Shauneen Lambe – Joint Chief Executive Officer
Shauneen is a barrister in the UK and an attorney in the USA, where she represented people facing the death penalty. She helped establish the charity Reprieve for Clive Stafford Smith and remained a board member until 2006. In 2006, with Aika Stephenson, she founded Just for Kids Law. Shauneen was chosen as World Economic Forum ‘Young Global Leader’ in 2010; a Shackleton Leader in 2011; one of NESTA/The Observer’s ‘Britain’s New Radicals’ in 2012 and was elected an Ashoka Fellow in the same year. In 2013 she was a finalist in the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards and Liberty’s Human Rights Lawyer of the Year. She is proud to be the UK Chair of Global Dignity and a trustee of the charities Birthrights and The Barings Foundation. In May 2015 Shauneen was selected for the Eisenhower Fellowships Women’s Leadership Program 2015. Last year both Shauneen and Aika were selected as two of the 67 ‘Change Makers’ invited to take part in the 67 Change Makers: Festival of Love 2015. The festival takes inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of public service. They were picked because they are dedicated to making changes in their community and having a positive impact on the lives of others.
Ruth is our Co-Chief Executive Officer . She joined Just for Kids Law in March 2017 and brings with her a wealth of senior commercial and third sector experience, including as Tesco’s Corporate Responsibility Director and as a non-executive Director of the Open University.
Ruth is also a Moderator for the Aspen Institute in Germany, and runs regular seminars on values-based leadership for business and NGO leaders.
Aika Stephenson – Legal Director
Aika founded Just for Kids Law with Shauneen in 2006. She is a solicitor and youth justice expert with years of experience representing young people in criminal proceedings and particularly those with Special Educational Needs. Since April 2017 she has led the organisation’s criminal work after Just for Kids Law was awarded its first criminal legal aid contract. Previously, Aika worked for nine years as a youth specialist at a busy West London firm before joining Hodge Jones & Allen solicitors in 2014, where she ran their youth team as well as heading up programmes at Just for Kids Law.
Aika started her career working for the Children’s Society at Feltham Young Offenders Institute as an Advocate she then went on to Westminster Youth Offending Team. In recognition of her work in the legal community, Aika was awarded Young Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year in June 2007. This prestigious award, presented by Cherie Booth QC, gives Aika credit for her exceptional commitment and dedication to helping young people. In 2014 Aika was named as one of Britain’s top 50 part-time executives in the Timewise Power List. Last year both Shauneen and Aika were selected as two of the 67 ‘Change Makers’ invited to take part in the 67 Change Makers: Festival of Love 2015. The festival takes inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of public service. They were picked because they are dedicated to making changes in their community and having a positive impact on the lives of others.
Louise King – Director, Children’s Rights Alliance for England
Louise has over 15 years’ experience working in policy and public affairs, specialising in children’s rights. She rejoined the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) as its Director in March 2015 (having been Senior Policy Officer between 2002 and 2006) and is responsible for CRAE’s strategy and leading its international monitoring work. Prior to joining CRAE, Louise worked at Save the Children. Most recently, she led on child rights governance policy and advocacy in the UK. She has also been Vice President of Euronet – the European Children’s Network, and Chair of the Separated Children in Europe Programme.
After graduating in philosophy and theology from the University of Nottingham, Louise volunteered for the British Youth Council before taking up the position of Policy Officer where she led on campaigns to lower the voting age to 16 and for the establishment of a Children’s Commissioner for England. She then joined CRAE as Senior Policy Officer before joining Save the Children in 2006, where she first worked on policy issues relating to child victims of trafficking and children seeking asylum.
Louise has also facilitated numerous participatory workshops for children to learn about their rights and supported children and young people to advocate for the realisation of their rights in numerous policy areas, including protection from violence, immigration, and reform of the Children’s Commissioner for England. She has also mentored teenagers at risk of getting in trouble with the law.
Sue Marris – Director of Central Services
Sue joined Just for Kids Law as Head of Operations in August 2015, after transferring from the Children’s Rights Alliance for England. Her previous jobs include working as an actuarial officer at the Government Actuary’s Department and as the statistician at the Arts Council of Great Britain before she moved to the charity sector. She then worked as centre manager of a community centre, as tenant liaison officer for a housing association and as office manager at a drop-in centre for families of children with disabilities.
