Jessica Dixon, director of the W.W. Caruth Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic at SMU’s Dedman School of Law.
“The state’s child protective services is a triage system only. It is not capable of providing more for children beyond responding to emergency cases,” says Director Dixon. An expert on child welfare and the nation’s foster care system, Dixon has represented both parents and children in parental rights cases. Today she trains law students to be legal guardians to children in foster care. Dixon leads the Texas Chapter of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children and helps direct policy for Prevent Child Abuse Texas, an organization lobbying the legislature for reforms that will result in better protection, prevention and treatment services for children and families.
Psychology Professors Renee McDonald and Ernest Jouriles.
Professors McDonald and Jouriles specialize in researching the effect of domestic violence on children. In 1998, they created Project SUPPORT, an intensive family therapy program that has proven effective in reducing behavioral problems in young children exposed to family violence.
Christine Szaj, professor of family law.
Professor Szaj takes a particular interest in children’s rights. She teaches a course called “Children and the Law” and helped establish a child advocacy legal clinic at the Dedman School of Law. Before teaching law, Szaj was a social worker with the Crisis Intervention Program in St. Louis, where she experienced the plight of families on the margins.