Executive Director @ Children’s Advocacy Institute
Professor Robert C. Fellmeth is a tenured law professor at the University of San Diego (USD) School of Law< and is Founder and Executive Director of USD’s dynamic and prolific Children’s Advocacy Institute. He is the holder of the Price Chair in Public Interest Law at the USD School of Law. A graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School, Fellmeth was one of the original “Nader’s Raiders,” organizing the student groups in 1968 and directing the Nader Congress Project in 1970-72. As a deputy district attorney and Assistant U.S. Attorney in San Diego from 1973-81, he litigated 22 antitrust actions and founded the nation’s first antitrust unit in a district attorney’s office. He currently serves on the board of directors of Public Citizen Foundation, the National Association of Counsel for Children, and First Star. In the past he served on the board of directors of Consumers Union and California Common Cause and as counsel for Voices for America’s Children. He has taught at the National Judicial College, the National College of District Attorneys, and the California Judicial College. He has authored or co-authored 14 books or treatises, including The Nader Report on the FTC (Baron, 1968), The Politics of Land (Grossman, 1970), California Administrative and Antitrust Law: Regulation of Business, Trades and Professions (Butterworths Legal Publishers) and California White Collar Crime (LEXIS Publishing). His latest treatise is Child Rights and Remedies (Clarity Press, 2011), a text on child advocacy.
A snapshot of his accomplishments include
Developed first-in-the-nation litigation challenging a state’s reimbursements to foster parents as being so low as to dissuade foster parents from caring for abused and neglected children.
Passes landmark legislation opening up state and county child protective services practices to public scrutiny when children die from abuse or neglect — legislation that has prompted sweeping administrative reforms in at least two California counties.
Passed legislation requiring foster children who age out of the juvenile justice system to be provided the same program eligibility assistance as those who age out of the dependency system.
Developed path-breaking litigation challenging the judiciary’s policy of imposing caseloads on lawyers for abused and neglected children that are up to twice what the judiciary itself says is the practical maximum.
Passed legislation prompting the nation’s largest county to treat sexually exploited minors as victims rather than criminals.
Created the innovative Transition Life Coach proposal designed to provide services, resources and mentoring to former foster youth as they make the difficult transition to adulthood and self-sufficiency.
Administration of an annual program recognizing the state’s news outlets for their coverage of children’s issues.
Developed litigation ensuring that Social Security payments benefitting foster children are disbursed based upon the child’s best interests.
Operation of a program of direct outreach to San Diego County’s homeless youth, aiding them in obtaining benefits and services, and protecting their rights in court and before administrative agencies.
Exhaustively documenting the failure of Proposition 63 — the Mental health Services Act — to provide any significant benefits to the population of transition age youth with the greatest mental health needs — former foster children.