CTLN Opinion+: Martha Stone

Founder and Executive Director of Center for Children’s Advocacy on providing resources for children, a voice often overlooked

“One-stop shop” is how Martha Stone intended the Center for Children’s Advocacy to run. Stone, a civil rights attorney, and CCA executive director started the organization with the intent of providing legal resources for children, a voice that is either overlooked or politicized. Her organization provides advocacy in education, health, immigration among other things.

CCA combines three advocacy strategies: individual legal representation; legal rights training for youth, parents, and professionals; and advocacy for system reforms. Organizations like CCA provide services where the systems in place fail. 

During the pandemic, CCA saw the biggest huge disparity in education to communities of lower-income. Since in-person classes ceased in March of last year kids have struggled with connectivity issues and issues with the technology provided. CCA’s mission regarding education is to represent children and youth in Connecticut’s low-income communities and address factors that interfere with their ability to succeed in school. 

In order to reach these communities during the pandemic Stone and CCA have literally taken to the streets in their mobile legal office and meeting with children and guardians in open spaces. The Center for Children’s advocacy has many programs to address a variety of issues, the organization provides advocacy for undocumented immigrant children, a group that is hardly protected by the law and hardly has a voice. 

There is a need for advocates for immigrant children, according to the American Immigrantion Council as of 2018 Connecticut has an immigrant population of over 500,000 people and nearly 28,000 immigrant children. Many children arrive in the country alone leaving dangerous living conditions and other economic, political conflicts. Parents make the sacrifice of sending their child to the United States in the hope of protection and opportunity.   

What they face in the United States is an environment reluctant to help them and often politicized. The CCA helps at-risk children avoid deportation, provides mental aid for those who are traumatized, and support needed to thrive in school and learn English. 

The current system allows immigrant children to be neglected and forgotten instead of protected.

The work that The Center for Children’s Advocacy and Martha Stone are doing is important and so needed in Connecticut. For more information about CCA please refer to the resources provided.   

Resources mentioned in the video: 

CCA works to provide safety and protection for children in legal representation. The attorneys strive to build a relationship with each child so their voice is heard. 

Child Welfare: Abuse and Neglect

As mentioned above the CCA helps at rick children avoid deportation to a dangerous environment and provide health support and educational support. 

Immigration: Immigrant Children’s Justice

The CCA’s Medical-Leagal partnership provide legal intervention for children at risk whether it be from family trauma or health harming stressors. They work to provide low income communities access to healthcare.

Healthcare: Improving Outcomes for Children

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