Fiona combines her role as a Just for Kids Law development manager, with working as a freelance legal affairs journalist, writing for the national and specialist press. She has a long-standing interest in youth justice in its widest sense and has written and campaigned in this field over many years. She worked on the Guardian/London School of Economics ground-breaking research into the 2011 riots and has a masters degree in criminology. As deputy chair of the campaigning group Women in Journalism, Fiona conducted research into press demonisation of young men, ‘Hoodies or Altar boys? What is media stereotyping doing to our British boys?’ www.fionabawdon.com
Caroline O’Dwyer – Co-Director of Communications and Campaigns
Caroline joined Just for Kids Law in November 2014. She is a very experienced communications professional. She was Head of Press, Publications and Publicity at the Legal Services Commission for over 7 years. More recently she has been freelancing, managing events and publicity materials in the charity sector. She has also worked in the private sector as a corporate communications Account Director.
Siân Pattenden – Communications Officer
Siân joined Just for Kids Law in October 2017 as part of the communications and campaigns team. She works on media relations and provides communications support to the Let Us Learn campaign. Part of her role includes working with IMiX – a communications agency that works with the UK refugee, migration and integration sector. As a journalist Siân has written for the Guardian, Times and NME amongst many others.
Mital Raithatha – Education & Community Care Solicitor
Mital joined JFK as a paralegal in July 2012 after volunteering for the charity for 6 months and is now one of our Education and Community Care solicitors. Since joining the charity she has assisted young people in various matters including obtaining support from social services, acting in school exclusions cases, and obtaining support for children with special educational need. Mital was admitted to the roll in May 2010.
Florence joined Just for Kids Law in February 2014, bringing to the team her experience working with young people since the age of 19. She started out as a mentor with the Dalston Youth Project, mentoring young people who were at risk of exclusion and embarking on a life of crime. She then worked in a youth hostel, managing 12 homeless young people and providing resettlement and floating support, and later worked at Alone in London for five years as an advocacy officer, providing advocacy for homeless young people, those needing immigration advice, and community care. Florence completed her training contract at Streetwise Community Law Centre (a law centre exclusively for young people) in April 2010, with seats mainly in housing and education. In 2011, she moved to Harrow Law Centre as the sole young person’s solicitor, providing education and community care and housing advice.
Mark is the Advocacy Manager at Just for Kids Law, he has worked to support young people for several years. He started out as a Samaritan’s listener 10 years ago and helped to run the local branch as a trustee. He has experience in teaching and as a teaching assistant, and has worked in supported housing with young people managing substance use issues and those coping with mental health difficulties. He has also worked as a community advocate. In his work advocating for young people in south London he listens to the wishes and feelings of young people, supporting them to access housing, financial security and the support they feel they need. As Advocacy Manager he works to develop advocacy at the organisation and to support the advocacy team.
Joel is a JNC qualified Youth Worker and has worked with young people for over ten years in youth clubs, schools, Pupil Referral Units and anywhere else they choose to gather. He has helped young people to establish successful projects including a boxing and leadership group in Worthing and the Let Us Learn campaign here at JFKL.
Dami, originally born in Nigeria relocated to the UK at age 8. Growing up in the UK, Dami was undocumented until shortly after her 21st birthday. After receiving her status from the Home Office, she applied to university in the hope to pursue her goals of being a criminologist. She later found out that she would be classified as an international student despite being legal in the country. She joined Just for Kids Law after looking online for help and realising that she wasn’t the only student in this situation. She now spends her time empowering and developing young leaders like herself to be brave and courageous about their stories.
Kate is the Director of the Youth Justice Legal Centre (YJLC). YJLC was set up by Just for Kids Law in 2014 as a centre of excellence on youth justice law. The website (www.yjlc.uk) has comprehensive information and resources on youth justice law. Our team of youth justice lawyers provide training and specialist advice to lawyers, the judiciary and youth justice professionals as well children and their families. We provide a legal update service to subscribers on youth justice legislation, cases and guidance.
Kate is a youth justice specialist barrister at Garden Court Chambers and having qualified in 2001 has represented many children and adults in criminal and prison law cases. Kate has delivered training programmes for Just for Kids Law and the Prison Reform Trust and given expert evidence before the Joint Committee on Human Rights as well as providing expertise on a number of national reviews and reports.
Kate has an extensive knowledge of children’s rights law and also works as an SEN mediator. She is the author of Making Mediation Work For You (LAG, June 2012). Lord Woolf, former Lord Chief Justice, describes her “excellent book” as “breaking new ground”. Kate worked as a youth worker and teacher in England, Kenya and Uganda before training as a barrister. She co-founded a small charity working in Uganda and is a trustee and Board member for a number of organisations supporting and empowering children and young people.
Alice is a freelance consultant supporting third sector organisations to be more financially self-sufficient, and private companies and investors to become more socially responsible. Alice also works with philanthropic organisations and individuals to apply a more hands on venture capital like approach to their giving. Following five years in the City, investing debt into SMEs alongside private equity, Alice moved to Social Finance to apply her skills in the third and public sectors. During two and a half years there, Alice was able to gain experience working directly with charities and social enterprises to help them evolve into more self-sufficient and investable businesses and also collaborate with Trusts and Foundations, supporting them to bring their investing and grant making activities closer to one another.
