Center for Children's Advocacy

Hartford, CT   |  www.cca-ct.org

Mission

The Center for Children’s Advocacy’s mission is to protect and promote the legal rights of low-income children and youth so they have equitable opportunities for good health, a quality education and a successful transition to adulthood. We provide legal representation and advocate for system reforms to ensure children’s basic needs are met and they receive appropriate services from the juvenile justice, education, child welfare, health care and court systems. We have offices in Connecticut's largest and poorest cities, and our mobile office goes directly to youth in communities that need us the most.

Ruling year info

1997

Principal Officer

Martha Stone, JD

Main address

65 Elizabeth Street

Hartford, CT 06105 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

06-1489575

NTEE code info

Civil Rights, Social Action, and Advocacy N.E.C. (R99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Center for Children’s Advocacy, founded in 1997 by civil rights attorney Martha Stone, is a nonprofit law firm that brings legal advocacy and representation from the law office to community sites easily accessible by children and youth. Legal services include education, abuse and neglect, racial justice, access to health and mental health care. CCA attorneys are zealous advocates for children and youth, and provide individual legal representation, legal rights training for youth, parents and professionals, and advocacy for system reforms. Training and systemic advocacy maximize the reach of CCA’s staff to positively impact the lives of children and youth throughout the state. The Center for Children’s Advocacy is the largest children’s legal rights organization in New England.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Child Abuse Project

CCA’s Child Abuse Project provides legal representation to children who have been abused or neglected. Attorneys take time to build a relationship and understand the needs of each child client; they closely monitor each child to ensure that necessary services are provided. Children and youth need legal assistance to assure their safety, access health and mental health services, educational supports, and disability-related services. Unlike attorneys who volunteer to represent children in child abuse cases, CCA provides legal representation in many different legal areas, as necessary.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

The Center provides legal representation to teens and young adults to resolve issues of homelessness, improve educational opportunity, and foster future independence. Complex issues with a legal component
often prevent youth from accessing educational opportunities available; legal intervention can have an enormous, positive impact on educational outcomes. 

The Center's mobile office allows attorneys to travel into the community to provide legal services.  The Center accepts referrals from community agencies, operates a legal clinic on-site at Harding High School in Bridgeport, and provides legal services to youth at shelters, group homes, residential treatment centers and other community sites.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Economically disadvantaged people

The Medical Legal Partnership Project (MLPP) improves child health by teaming CCA attorneys with doctors to increase children’s access to appropriate health care and reduce non-medical factors that contribute to poor health outcomes.

CCA's attorneys are on site at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Yale-New Haven Hospital, Yale Child Study Center, Burgdorf/Bank of America Health Center, and Charter Oak Health Center. MLPP attorneys, doctors and other health care practitioners identify young patients whose health is impacted by non-medical issues, and provide legal consultation and representation needed to address those issues. The MLPP provides representation relating to economic assistance (access to benefits); Medicaid advocacy; appropriate services for children with disabilities; housing conditions; educational rights of children who are disabled.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Reducing Juvenile Justice Involvement and Improving Educational Opportunities
Many juvenile offenders struggle with undiagnosed, untreated mental illness and unsupported educational disabilities. CCA attorneys intervene to access appropriate services to help youth succeed in school and look forward to a secure future.

CCA helps with educational support, special education needs, school discipline issues and access to mental health care, addressing the underlying causes of a delinquency. CCA provides legal representation to court-involved youth, helping with access to critical and legally mandated educational, mental health
and other social services to minimize involvement with the juvenile justice system. 

Proven successes include a higher rate of successful school re-entry, better access to necessary mental health services, more community-based dispositions, higher rate of successful completion of probation, and lower recidivism.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

CCA's Racial Justice Project protects the civil rights of youth of color who are subjected to policies and practices that lead to racial inequities in education, school discipline, treatment by the juvenile justice system and access to behavioral health services. CCA provides legal services to youth subjected to harsh and unequal school discipline, illegal school push-out and unconstitutional targeting by law enforcement.

CCA represents Hartford children in the Sheff v. O’Neill educational equity lawsuit; implements a restorative justice program inside secure juvenile and criminal justice facilities; and co-chairs Racial and Ethnic Disparities (RED) Committees in Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, Waterbury, Hamden and Norwalk, where stakeholders identify and reform policies and practices that result in youth of color being treated more harshly by the juvenile justice system.

