Child Welfare Staff Attorney Position at Nebraska Appleseed

Job Announcement

Staff Attorney – Child Welfare Program

Organization Profile

Nebraska Appleseed is a nonprofit organization that fights for justice and opportunity for all. Appleseed takes a systemic approach to complex issues – such as children’s welfare, immigration policy, affordable health care, and poverty – and takes its work wherever it can do the most good, whether that’s at the courthouse, at the statehouse, or in the community. For more information visit

Nebraska Appleseed is an equal opportunity employer; people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, individuals with disabilities, individuals with personal experience in the child welfare system, and those from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. Nebraska Appleseed does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnic background, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability.

Position Summary

The Staff Attorney will be responsible for working with the Child Welfare Program Director to identify and develop legal and policy solutions to issues impacting Nebraska’s child welfare system. The focus of the work will be on reforming the state’s child welfare system to make sure it supports children and families who need its intervention, and that intervention does not contribute to problems. The Staff Attorney will engage in policy research and analysis, legal research and litigation, and resource development. This position will report to the Child Welfare Program Director, and will work closely with staff attorneys in other programs and the Child Welfare Program Associate. This is a full-time position based in our office in Lincoln, Nebraska.


The Staff Attorney will work with the Child Welfare Program Director to carry out the objectives of the program. Specific responsibilities include:

  • Identifying laws and policies that negatively affect the welfare of Nebraska children and working with Child Welfare Program Director, Legal Director, and other staff attorneys to develop and conduct impact or class action litigation to remedy problems.
  • Conducting policy research and analysis focused on the legal aspects of key issues affecting Nebraska’s child welfare system, as well as drafting and providing testimony to the Legislature and administrative agencies.
  • Developing legal resources and providing technical assistance, including amicus curiae briefs, for a network of “on the ground” juvenile court attorneys.
  • Developing educational materials (e.g., reports, fact sheets, presentations, policy briefs) for key stakeholders.
  • Learning from community members and community partners about issues and potential systemic solutions.
  • Supervising law clerks and interns, and advising intake coordinator on child welfare intakes.
  • Participating, as needed, in administrative tasks and program teams.


  • Licensed to practice law in Nebraska or be willing to take necessary steps to be licensed.
  • Excellent legal research, analytic, and writing skills.
  • Creative thinking. The ability to develop novel legal theories and strategies to address complex problems.
  • Ability to work independently, be organized and detail oriented.
  • Ability to work in a team-oriented and collaborative environment.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to effectively build and maintain community relationships.
  • Experience in or demonstrated commitment to public interest law and advocacy on behalf of children.
  • Knowledge and awareness of local, regional, and national issues facing child welfare.
  • Three years experience practicing law strongly preferred but exceptional recent graduates will be considered.
  • Legal experience in litigation and the areas of child welfare and juvenile law, administrative law, civil rights, and/or appellate practice preferred.
  • Experience with legislative and administrative advocacy preferred.

Salary and Benefits

Competitive nonprofit salary based on experience and benefits including health, vision, dental, 401(k), and vacation.

To Apply

Position is open until filled. Target start date is March 2017. Please send a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and list of three references to Elizabeth Hutchison at or mail to: Nebraska Appleseed Child Welfare Staff Attorney search, Nebraska Appleseed, 941 “O” Street, Suite 920, Lincoln, NE 68508 by Friday, Jan. 20. If you have any questions or need additional time to submit materials, please contact Elizabeth Hutchison at 402-438-8853, ext. 122.