215 W. Short St., Ste. 205
Lexington KY 40507
Contact Information
Address 215 W. Short St., Ste. 205
Lexington, KY 40507
Phone (859) 253-3353
Fax 859 655-7553
Contact Name John Vissman
At A Glance
IRS Ruling Year 2007
Other ways to donate, support, or volunteer

Donations are also accepted by check, credit card, telephone 859-431-3313, PayPal and bequests and other planned gifts.

Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses - All Years
Expense Breakdown - Recent Year
Mission Statement

Children's Law Center, Inc. (CLC) is a unique non-profit legal service center protecting the rights of children and youth to help them overcome barriers and transition into adulthood, better self-advocate for their needs, and successfully contribute to society. It provides individual legal advocacy to children and youth, and through public policy work, training and education, impact litigation, and juvenile defender support services, seeks to improve the systems that serve them. CLC offers services in both Kentucky and Ohio, and collaborates with other organizations within the region and nationally on a variety of topics. There are no client fees for our services.

Background Statement

Children’s Law Center was created in 1989 in Newport, Kentucky. Our work began in Kentucky, and expanded to systemic reforms in Ohio in 2003. In 2009, CLC expanded its operations adding a branch office in Lexington, Kentucky to better serve children in other portions of the Commonwealth including Louisville. In 2011, CLC expanded its work at the Covington, Kentucky office with the addition of the Children’s Law Clinic at Salmon P. Chase College of Law, now housed in CLC’s newly renovated third floor. In 2013, CLC received funding to expand its direct service Education Advocacy program for children in Louisville, Kentucky with a branch office there.

Impact Statement
In all of its direct service areas, in 2015 CLC served 476 children, of which 130 were in Lexington, KY, in 2014 CLC served 510 children, of which 134 were in Lexington. In 2013, CLC served 482 children, of which 118 were in Lexington, in 2012 CLC served 526 children providing legal representation regarding education rights to 229 children in our service area; 139 in Northern Kentucky, 90 in the Lexington area, and CLC served as guardian ad litem for 289 children in custody cases and serving 8 children who were victims of crime. CLC provided legal representation services to a total of 505 child/youth clients in 2011 and served a total of 442 child/youth clients in 2010. The Children’s Law Center does not charge any legal fees to the children it represents.
Needs Statement
1) Full time regular attorney position added in The Center's Lexington office to provide direct services to children and youth (FTE at $60,000 with benefits)
2) Expanded office support in Lexington with additional computers and additional furnishings. (estimated at $5000 - 6000)
3) Paid internships from law and/or social work to assist in Central Kentucky
4) Volunteer Board Members from Central Kentucky area.
CEO/Executive Director Statement
The Children's Law Center has played a significant role in juvenile justice, child welfare and education law in Kentucky since 1989.  It's small but experienced staff have been widely recognized across the state and nationally for their work in the field.  I have been privileged to lead this organization since its inception in 1989 and to see its growth financially, and in terms of overall impact across the state.  The opening of a Lexington office 4 years ago has helped to increase statewide focus and to provide much needed resources for legal representation to the Central Kentucky area.  It is important that we continue to maximize our limited resources for greatest impact.  The presence of this office allows us to serve many more youth and to expand our presence with policy leaders and executive branch agencies. 
The Children's Law Center has a strong track record of success in making impact that can positively improve the lives of children who are in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, as well as others who need protection or have issues relative to receiving an appropriate education.  Our many partners across the state significantly enhance our capacity to make change, and help bring a united front to needed reforms.
Board Chair Statement

The Children’s Law Center’s core mission is to help the most vulnerable in our communities, i.e. children. Through legal representation and advocacy efforts, the CLC seeks to insure that our children have a voice in the legal and criminal justice system.

I first became involved in the CLC when I observed first hand their efforts at securing the rights of children. Since its founding 25 years ago the CLC has been a tireless champion of children. Through the CLC’s efforts many children in Kentucky and Ohio have had their rights restored, whether in the criminal justice system or in our schools.

I am proud to be associated with the CLC, few other organizations fight as hard as the CLC staff does every day to help those who often have no voice of their own.

