Child Advocacy Unit

Promoting Dignity, Social Justice and Better Outcomes for Children 

The Child Advocacy Unit (CAU) was created in 1974 and contracts with the City of Philadelphia to represent children. The children we represent:

  • Are resilient, funny, smart, unique and thoughtful individuals
  • May have experienced neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or abandonment.
  • Range in age from infancy to 21 years old.
  • Can be heard in specialty courts such as Crossover Court or Wrap Court

Our clients are represented by an attorney and social worker team who work together throughout the life of a case to:

  • Protect the child’s legal rights;
  • Advocate for their best interest; and
  • Promote permanency, stability, well-being, and positive outcomes

Child Advocate Attorneys complete independent assessments of dependency cases and advocate in court for the delivery of services to our clients and their families.

Child Advocate Social Workers assess a child’s emotional, social, physical, and educational needs.

The assigned CAU Attorney and Social Worker:

  • Review the dependency petition
  • Meet with the client
  • Develop a theory of the case
  • Identify & prepare witnesses
  • Review documents & prepare exhibits
  • Research & write legal memoranda
  • Prepare social work assessments & recommendations
  • Litigate the case in court
  • Provide legal and social work recommendations to the court

We are guided by the principles and ethics of the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law, the Juvenile Act, and the Adoption and Safe Families Act.

Connect with the Child Advocacy Unit

Mimi Laver, CAU Chief 

Beth Kahn, CAU Attorney Training

Sharene Ginyard, CAU Recruitment