Children’s Law Center of Minnesota
Often, children who are navigating foster care need a ferocious advocate on their side, particularly if they enter the court system. Weida Allen is always ready to fill that role.
As staff social worker at Children’s Law Center of Minnesota, Allen provides extensive support to the children CLC represents, as well as to volunteer attorneys assigned to provide pro bono legal representation to those clients, who are low-income, disadvantaged children and at-risk youth.
“Not only is she extraordinarily skilled in working with children and youth who have experienced trauma, but she is also highly skilled in working alongside CLC’s volunteer attorneys to provide them with the support they need to represent their client’s express wishes,” retired Judge Gail Chang Bohr, former CLC Director, said in nominating Allen.
Most notably, Allen is key to CLC’s drive for systemic reform. With extensive experience working in child protection in Kentucky, Ohio and Minnesota, she’s uniquely able to understand where changes are needed in the child welfare system, and has been guiding CLC’s efforts in lobbying and policy work so that Minnesota’s children and youth are better served.
“I strongly believe that children need to be represented in the courtroom, that’s what brought me to CLC,” said Allen. “In terms of what I bring to the organization, I have knowledge of how the welfare system works, and I’ve worked not only with victims of child abuse, but also with their perpetrators. I think that makes me a good judge of situations.”
At any given time, CLC is providing representation for around 400 foster children, and Allen cares deeply for each and every one of them. “I truly believe that we need to protect and represent these children,” said Allen. “We need to make sure that their voices are heard in the courtroom.”