Jennifer Twite – Head of Strategic Litigation (Youth Justice) – Maternity Leave
Jennifer has been a practising barrister since 2006 and is a Youth Justice specialist. She is extremely experienced in representing children and young people in the Crown Court and the Youth Court, with a particular expertise in complex cases involving defendants who require an intermediary or are unfit to plead. She has been working with JfK Law as a policy advisor since 2010, and sits on the Standing Committee for Youth Justice.
Laura Cooper – Youth Justice Lawyer, Acting Head of Strategic Litigation
Laura has been a practising solicitor advocate since 2011. She has experience in both the Youth Court and Crown Court. She has recently joined Just for Kids Law (on maternity cover) and is excited to work with the Youth Justice team. She also works part-time for a criminal defence firm in London. She has previously worked for Reprieve in Houston, Texas and at the Office for the High Commission of Human Rights, United Nations in Geneva.
Alex joins Just for Kids Law from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors where he worked in patient’s rights. Alex is a Trainee Solicitor and works in both the Strategic Litigation and Education and Community Care teams. Alex’s previous charity experience includes running cases with the Kent Law Clinic and providing legal advice to detainees of the Dover Immigration Removals Centre with the charity, Samphire.
Charlotte joined JfKL in May 2017, as an accredited Senior Immigration Supervisor, and has established an immigration service within the organisation’s legal department. She has over nine years’ experience in research, legal practise and advocacy relating to the rights of children in vulnerable situations, particularly migrants and victims of human and labour trafficking. Charlotte’s areas of practise include refugee and human rights claims, nationality law and citizenship claims, family and private life claims, trafficking claims, deportation, bail, European applications, entry clearance matters, unlawful detention claims and asylum support. She has appeared regularly before the First-Tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal, Immigration and Asylum Chamber.
Prior to joining JfKL, Charlotte was working in Southeast Asia, as a director and child protection specialist for an international NGO in Cambodia. She continues to sit on the Board of Trustees for this organisation. Her work focused on keeping children out of institutionalised care and, consequently, less vulnerable to exploitative labour and trafficking. Charlotte has experience of developing and implementing best practice models in child protection. She provided training among frontline staff and professionals, helping to build the capacity of child protection actors in Phnom Penh, in order to initiate catalytic improvement in policy and practice.
Salwa Chowdhury – East London Advocate/Graduate Supervisor
Salwa Chowdhury joined in September 2014. Prior to Just for Kids Law she was involved in various projects supporting young people, including Refugee Youth and the Anchor Project. A law graduate, Salwa has also worked in various legal environments, including the Special Court for Sierra Leone, at a criminal law firm as a Legal Assistant and at the Treasury Solicitors. She has previously volunteered at legal advice centres and human rights NGOs.
Sophie joined the Advocacy team at Just for Kids Law in June 2015 and is also our Young Parent Worker. Before joining JfKL, Sophie was the Programme Manager for the education charity ‘Access Aspiration’ which she helped to set up in 2013. Sophie has been involved with a range of voluntary projects aimed at supporting vulnerable children and young people, particularly in the context of education and social inclusion. She has worked on school exclusion cases as a Lay Advocate for BPP School Exclusions Project. Sophie is also a School Governor at a secondary school in Hackney and a Community Panel Member for Young Hackney where she works with young offenders.
Sophie Graduated with a degree in Sociology from Goldsmiths University and is currently completing her Graduate Diploma in Law at BPP Law School.
Rosie joined as a Youth Advocate in July 2015. Before arriving at Just for Kids Law, she worked at HM Inspectorate of Prisons as a Policy Officer and in policy roles at two children’s charities, the National Children’s Bureau and the Refugee Children’s Consortium. Her background prior to this was in education – she worked as a Teacher in a primary school and before this as a Teaching Assistant in both primary and secondary schools.
Dwaine Henry – Youth Advocate
Dwaine joined the advocacy team at Just for Kids Law in Feb 2016. Prior to Just for Kids Law, Dwaine was employed as a Youth Advisor supporting young offenders and Care Leavers. Dwaine has also worked in a Community School supporting young people with Special Educational Needs. In 2007 Dwaine volunteered at a school in Dominica for a year coaching Football and supporting P.E classes. Dwaine is currently completing his Criminology and Criminal justice Degree at Birkbeck University.
