Foster Care Update: Jenie Chang

Jenie Chang serves as the county liaison for Imperial, Solano, and Sonoma Counties. She has been an attorney with the AOC Center for Families, Children & the Courts since June 2007. Before joining the AOC, she was a staff attorney for Legal Aid of Marin, where she represented parents and children in juvenile dependency proceedings. She was also the assistant dean at New College of California School of Law and taught legal analysis. At UC Berkeley, she was a lecturer for an undergraduate class, Asian Americans and the Law. Ms. Chang is a child welfare law specialist, certified by the National Association of Counsel for Children. She received her law degree from the New College of California School of Law, and her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Davis. In her spare time she and her husband, along with their toddler, enjoy leading nature walks and hikes as trip leaders for Greenbelt Alliance and as docents for Muir Woods National Park.

Jenie loves working with the local foster care commissions. "Through my work with the local commissions, I get a glimpse of innovative programs, protocols, and practices that demonstrate the great commitment that each county has to making life better for the children and families that come into the child welfare system," she stated. "Hands down, the success I am seeing in each of these counties is due to the work of the really great people in the counties who serve on the commission. I am constantly learning something new from each county. It is infinitely interesting and informative to learn about how each county chooses to address the myriad of issues they face-and always with the goal of ultimately making things better for the children and families they work with. My work with the counties keeps life interesting.

Jenie's first experience with the AOC was as a law student intern. "I witnessed firsthand the work and commitment of the staff as they strove to improve the quality of services and the experiences of our state's children and families making their way through the court system. It was an eye-opening, formative experience that directly propelled me into my work in juvenile law."

Back at the AOC after representing parents and children in juvenile dependency cases in Marin, Jenie is convinced that her hands-on experience as a practicing attorney gives her a real sense of connection to the day-to-day realities facing each of the local commissions. Jenie describes her commitment to the work before her: "As the mom of a toddler, the urgency of our work strikes me. I watch how quickly children grow. The fleeting nature of childhood leaves no time to be wasted."

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