Columbia Law School Professor Jane M. Spinak Appointed to New Juvenile Justice Oversight Board

Independent Board Will Oversee the Rights, Safety, and Well-Being of Detained Youth

New York, September 12, 2013—Jane M. Spinak, the Edward Ross Aranow Clinical Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, has been appointed to the new Juvenile Justice Oversight Board (JJOB), an independent group that will oversee the welfare of youth detained by New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS).

Professor Jane M. Spinak
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.