Service Categories
Secondary Organization Category Human Services / Children's and Youth Services
Tertiary Organization Category Education / Alliances & Advocacy
Geographic Areas Served
Our constituents are generally school-aged children under the age of 18 who have unmet legal needs primarily in the areas of juvenile justice, child protection, and/or education.  The majority of our clients are poor, disabled, abused and/or neglected, or otherwise disadvantaged.  As we are located in Covington, Lexington and Louisville we tend to service those counties closest to these areas of the Commonwealth but we do have clients throughout the Commonwealth.  We are also engaged in policy work and training and education programs that have statewide impact.
Impact Questions
GoalsHelpWhat is the organization aiming to accomplish? This is the organization's ultimate goal for intended impact.

Organization Goals

1) All children are entitled to obtain a free and appropriate public education.

2) All children and youth should be afforded a safe permanent home using a continuum of services and the least restrictive alternative appropriate to meet their needs.

3) Youth in the juvenile justice system should receive fair and equitable treatment with due process rights afforded to them at every stage, access to quality representation, and individualized strength-based services.


In 2015 Children’s Law Center served 476 children including 130 Lexington area children, in 2014 CLC served 510 children including 128 Lexington area children, in 2013 CLC served 482 children including 118 Lexington area children and in 2012 CLC served 526 children including 90 in the Lexington area.


StrategiesHelpWhat are the organization's strategies for its stated long-term goals?

A Holistic Approach to Legal Representation and Advocacy

 Children's Law Center, Inc. (CLC) is a unique non-profit legal service center protecting the rights of children and youth to help them overcome barriers and transition into adulthood, better self-advocate for their needs, and successfully contribute to society. Through our holistic approach to individual representation, CLC recognizes the challenges our child clients face. Facing these challenges result in our child clients’ involvement in varies legal and other systems. These system involvements call for legal advocacy to protect our child clients’ rights in order for them to achieve better outcomes:

Client challenges:                                                                          

·         Poverty

·         Childhood Maltreatment

·         Inequitable Treatment

·         Lack of Viable Family Support    

Which result in systems involvement:

·         Family, Juvenile, and Criminal Justice Systems

·         Child Welfare System

·         Disruption to Education Process               

·         Mental health system                                                                                                                                                                   

This calls for legal advocacy to protect children’s rights so they may achieve better outcomes:

·         Economic Opportunities

·         Safety and Wellbeing Factors

·         Education Opportunities

·         Stable and Supportive Living Situation

·         Self-advocacy

IndicatorsHelpHow will the organization know if it is making progress? What are the key qualitative and quantitative indicators against which the organization assesses its progress toward its intended impact?

Children’s Law Center has a history of providing legal representation and education advocacy to children in order to resolve conflicts, improve child wellbeing, and decreasing problem behaviors. Previous statistics maintained by Children’s Law Center indicate that more than 80% of children show improvement in these areas through our intervention. 89% of our clients experience positive legal outcomes.

Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Joseph Nava Esq.
Company Affiliation Nava Law LLC
Term May 2016 to May 2018
Board Members
Ms. Jennifer Anstaett Esq.Wood & Lamping LLPVoting
Mr. J. David Bender Esq.Attorney at LawVoting
Mr. Donald Benzinger Esq.Bank of KentuckyVoting
Ms. Jennifer Branch Esq.Gearhardstein & Branh Co. LPAVoting
Mr. Marcus Coleman Esq.Attorney at LawVoting
Mr. James R. Cummins Esq.Cummins Law LLC
Mr. Rocco D'Ascenzo Esq.Duke EneregyVoting
Ms. Brooke Hiltz Esq.University of Cincinnati Law SchoolVoting
Ms. Jennifer Lawrence Esq.The Lawrence FirmVoting
Ms. Carla Loon Leader Esq.Attorney at LawVoting
Ms. Kerrie Martin Johnson & JohnsonVoting
Mr. Kenyon Meyer Esq.Dinsmore & Shohl LLPVoting
Mr. Brian Morris Esq.Taft Stettinius & HollisterVoting
Mr. Joseph Nava Esq.Nava Law LLC
Mr. Dave Nienaber Foster & MotleyVoting
Mr. Eddie Oestreicher Ph.DThomas More CollegeVoting
Ms. Mikaela R. Patton Esq.Procter & Gamble Co.
Mr. Jamie M. Ramsey Esq.Keating, Muething & KlekampVoting
Mr. Alexandre Regina PricewatersCoopers, LLP
Ms. Louise Roselle Esq.Markovits, Stock & DeMarco LLCVoting
Mr. Lowell Schechter Esq.Salmon P. Chase College of LawVoting
Ms. Rhonda Schechter Esq.Frost Brown Todd, LLC
Mr. Jonathan Thornberry Baird Wealth ManagementVoting
Ms. Rachel Votruba Community VolunteerVoting
Ms. Lauren Wells PNC Wealth Management
Mr. Michael Whiteman Salmon P. Chase College of Law
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 3
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 26
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 16
Female 14
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 55%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Under Development
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 93%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 45%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Program / Program Planning
Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction
CEO Comments
We have an excellent board which is actively engaged in governance of the organization.  There is a good mix of disciplines represented on the Board, as well as diversity by race, gender, ethnicity and geography.   We struggle to find ways to get more geographic diversity given the distances involved in our service area. 
The board has a mix of individuals with organizational history as well as those that provide new and fresh ideas and direction to the organization.    
CEO/Executive Director
Executive Director Ms. Acena Beck Esq.
Term Start Nov 2015