Augusta joined Just for Kids Law in September 2016 as part of the first cohort of the Advocacy Year project. Augusta is a law graduate with a Masters degree in International Conflict Analysis, and is determined to qualify as a solicitor. Before joining JfKL Augusta worked at Iona Kent and South East Needs Assessment Centre, supporting university students to secure funding through the Disability Student Allowance. Augusta is committed to supporting and empowering vulnerable children and young people, particularly unaccompanied and/or undocumented minors, asylum seekers and EEA nationals. She previously volunteered as a Caseworker at the Kent Law Clinic, and currently volunteers at the Free Representation Unit and at Toynbee Hall Free Legal Advice Clinic as a Pro Bono Legal Advisor. Augusta is also a Passport to Parliament Workshop Facilitator at Become (Who Cares? Trust) where she encourages looked after children and care leavers to be agents of change in their own lives and within the care system.
Maria Stephens – CRAE Participation Project Manager
Before joining CRAE Maria was Head of Youth and Community work at Toynbee Hall where she was responsible for a range of projects supporting marginalised children and families in Tower Hamlets and the City of London. In this role she also developed participatory, youth-led research in partnership with Oxford University which focused on children’s experience of poverty. Maria is a qualified secondary school teacher and has specialised in engaging children from marginalised groups including children excluded from education, young refugees, and children with mental health issues. She has worked as a volunteer at the Refugee Council and Amnesty International, and also been a trustee for IARS and Journey’s (a child bereavement counselling service).
Natalie Williams – CRAE Senior Policy and Public Affairs Advisor
Natalie joined CRAE in May 2016 as one of our Senior Policy and Public Affairs Advisors. She leads on our work to skill up the voluntary sector to effectively use children’s rights frameworks in their advocacy work and on ensuring that the systems and structures are in place to protect children’s rights. Prior to joining CRAE, Natalie spent four years at The Children’s Society working and lobbying on a number of policy issues relating to protecting and improving the rights of vulnerable children such as victims of sexual exploitation, children who go missing or run away, children in poverty or children in care. Most recently, as Policy Manager (Poverty and Inequality) she specialised in refugee, asylum seeking and trafficked children’s policy and co-chaired the Refugee Children’s Consortium (RCC) where she led a lobbying coalition to achieve a number of changes to the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
Before this Natalie was Policy Manager at the Community Development Foundation (CDF) and worked at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) from 2006 as a Third Sector Foresight Officer which involved helping build the capacity of charities to understand external trends and build this into their strategic planning. Natalie also spent several years volunteering for a Congolese immigration advice charity in Croydon. She holds a BA in English and American Literature and French from the University of Kent.
Emma Geraghty – Youth Opportunities Worker
Emma has over 10 years of practical experience working with young people in youth services, formal education systems, and charities. Her youth work career stemmed from being a participant and volunteer that developed into studying a BSc in Youth and Community Work at the National University of Maynooth and then progressing to work with young people in various locations around Dublin. Emma moved to London in 2016 and it was then that she joined the JfKL Youth Team as the Youth Opportunities Worker. At JfKL she works directly with young people aged 17-25 assisting with and developing their education, employment, training and volunteering opportunities.
Scott joined Just for Kids Law in September 2016 as a Youth Opportunities Worker. He has focused his career on assisting vulnerable young adults, including 14 years working with homeless young adults in central London at The Connection at St Martin’s. There Scott began as the Children Act Specialist before going onto its Youth Tenancy Sustainment Team for 12 years, including managing it for 5 years. Following this, Scott dedicated the next five years of his career to working with young asylum seekers, first as a caseworker for unaccompanied minors in East London at a charity called Dost (“Friend”) and then as the Destitution Practitioner at the Children’s Society’s New Londoners Project. He greatly enjoys his work at Just for Kids Law where its advocates and solicitors refer young people to his team, which then focuses on opening the world of opportunities up to young people who have previously felt that they had few, if any, choices open to them due to the vulnerable position in which they had been previously placed by statutory services or by UK immigration laws.
Emily Foster – Development Coordinator & YJLC Project Manager
Emily began working with Just for Kids Law as a Fundraising Associate in June 2014, working part time to support the charity’s fundraising activities. She began working full time in September 2015, and currently splits her role between fundraising and project managing the Youth Justice Legal Centre. Prior to joining Just for Kids Law, Emily worked for a social enterprise, supporting charities to maximize their impact and providing support in their fundraising activities.
Marieke Widmann – Project and Development Manager (Advocacy Year)
Marieke joined JfKL in 2016 as Project and Development Manager of Advocacy Year, building our graduate scheme. She is a US-trained attorney who has represented children in education proceedings and unaccompanied minors in asylum proceedings. Her previous work in the UK includes managing projects for the AIRE Centre and Focus on Labour Exploitation, conducting advice surgeries with the Children’s Society, and developing training to prepare lawyers to represent children with mental disabilities for the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre. Prior to this, Marieke worked in private practice as a litigator with Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New York City.
We have four new Advocacy Year 2017/18 trainees
Click here for details and to go to our Advocacy Year page.