Karen is an outgoing, funny teenager. She started at a new high school last month and, like many girls her age, decided to go out for the cheerleading squad. However, unlike many other girls, Karen lives in a foster home.
She soon learned that the school fee for cheerleading uniforms and other related expenses was more than $600. She did not have the money, and it looked to her as if she would not be able to join her friends on the squad. Her foster parents, her case worker, and her school’s cheerleading coach all wanted to help her, but no one knew where to turn.
Jeff, a Children’s Law Center attorney and Karen’s guardian ad litem, had once told her to call him if she needed anything. She decided to take him up on that offer.
Luckily, Jeff knew about a law requiring schools to waive all fees for students in out-of-home placements such as foster care. The purpose of this law is to ensure that students living in foster care, like Karen, can participate fully in all in-school or extracurricular activities. Jeff called Karen’s principal, explained the situation and advocated for Karen with this relatively new law. That was all it took to get the fees waived and to get Karen to her first cheerleading practice.
At the Children’s Law Center, attorneys work not only to protect the health and safety of their clients, but also to ensure that their day-to-day lives are as positive and fulfilling as possible. Sometimes it takes an attorney to fully understand the rights and entitlements of children in the child protection system. Cheerleading may seem like a little thing, but to Karen, it meant the world.