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Certificate in Children Studies

In April 2003, The Ohio State University approved the creation of a new Certificate in Children Studies at the Michael E. Moritz College of Law. The Moritz College of Law is the only top-fifty law school in the country to offer a specialized certificate in children studies.

A Certificate in Children Studies, like other certificate programs, offers some distinct advantages to law students in terms of immersion in a specialty, resume enhancement, and the possible advantages in job placement.

The American Bar Association also has urged law schools to expose law students to children's legal issues by developing curricular offerings and training programs that provide opportunities to represent children and to encourage law graduates to specialize in the representation of low-income and minority children and their families. Moreover, the ABA has recognized the importance of and need for holistic child representation.

There also is considerable movement within the legal profession to require that courts and bar associations certify lawyers to represent children. The National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC), for example, has developed a Juvenile Law Certification Program designed to improve the quality of representation of children and to enhance the status and recognition of attorneys working in juvenile law.

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Certificate Requirements

To obtain the Certificate, law students must complete 20 hours of specialized course work in addition to completing the requirements for the J.D. degree. The required course work includes 10 semester hours in three core Children Studies courses: Children and the Law (3 credit hours), Family Law (3 credit hours), and the Justice for Children Practicum (4 credit hours).

Students also need to complete an additional five semester hours in related courses offered at the Moritz College of Law that have been approved by the Director of the Justice for Children Project and the Academic Affairs Committee.

Lastly, students would be required to take an additional five semester hours in graduate-level courses offered at The Ohio State University. The University has particularly rich offerings in related areas, providing students with a critical interdisciplinary understanding of the many problems faced by children and their families.

Students successfully completing the Certificate will receive a notation on their law school transcripts and special recognition at graduation.

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