Our impact over the last 25 years improved conditions and changed lives for Connecticut’s most at-risk children and youth. CCA protects and promotes the legal rights of Connecticut’s low-income children and youth so they have equitable opportunities for good health, a quality education and a successful transition to adulthood.

25 Years of Growth

1997: The Center for Children’s Advocacy founded at UConn Law School in Hartford
  • 1997: Represented plaintiffs in Sheff v. O’Neill, Connecticut’s educational equity case, and in ensuing years dramatically increased Hartford children’s access to high quality, integrated schools.
  • 2000: Began Medical-Legal Partnership Project, the second in the United States.
  • 2005-2007: Led redesign of the state’s system for runaways and truants, transforming it from a punitive to a treatment model.
  • 2007: Secured passage of “Raise the Age” law that raised the age for juvenile court jurisdiction from 16 to 18.
  • 2008: Expanded CCA to Fairfield County, opening an office in Bridgeport.
  • 2010: Secured passage of the CT Homeless Youth Act and began co-chairing the Homeless Youth Workgroup of Opening Doors-CT.
  • 2011: Established Racial and Ethnic Disparities (RED) Reduction Committees in Hartford and Bridgeport, leading government stakeholders in implementing reforms.
  • 2012-2014: Led the overhaul of the state’s alternative school system to create equity in education resources.
  • 2013: Expanded Medical-Legal Partnership Project to Yale New Haven Hospital.
  • 2014: Established Racial and Ethnic Disparities (RED) Reduction Committee in Waterbury, implementing reforms to reduce RED in school discipline and juvenile justice.
  • 2015: Launched a Mobile Legal Office to reach homeless youth.
  • 2016: Partnered with Connecticut U.S. Attorney’s Office to educate camps and afterschool programs about their responsibilities to ensure that children with disabilities can participate
  • 2019: Began innovative reentry legal services model that reaches youth inside facilities before reentry to prevent reentry problems.
  • 2020: Opened Medical-Legal Partnership at the Yale Child Study Center, the first behavioral health MLP in the country.
  • 2021: Secured passage of legislation that guarantees free phone calls home for all incarcerated people, making Connecticut the first state in the nation to do so.
  • 2022: Secured court approved Settlement Agreement in Sheff v. O’Neill that guarantees every Black and Latine student from Hartford who wants to attend a high-quality integrated school can.
  • 2023: Secured passage of the third piece of legislation that expands HUSKY health insurance to immigrant children up through age 15, regardless of immigration status.

Our Impact in 2023

CCA provided 1,082 children with legal information for legal services
Former client Kiandra and mom, Donna-Lee

Donna-Lee R., mother of CCA client, Kiandra

“It was like a peace of mind. You know they just go about things and they advocate for kids with disabilities to get every service the right way and to get everything that they deserve and that they should have.”

Helped 112 families by significantly reducing their wait for affordable housing

Helped 244 children by providing legal advice to their health care or social service providers

Served children in 86 different towns in all 8 counties in Connecticut

CCA helped 17 youth facilities implement restorative justice practices
Restorative Justice Project Director, Dr John Ducksworth conducting a RJ training with the Waterbury Police Department


“CCA is there for you at all times… they gave us hope that there’s
somebody out there that really cares.”

Advocated for children by providing more than 85 legal trainings attended by over 1,200 community professionals

Supported pro bono attorneys
representing 57 children and youth in immigration matters

Children from the Ana Grace Academy of the Arts, one of the 41 magnet schools that were created in Greater Hartford as a result of the Sheff v. O’Neill school desegregation case that CCA and others brought to ensure educational equity, rehearsing to perform at Spring for Kids 2023.


“…I am so grateful for your hard work on behalf of thousands
of children – clients and those who have benefitted from your systems
work – and so very privileged to be partnering with you.”
CCA’s Systemic Advocacy Transformed children’s legal landscape and expanded their pipeline of advocates
  • Helped nearly 6,000 children get health insurance coverage under HUSKY who would have otherwise been ineligible due to their immigration status
  • Launched a national advocacy campaign. Parents in 40 states were inspired by the complaints CCA filed with the U.S. Department of Justice against four Connecticut school districts for their failure to provide appropriate oversight of children with diabetes and/or comply with physicians’ orders.
  • Passed a new School Climate Bill requiring the State Department of Education and state and local Boards of Education to take specific steps that will improve the quality of school life and relationships within a school, to improve students’ social, emotional and physical safety, reduce students’ absenteeism, and create an environment where all students have opportunities to learn.
  • Increased legal representation for youth aging-out of foster care. CCA’s advocacy leveraged an annual budgetary commitment of $250,000 from the CT Legislature to continue to fund attorneys for youth who turn 18 and remain in foster care. Legal representation for youth “aging out” of DCF care is critical to ensure youth can access stable housing, education, physical and behavioral health care, and income to meet their basic needs.