interactive Kids and the Law website,
where kids and parents can ask questions and get answers online from
The foundation, created in 1990, funds
law-related education and public service projects and provides
scholarships to law students who demonstrate an interest in public
service. Over the past nine years, it has collected $5.3 million,
awarded between 30 and 40 grants each year to worthy projects and
given $738,000 in scholarships to 185 students.
"Kids and the Law is one of our most
successful programs in providing valuable legal information to the
public," said State Bar Executive Director Judy Johnson, calling the
guide "the cornerstone of the State Bar's public education
program" - a program which also includes a series of 21 popular
consumer information pamphlets, six of which are available in Spanish.
"We hope lawyers who are parents and are
receiving Kids and the Law in this Bar Journal will share this
vital information with their kids, their grandkids, all the kids in
their lives," said Johnson. "And we hope lawyers who don't
happen to be parents will share it with teachers, friends who are
parents and anyone else who can help pass on this information."
Johnson added that "with the foundation's
generous grant," the bar also was able to "spruce up" its online
version of Kids and the Law and make another 100,000 print
copies available for schools, organizations and other groups who want
to incorporate the guide into their ongoing programs.
The revised guide may be downloaded from the
State Bar's website at www.calbar.org.
Requests for additional print copies of the revised 2001 guide should
be e-mailed to email@example.com
or mailed to State Bar of California, Office of Communications, 180
Howard St., San Francisco 94105-1639.
Villa said she first became familiar with Kids
and the Law in 1997 when she was serving as president of the
Mexican American Bar Association. "I thought the book was a great
idea as soon as I heard about it," she said.
She remembers ordering several hundred copies to
distribute to children in Los Angeles area schools for an outreach
program called "Talk to a Lawyer Day" on the first Monday of
October. "We received lots of great feedback from parents and
teachers," Villa said.
First published in 1996 in print form, the
publication offers relevant, accessible, easy-to-understand
information on a wide range of laws and legal issues involving
children in California.
Plans also are underway to translate the guide
into Spanish. Villa said she would like to see the guide eventually
translated into other languages as well.
Kids and the Law was triggered in the
mid-1990s after a State Bar survey revealed that many children were
unclear about certain laws and the consequences for breaking them. The
survey suggested that while most children in their adolescent and teen
years would turn to their parents with legal questions, they actually
learned more about the law from school and television.
Some of the questions answered in the booklet
Alcohol - What
happens when a teenager is arrested for driving under the influence of
alcohol? Can parents legally give their child a beer?
- Does state law or local ordinance set the curfew for minors? Do
curfew laws have any exceptions?
- What are the laws regarding drug use by minors? What are the
consequences? Are the consequences more serious if a child is caught
with drugs at school?
- Do police have the right to search a child or adult without his or
her consent - and if so, what are the limits to such searches? What
should a youngster do if he or she is arrested?
- What are the options if your child is caught fighting? Is it legal
for a child to strike a sibling?
- If a parent gives a gun to a minor or leaves a gun where the child
could get it and someone is injured or killed by that gun, how much is
a parent liable for? Is brandishing a firearm replica illegal?
- Are parents required to send their children to school? What
happens if they fail to do so? Under what circumstances can school
authorities suspend or expel a child?
The bar's consumer education pamphlets cover
topics such as divorce, child custody, small claims court, wills,
estate planning, hiring a lawyer, arrest, renting an apartment and
buying a house. For more information about the pamphlets or an order
form, call 415/538-2280.