Our Mission is to prepare and mobilize lawyers, in partnership with other professionals, to pursue justice and equity and achieve health and well-being for New Mexico’s most vulnerable children and families.
We envision a just and equitable New Mexico in which all children are safe, healthy, and educated, and can build on the strength of their families and communities to thrive.
We believe in:
Attorney Engagement. With the necessary training and opportunities, attorneys help transform the lives of vulnerable children and families through individual representation and systemic change that improves the social determinants of health.
High Quality, Holistic Advocacy. Vulnerable children and families are best served by a legal workforce that reflects New Mexico’s diversity and provides high quality legal and systemic advocacy that is holistic, multi-disciplinary, trauma-informed, culturally competent, and responsive to community- and client-defined needs.
Strengths Based Advocacy and Representation. High quality legal and systemic advocacy on behalf of vulnerable children and families must be informed by the strengths, expertise, resiliency, and holistic needs of those children and families.
Shared Responsibility. Professionals from multiple disciplines share responsibility for vulnerable children and families and are most effective when they collaborate and understand the social determinants of health and well-being.
Equity and Justice. New Mexican children and families marginalized by race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic or other status face critical disparities and higher risk for poor outcomes and need access to justice in order to achieve health and equity and to thrive.
Our History & Our Name
The Center was originally established as the Corinne Wolfe Children’s Law Center at the Institute of Public Law, University of New Mexico School of Law, by the New Mexico Supreme Court Foster Care Task Force (now the Children’s Court Improvement Commission) to increase the effectiveness of judicial proceedings under the Children’s Code by providing law-focused, interdisciplinary training, educational resources, and technical assistance to the professionals and volunteers who participate in them.
We changed our name in 2016 to better reflect our vision and our work, which has always focused on improving justice and outcomes for children and families. By expanding the name from “children’s law” to “child and family justice” we broaden our scope to address lawyering activities in Children’s Court and other venues. This expansion will allow us to provide training and education activities on preventative lawyering that addresses health harming legal needs (including policy advocacy and lawyering in related areas of the law, such as housing, income security, health care, domestic violence, and education). We believe that preventative, holistic lawyering will help keep children and families out of costly systems like the child welfare, juvenile justice, and behavioral health systems.
The Center is named in honor of Corinne Wolfe, an original member of the Task Force and a lifelong advocate for children. Corinne was instrumental in developing social work programs at New Mexico Highlands University, the College of Santa Fe, and New Mexico State University. She was honored as the 1986 Social Worker of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers and in 1993 she was elected an NASW Social Work Pioneer. Corinne died in September 1997. For more information about Corinne Wolfe, click here.
The CWC does not provide legal services (advice or representation) to individuals.