those few legal rights that are truly objective, such as placement in the least restrictive setting
possible and, critically, its emphasis on the lawyer’s role in expediting the court process. 58
Where the field has done a better job coming to a consensus of what a lawyer should do is
in relation to the child-client’s role in the litigation more generally. That is, we have a far more
robust appreciation as a field now for the multiple ways that a child can meaningfully participate
in a case than we did even ten years ago. First and foremost, we now understand that for children
and for their cases, it is important for them to come to court and at least see the judge, especially
on matters of permanency planning. 59
Throughout American history, children have been at the forefront of movements for social
change. Barbara Bennett Woodhouse makes this point forcefully, highlighting the examples of
young Ben Franklin and others. 60 It is important to note that children have been the fulcrum for
many landscape-altering constitutional cases. The Brown in Brown v. Board of Education61 was
nine-year-old Linda. John and Mary Beth Tinker (aged fifteen and thirteen, respectively) wanted
to protest the Vietnam War at school and ended up as named parties to a major First Amendment
case in the Supreme Court. 62 Samantha Redding, age thirteen, suffered the indignity and
humiliation of a strip search in the principal’s office when she was found with one illicit tablet of
ibuprofen in her schoolwork; she did not just get mad, she sued and vindicated the Fourth
Amendment rights of school children nationwide. 63 Around the world, children are active
participants in youth assemblies, school advisory councils, and other quasi-legislative arenas,
helping adults decide matters of direct importance to young people. 64 Going beyond mere
tokenism, 65 this participation is often authentic and impactful. Two recent, inspiring examples –
the environmental movement known as Zero Hour66 and the gun control activism of March for
58 Model Act Governing the Representation of Child. in Abuse, Neglect, & Dependency Proc. § 7(b)( 3) at 5 (Am. Bar
59 Erik S. Pitchal, Where Are All the Children? Increasing Youth Participation in Dependency Cases, 12 U.C. DAVIS
J. JUV. L. & POL’Y 233 (2008); Andrea Khoury, With Me, Not Without Me: How to Involve Children in Court, 26 ABA
CHILD L. PRAC. 129 (2007).
60 Barbara Bennett Woodhouse, The Courage of Innocence: Children as Heroes in the Struggle for Justice, U. ILL. L.
REV. 1567, 1570–72 (2009).
61 Brown v. Bd. of Educ., 347 U.S. 483, 486 (1954).
62 Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Cmty. Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503 (1969).
63 Safford Unified Sch. Dist. No. 1 v. Redding, 557 U.S. 364 (2009).
64 Two noteworthy examples come from South Africa and Wales, respectively. The post-apartheid constitution in
South Africa guarantees children the right to be cared for by a parent or other adult, social services, and protection
from abuse and maltreatment, but for many years Parliament did not enact implementing legislation. Starting in 2003,
a group of children aged 11 to 17, assisted by child-serving NGO’s, engaged in various advocacy activities aimed at
drafting and passing a child-centered piece of legislation. Lucy Jamieson & Wanjiru Mukoma Dikwankwetla,
Children in Action: Children’s Participation in the Law Reform Process in South Africa, in A HANDBOOK OF
CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE’S PARTICIPATION: PERSPECTIVES FROM THEORY AND PRACTICE 73 (2010). In Wales,
there are national standards for youth participation in various aspects of civic and public life; the standards themselves
were developed by young people. Anne Crowley & Anna Skeels, Getting the Measure of Children and Young People’s
Participation, in A HANDBOOK OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE’S PARTICIPATION: PERSPECTIVES FROM THEORY
AND PRACTICE 184 (2010).
65 Caitlin Cahill & Roger A. Hart, Re-Thinking the Boundaries of Civic Participation by Children and Youth in North
America, 17 CHILD, YOUTH & ENV’T 213, 218 (2007).
66 See, e.g., Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks, Meet the Teenagers Leading a Climate Change Movement, N. Y. TIMES (July
22, 2018); see also http://www.thisiszerohour.org.