Children's Rights Center Internship
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Educational Objectives

The Joan & Lyle Middleton Center for Children’s Rights seeks to serve as a training center and repository of information and ideas, as well as to provide guidance and advocacy for statutory and procedural changes and advances on subjects related to child welfare and juvenile justice. The objective of this internship is to give students the opportunity to enhance and develop their knowledge of substantive law and theory and kindle a commitment to inquiry that will enable graduates to continue learning through self-teaching (through inquiry, analysis, and reflection) throughout their careers. Interns hone their legal research and writing skills as they research substantive law, digest it, research the legislative or societal intent, and then either reduce it to layman’s terms for informational pamphlets or brochures, prepare teaching modules for training law students, judges, and/or juvenile justice practitioners, or develop statutory or rule changes.

The majority of center intern projects address juvenile justice and child welfare issues that often require a unique appreciation for combining the use of legal and nonlegal approaches. Students will develop an ability to empathize with and understand the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of a child’s or family’s circumstances and, at the same time, begin to identify statues and rules that may prevent the child, family, or court from establishing a permanent safe outcome. This internship should uniquely cause students to consider the ethical, professional, and moral consequences of his or her approaches to child welfare problem solving. Students will also become keenly aware of how their own values impact their analysis and consequent resolution of issues addressed in relation to various child welfare situations and institutions.

Many of the projects require an analysis of the legal and social issues that relate to child welfare. Students are required to analyze and evaluate existing law or juvenile justice systems, rules, and statutes and to draw appropriate conclusions. Students are also required to develop a sufficient grasp of the issues and, through the development and utilization of critical thinking strategies, evaluate existing law or policies or propose new legislation or policies in support of better outcomes for children in the justice or welfare system. Because this placement is “in-house,” the supervising faculty member develops the methods and objectives of the internship and communicates these to the students in person at the beginning and throughout the internship.

Faculty Supervisor 

Associate Professor Jerry Foxhoven

Field-Placement Supervisors 

In this “in-house” internship, the field supervisor and the faculty supervisor are one and the same. The supervising attorney is Professor Jerry Foxhoven, Executive Director of the Drake Legal Clinic at the Drake University Law School. The clinic is located at Neal & Bea Smith Law Center, 2400 University Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50311. Foxhoven’s phone number is: (515) 271-2073.


Prerequisites are completion of three semesters of law school and faculty/supervisor approval.

Last Modified: 1/17/2012 1:53:00 PM by Megan Flynn