January 26, 2022

Center for Family Justice

As there is no legal right in Connecticut to court-appointed counsel for most civil cases, domestic violence (DV) victims often find themselves without legal representation in family court for restraining orders, divorce, custody, & child support matters involving their abusers.  Research shows that legal representation by a qualified family law attorney is the difference between winning and losing in court for domestic violence victims.  In too many cases, it is the difference between life and death.  But because the Center for Family Justice (CFJ) did not have the personnel to give their clients that legal representation free of charge, the most they could do was give guidance and training to help victims represent themselves.

KDS and CFJ worked together to develop a strong case for support and a program model that would result in grant awards from Impact Fairfield County and Hearst Foundations totaling $175,000.  These awards allowed CFJ to create the Pro Bono Legal Clinic for Domestic Violence Victims and hire a full-time attorney to provide representation in court to their clients.  The success of the pilot program helped CFJ secure additional private funding to hire a second attorney.  To date, the Pro-Bono Civil Legal Clinic has represented 179 clients in court, giving domestic violence victims the chance to break free from their abusers, protect their children, and secure a safer future for themselves.