Population(s) Served
People of African descent
People of Latin American descent

Where we work

Awards

Access to Justice Award 2022

New Haven Legal Assistance Association

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of children served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Economically disadvantaged people, At-risk youth

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of children receiving assistance with important legal documents

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of low-income households who have received utilities assistance

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Medical-Legal Partnership

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Number of attorney volunteers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, At-risk youth, Undocumented immigrants, Extremely poor people, Low-income people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of training events conducted

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Economically disadvantaged people, At-risk youth

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of policies formally established

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, People of African descent, People of Latin American descent, Multiracial people, At-risk youth

Related Program

Racial Justice

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of organizations signing onto policy guidelines or proposals

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Multiracial people, People of African descent, People of Latin American descent, At-risk youth

Related Program

Racial Justice

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Increasing

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

1. Reduce racial disparities in education, health outcomes and contact with the juvenile justice system.

2. Improve access to critical educational, health, mental health, and other services for under-served children.

2. Reduce social and environmental issues that impact education, health, mental health and well-being.

Outreach to underserved children and families at schools, health care facilities and other community sites.

Legal representation and advocacy for children in Connecticut's poorest cities.

Legal rights seminars and informational materials for youth, parents and professionals.

Advocacy with state and local agencies and the state legislature for improvements to Connecticut's education, juvenile justice, child welfare and health care systems.

The Center for Children's Advocacy is the only organization in Connecticut with expertise in many different areas of law affecting poor children, including juvenile justice and failing urban school systems.

The Center's innovative model, which blends individual representation with advocacy for systems reform, strengthens the organization's statewide impact.

The experiences of individual child clients illuminate systemic problems and inform proposed solutions to those systemic problems.

The Center is one of the only outside advocates with membership on State and local committees charged with designing and implementing child protection, education and juvenile justice system services.

Unlike the Judicial Department and state agencies, which are balancing many competing interests, and unlike community providers, whose advocacy can be hesitant due to receipt of state funding, the Center's only concern is the children and youth.

As a private non-profit organization, the Center is free to advocate zealously for systemic improvements, and often leads committees toward progressive, effective solutions that rely on evidence-based practices.

During the last three years, of the individual children represented because they lacked access to appropriate educational services, 83-88% accessed appropriate educational services following the Center's representation.

Of the individual children represented because they were experiencing environmental or social issues that were interfering with their education, health or mental health, 84-90% had improvement following the Center's representation.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    CCA serves low-income children and youth, primarily those aged 0 through 21. Some of CCA’s projects serve youth up to 24 years of age. Approximately 47% of children and youth served are Latinx, 43% Black, 5% multiracial, and 5% White. Last year 52% were male, 47% were female and 1% were transgender or nonbinary. More than half of the children and youth CCA serves have a physical, mental or emotional disability or a chronic physical, mental or behavioral health condition. The vast majority live in Connecticut’s largest, most under-resourced cities. CCA also serves health care, social service and other professionals who work with low-income youth, by educating them about children's legal rights and how they can advocate for children they serve.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To inform the development of new programs/projects, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    CCA conducted structured individual interviews with justice-involved youth about their experiences reentering communities from confinement and the barriers encountered to successful reentry. The youth talked about how important it was to maintain relationships with family during their confinement, but that the prohibitive cost of phone calls from correctional facilities had prevented the youth from maintaining regular contact with family. CCA responded to this feedback by expanding its 2020 legislative agenda to include leading an advocacy effort to make phone calls to family from incarcerated youth free for the youth and their families, and successfully advocated for passage of a new law that guaranteed free phone calls to family from incarcerated youth.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    One of CCA’s programs, Speak Up, supports youth-led advocacy for social change. At one of the group feedback sessions, youth said they needed better supports to enable them to participate fully in the advocacy activities, including increased pay delivered on a faster timeline, and transportation provided to meetings and events. CCA increased the amount of the youth stipends and changed the payment delivery mechanism, and created a budgeted amount of funding to support transportation costs as needed by the youth.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

Center for Children's Advocacy
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Center for Children's Advocacy

Board of directors
as of 06/27/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Claude Mayo

Quinnipiac University

Term: 2023 - 2020

Kathryn Emmett, JD

Emmett & Glander

Claude Mayo

Goodwin College

Charleen Agosto

Jose Antonio Pol & Associates

Barbara Hennessy

Aetna

Vinny LaRocca

Innovative Network Solutions

Mario Borelli

Leone Throwe Teller & Nagle

Scott Murphy

Shipman and Goodwin

Kathryn Boucher

Loke Lord

Reginald Harwell

Stuart Warner

Jaria Aljoe

University of Bridgeport

Douglas Colosky

Beazley Insurance Co.

Laura Ann Froning

Wiggin and Dana

Stephane Kirven

University of Bridgeport

Tadeo Rodriguez

People's United Bank

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 5/18/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female
Sexual orientation
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/18/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.