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Special Education Clinic Awarded $50,000 Grant From CVS All Kids Can Foundation

June 22, 2010 – 
The Special Education Clinic (SEC) at Rutgers School of Law–Newark has received a $50,000 grant from the CVS All Kids Can Foundation, a program of the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, to increase awareness of and access to early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities. The grant recognizes the success of the SEC’s faculty and students, under the supervision of Clinical Professors Esther Canty-Barnes, SEC Director, and Jennifer Rosen Valverde, in promoting healthy children and families by educating parents and others involved in the lives of children with disabilities about their legal rights and responsibilities.

“Thanks to the generous support of the CVS All Kids Can Foundation for our Early Intervention Education and Outreach Project, we will be able to expand our outreach and provide vital information to parents concerning their rights to access early intervention services on behalf of infants and toddlers with disabilities,” said Canty-Barnes. “These services help maximize children’s developmental potential and increase their opportunities for successful inclusion upon entering school.”

Over the next year, the Rutgers clinic will develop a model for a CVS Fun Day to teach families about the developmental needs of infants and toddlers and the New Jersey Early Intervention System. The goal is to bring together health, social service, educational and early childhood service providers as well as entertainment to attract families to the event and provide them with vital early childhood information. The Special Education Clinic will partner to co-host the CVS Fun Days with three CVS stores located in communities in the north, central and southern parts of the state that are historically underserved by the New Jersey Early Intervention System. In addition, the SEC will collaborate with medical, health and other professionals to develop information on early childhood development and early intervention for distribution in CVS stores and will offer training workshops across the state on this topic.

The Special Education Clinic was established in 1995 to address the critical shortage of legal assistance for indigent parents of children with disabilities in New Jersey. Law students in the clinic, working under the supervision of Clinical Professors Professor Canty-Barnes and Valverde, have a substantial impact on the ability of parents to obtain an appropriate education for their children.

Canty-Barnes, a member of the board of directors of the Clinical Legal Education Association, has broadened the SEC’s community outreach and, with Valverde, developed and implemented an initiative in which the clinic provides legal assistance to persons responsible for the welfare of disabled children in foster care. Valverde supervises both law and social work students in the representation of indigent parents of children with disabilities in early intervention and special education matters.