 Acena beck is the Executive Director of the Children’s Law Center in Covington, Kentucky. The Center was established in 1989 to protect the legal rights of children in Kentucky through direct representation, research and policy development, and training and education. She previously served as Managing Attorney and Deputy Director. Acena has extensive experience in family law and has represented clients in private practice and the non-profit sector. Acena is licensed to practice law in state and federal courts in Kentucky.

At CLC, Acena represents youth on a variety of legal issues that affect children. She also supervises and coordinates the student program, and oversees administrative functions at the Center.

Acena earned a B.A. magna cum lade from Morehead State University, and a J.D. from Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law. She is active in the Northern Kentucky Bar Association, currently serving as Co-Chair of the Family Law Section, and the Kentucky Bar Association. In 2014, she was appointed to the Kentucky Access to Justice Commission for a three year term.

Full Time Staff 9
Part Time Staff 2
Volunteers 45
Contractors 2
Retention Rate 175%
Management Reports to Board? Yes
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 10
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 2
Female 9
Unspecified 0
Former CEOs
Ms. Kim Brooks Tandy Esq.May 1989 - June 2017
Senior Staff
Title Managing Attorney-Lexington Office
Title Litigation & Policy Director
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
NonManagement Formal Evaluation Yes
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually

Through our holistic approach to individual representation, CLC identifies factors placing our clients at risk & which contribute to the legal issues bringing them through our doors. Frequently, they are involved in:

• Juvenile or Criminal Justice system (due process, incarceration issues, civil rights)

• Family Court (protection from harm, custody)

• Child Welfare system (homelessness, access to education & other services)

• Child Victims (the child is the victim/witness of crime)

• Mental Health system (unmet mental health needs)

• Education systems not meeting needs (enrollment, attendance, disability, discipline)

• Youth in Transition (youth transition into communities after out of home placements)

We ensure fundamental rights are upheld, while working toward positive life outcomes to improve economic stability, achieve mental & physical wellbeing, further education, & connect youth with family/community. Helping youth self-advocate helps them transition into adulthood.

Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years), ,
Program Long term Success
-Representation of more than 500 children annually on matters concerning education rights, permanency and safety in living arrangements, homelessness, and child victim/witnesses in criminal trials.

The Children’s Law Center works with law students from Salmon P. Chase College of Law, the University of Kentucky Law School, and the University of Cincinnati Law School on fellowships and externships. Additionally, social work and criminal justice students from Northern Kentucky University, University of Cincinnati, University of Kentucky, and Xavier University, along with students from various universities across the nation, have volunteered or completed internships through the Center. Social work students enhance CLC work in a variety of ways, from direct client assistance to coordinate community organizing and education for large scale legislative and policy reform. 

Staff and students have produced numerous publications around issues involving the rights of children which are distributed free to judges, attorneys and other professionals working with youth.   



Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years), ,
Program Long term Success
-Training and dissemination of standards for representation of children in child custody cases throughout Kentucky
-Creation of numerous publications for attorneys, parents and others regarding education law, juvenile justice and child custody representation


The Children’s Law Center uses research and innovative community-based initiatives to develop sound public policies for children in the legal and social service systems. The Center has been involved in research projects concerning the use of secure detention for juveniles, school crime and violence, and the right to counsel for child victims. Research projects are used as part of a broader effort to promote accountability among government agencies providing services to children.

Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years), ,
Program Long term Success
-Successful litigation against the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the Kenton County Detention Center regarding unconstitutional conditions of confinement of children, resulting in the creation of the Campbell Regional Juvenile Detention Center
-Successful litigation against the Commonwealth of Kentucky regarding failure to provide access to counsel for juveniles in thirteen residential treatment facilities resulting in a consent decree providing six full time lawyers assigned to these facilities for claims arising from the fact of, duration of, or conditions of confinement
-Reforms brought about to strengthen the local and Kentucky public defender program for juveniles resulted in a full time local public defender office, the creation of a special juvenile unit in the state defender office, and a significant increase in funding for juvenile representation
-Significant work in Kentucky through litigation and administrative reforms to ensure homeless children have access to appropriate education services
-Completion of juvenile defense statewide assessments with the American Bar Association, National Juvenile Defender Center, for Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky
-Significant work on changing school discipline policies in Kentucky schools to reflect Positive Behavioral Supports to help youth succeed in lieu of harsh measures such as suspensions and expulsions which exclude students from school


The Children’s Law Center receives hundreds of calls each year from children seeking clarification of their legal rights, parents requesting referral sources for their children, attorneys requiring technical assistance, and social service providers with questions concerning the rights of their clients. Center staff provides telephone assistance and makes referrals to other attorneys and agencies as appropriate.

Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years), ,

Changing economic and political climates require innovative solutions to problems facing children. The Center continually develops and reviews its programs to ensure that they meet the most prevalent needs of its clients. In addition, the Center has worked with other agencies, both in Kentucky and around the country, to develop and replicate successful projects that have improved the quality of advocacy services for children.

Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years), ,
Program Comments
CEO Comments
The Children's Law Center, Inc. was founded in 1989 by attorney Kim Tandy, a child advocate and former social worker.  Since its inception, the Center has taken on challenging issues which impact the most vulnerable youth populations in Kentucky, and more recently in Ohio.  
The Center's budget is small, but it has diversified its funding so that it can continue to build capacity and maintain a stable budget not dependant in any large part on governmental funding.  To continue to do that, it is critical that we develop new sources of funding, especially in light of expanded efforts in the Central part of Kentucky and the demand for services there and throughout the state.  We currently partner with several other legal service organizations to enhance our capacity to make greater inpact, but our referrals from local courts and from individuals has never been higher.
To meet the ongoing challenges in Kentucky, we must enhance our ability to raise funds throughout the state, as well as explore a variety of sources of funds.  Additionally, our space needs in the Central Kentucky area are limited and with increased demand, we will ultimately need to examine additional requirements for staffing.
Plans & Policies
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Mar 2015
Management Succession Plan? Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
In Kentucky, we collaborate with organizations such as Kentucky  Youth Advocates, the Department of Public Advocacy, Protection and Advocacy, Legal Aid organizations, and a variety of other child advocacy groups throughout the state focused on similar priorities.  Additional collaboration exists with Salmon P. Chase College of Law and the UK School of Law, where we work with students through clinical or externship opportunities. 
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the Government? No
Revenue vs Expenses - All Years
Expense Breakdown - Recent Year
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2017
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2018
Projected Revenue $906,487.00
Projected Expenses $906,487.00
Endowment Value $282,250.00
Spending Policy Income Only
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available). Revenue from foundations and corporations may be included in individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions$768,766$812,954$344,983
Investment Income, Net of Losses$6,901$6,285$2,632
Membership Dues------
Special Events$57,104$75,523$81,727
Revenue In-Kind------
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$858,634$863,195$420,516
Administration Expense$136,434$150,744$90,320
Fundraising Expense------
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.861.310.84
Program Expense/Total Expenses86%123%82%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$929,757$1,075,970$1,166,999
Current Assets$166,004$268,543$331,653
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities$28,360$11,559$5,747
Total Net Assets$901,397$1,064,411$1,161,252
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
State Registration Yes
CEO Comments
We are financially sound with spending kept within budgetary limits.  We are debt free and own our main building in Covington, Kentucky.
Foundation Staff Comments In 2014, Children's Law Center changed from a calendar year to a fiscal year. 2014 financials are for six months only, from 1/1/14 to 6/30/14,
Address 215 W. Short St., Ste. 205
Lexington, KY 40507
Primary Phone 859 253-3353
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Acena Beck Esq.
Board Chair Mr. Joseph Nava Esq.
Board Chair Company Affiliation Nava Law LLC