, and collaborating with attorneys for children across Florida.

Numerous national studies show that youth have better outcomes when they grow up in families. Youth in group homes are less likely to graduate from high school or ever find a permanent home, are more likely to become involved in the juvenile delinquency system, are at a higher risk of becoming victims of human-trafficking, and are more likely to suffer further physical abuse. Despite mounting evidence that children do best in families, one in three teens in care nationwide and over 100 teenagers in Hillsborough county continue to reside in group home care. In Florida, children do not have the right to an attorney unless they meet certain qualifications as a child with a special need. Therefore, many teens in group homes never receive the benefit of an attorney. Taylor’s project aimed to fill the gap in the representation of teenagers in group home foster care to ensure their legal rights were protected and their voices heard.

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship period, Taylor:

  • Advocated for transitioning over 85% of her clients out of group home care and/or ensuring they remain in family-like settings
  • Defended clients’ rights to receive benefits when aging out of care, ensuring they do not become homeless or go hungry
  • Defended clients’ rights to access disability benefits while in foster care to use funds for personal items and services not covered under Medicaid
  • Conducted five trainings for child welfare service providers and participated in over 45 coalition-building meetings
  • Worked with a team of pro bono attorneys from Greenberg Traurig to update the “Know Your Rights” guide for teens in foster care she created at the beginning of her Fellowship, which is the only comprehensive guide in Florida on the rights teens have in foster care

Next Steps

Taylor continues to provide client-directed, holistic representation to teenagers primarily living in group home foster care as a staff attorney at her host organization, the L. David Shear Children’s Law Center of Bay Area Legal Services, Inc. Taylor also continues to train the child welfare community and youth on the rights teens have in foster care in Florida. 

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