Spinak, a renowned advocate of family law and child welfare, is among 15 appointees from a diverse set of backgrounds charged with assessing whether ACS and its providers are responding to the needs and protecting the rights of young people involved in juvenile justice programs. The JJOB will have access to detention and placement sites to monitor and assess operations to make recommendations, and will issue an annual public summary report of their findings. Board members will serve a term of one to two years beginning this month.
A member of the Columbia Law School faculty since 1982, Spinak served as director of clinical education from 2001 to 2006. She is co-founder of the Child Advocacy Clinic, which currently represents adolescents aging out of foster care, and founding chair of the board of the Center for Family Representation, an advocacy and policy organization dedicated to ensuring the procedural and substantive rights of parents in child-welfare proceedings. Spinak is a member of the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children, and has served on numerous task forces addressing the needs and rights of children and families.
Over the years, Spinak has helped change public policy, formed innovative advocacy organizations, and inspired students to make public interest law part of their future careers. This past spring, the Law School honored three decades of service by Spinak’s Child Advocacy Clinic and its spinoffs—the Family Advocacy and the Prisoners and Families Clinics.
# # #
Columbia Law School, founded in 1858, stands at the forefront of legal education and of the law in a global society. Columbia Law School combines traditional strengths in corporate law and financial regulation, international and comparative law, property, contracts, constitutional law, and administrative law with pioneering work in intellectual property, digital technology, tax law and policy, national security, human rights, sexuality and gender, and environmental law.