The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights invites applications for the position of Managing Attorney to be based in San Antonio. The Young Center’s mission is to promote the best interests—safety and well-being—of unaccompanied immigrant children in the United States. The Young Center is a children’s rights organization dedicated to bringing a holistic child welfare lens to children in the immigration system. The immediate focus of the Young Center’s work is to serve as federally-appointed Child Advocate (best interests guardian ad litem) for unaccompanied immigrant children. The Young Center also conducts policy advocacy at the federal level, advocating for reform of the immigrant justice system, in which children are treated as adults, into a justice system that recognizes children as children, with rights and protection needs all their own.
The Managing Attorney will supervise five staff in the San Antonio office: two Staff Attorneys, a Social Work Staff, a Volunteer Coordinator, and a Case Support Specialist. In that capacity, the Managing Attorney will work with program staff to develop advocacy strategies on cases to which the Young Center is appointed as Child Advocate and will review all work product. This position will work closely with the Deputy Program Director to ensure that the office is meeting its case goals and producing high quality work, and that advocacy strategies align with and are consistent with the Child Advocate program’s approach and protocols. This position will be responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with local stakeholders, including ORR Federal Field Specialists, facility staff, legal service providers and immigration judges. This position will oversee the San Antonio volunteer program, including oversight of volunteer recruitment and training. In addition, this position will work closely with the Deputy Program Director to coordinate hiring and training of new staff in San Antonio. The Managing Attorney will work on a small number of cases to learn the role of the Child Advocate and will provide coverage for cases whenever there is a transition of staff.
This position is a unique opportunity to serve as Child Advocate and to supervise a dynamic team engaging in written and oral advocacy on behalf of unaccompanied and separated immigrant children. Young Center attorneys advocate for the best interests of unaccompanied and separated children, applying federal law, domestic child welfare law, and international human rights law, including the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and UNHCR Guidelines for Determining the Best Interests of the Child. The Young Center’s best interests recommendations focus on the child’s safety, permanency and well-being. By way of example, a Child Advocate may recommend that a child: be released from detention and reunified with a parent, be stepped down to a less restrictive setting, or not be repatriated to his/her home country because that child will not be safe. This role is distinct from the attorney for the child; the Young Center does not provide direct representation, but rather advocates for the best interests of unaccompanied and separated children.
The Young Center team is a passionate and interdisciplinary group of professionals—attorneys, social workers, and administrative staff—committed to ensuring that immigrant children are recognized as children, first and foremost, and receive the full protection they deserve under the law, even though they’re caught in an immigration system that often views them as adults-in-miniature.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: The Managing Attorney has the following responsibilities:
- Serve a Child Advocate on cases and provide coverage for cases during staff transitions.
- Supervise the case work of Staff Attorneys, Social Worker, Case Support Specialist and Volunteer Coordinator, including assigning cases, facilitating case rounds and leading staff meetings.
- Assist staff in developing advocacy strategies.
- Review and approve case strategy on all work product, including oral and written best interests recommendations for submission to stakeholders (immigration judges, USCIS, ORR, ICE, etc.).
- Work with Deputy Program Director for Written Advocacy on developing written best interests recommendations.
- Ensure staff meet all case goals under Young Center’s government contract and private grants for the Child Advocate program.
- Supervise the Volunteer Coordinator and oversee volunteer recruitment and training for San Antonio.
- Supervise performance, work flow, and professional development of individual supervisees, including conducting weekly meetings with each report; performing 90-day and annual reviews; and providing feedback and support.
- Assist as needed with site or program grant proposals and drafting of reports to funders, including putting together the first draft of the ORR monthly report.
- With the Deputy Program Director, coordinate hiring and training of attorneys, social workers, and paralegals.
- Develop strategic partnerships in the San Antonio area to support the work of Child Advocates and meet regularly with local stakeholders (ORR Federal Field Specialists, facility directors and other staff, legal service providers).
- Oversee program staff communication and engagement with local stakeholders (e.g., ensure regular meetings to review cases, ongoing presentations to foster referrals).
- Foster a supportive, collaborative work culture, leading and motivating staff to engage in creative, thoughtful, high-quality, and effective advocacy.
- Other duties as assigned.
- Credentials: J.D. and license to practice law in at least one state.
- Language skills: Fluency in Spanish.
- Driver’s license: A valid U.S. driver’s license is required and ability to travel to and from facilities, court and other meetings, as needed.
- Writing skills: Strong writing and editing skills
- Management skills: Able to effectively create and manage a team of attorneys, social workers and support staff, including delegating responsibility, giving positive and negative feedback, making difficult decisions, and managing a team to obtain outcomes
- Ability to manage complex stakeholder relationships: Possesses the skills and temperament to foster relationships with and build alliances among wide range of stakeholders, including facility staff, FFSs, immigration judges, ICE officers, legal service providers.
- Legal advocacy skills: Able to identify case goals, develop advocacy strategies and proactively advocate for a child, utilizing relevant state, federal and international law.
- Child welfare experience: Demonstrated experience approaching cases in a child-centered manner, applying best practices and legal principles from the child welfare system.
- Cultural sensitivity: Applies a culturally sensitive lens to casework.
- Organizational Skills: Strong organizational and time management skills; ability to plan backwards and meet deadlines.
- Experience working with immigrant and refugee children or survivors of abuse, human trafficking, or other traumatic experiences in a trauma-informed way.
- Ability to take initiative, to work collaboratively, and an enthusiasm for working with volunteers.
- Passion, tenacity and optimism for the issues affecting immigrant children and their families.
PHYSICAL DEMANDS: Physical demands include regular attendance; keyboarding; sitting for long periods (at least 5 hours a day); driving. Ability to use computer, telephone, and copy machine. Ability to travel by plane, car and other conveyances within U.S.
The Young Center is an "at-will" and equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices and actively seeks a diverse applicant pool. Young Center encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, or veterans’ status. Reasonable accommodation will be made so that qualified disabled applicants may participate in the application process. Please advise in writing of special needs at the time of application.