Stephen Dixon, Of Counsel at Children’s Rights and part of the team challenging the constitutionality of Texas’s foster care system in M.D. v. Abbott, visited the Law School November 7 as the fall Lives in the Law speaker. He gave a formal talk, entitled “Advocating for Children in the Texas Foster Care System: Substantive Due Process and the Right to Healthy Childhood Development,” before a large audience in the Eidman Courtroom, met informally with students, and visited a class of the Civil Rights Clinic.
Children’s Rights is a national advocacy organization based in New York City that defends the rights of children in foster care. Dixon joined Children’s Rights in July 2009. Prior to that, he was the section chief in juvenile court for the Office of Public Defender in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In that capacity, he represented hundreds of youth in both child welfare and delinquency proceedings. He was a co-founder of the Juvenile Law Clinic at the Louisiana State University Law Center and was lead counsel in In Re C.B., a landmark Louisiana Supreme Court case on the right to treatment for youth in custody and the right to trial by jury for youth at risk of being placed at hard labor. He also served a member of the Louisiana Law Institute’s Children’s Code Committee, contributing to legislative reform both within the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
The “Lives in the Law” speaker series focuses on the work and lives of lawyers who strive to improve the lives of others through litigation, advocacy and public service, and is cosponsored by the William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law and the Texas Law Career Services Office.