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LAJC Announces New Leadership for JustChildren

LAJC Announces New Leadership for JustChildren
Rachael Deane to become 3rd JustChildren Legal Director
ngela Ciolfi to take on new role leading impact litigation and advocacy organization-wide

Charlottesville, Va., April 14, 2017—The Legal Aid Justice Center is pleased to announce two new changes to its leadership team:

Rachael Deane will take the helm of LAJC’s acclaimed JustChildren Program, Virginia’s largest children’s law program.  Founded in 1997, JustChildren relies on a range of strategies, including direct services, impact litigation, and policy advocacy, to make sure the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable young people receive the services and support they need to lead successful lives in their community.  Ms. Deane will succeed Angela Ciolfi as the Program’s third Legal Director.

In 2016, Ms. Deane came to JustChildren to lead the program’s litigation portfolio from the National Fair Housing Alliance, where she was the Associate Director of Enforcement.  Before that, she managed civil rights advocacy and enforcement for Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME), a statewide fair housing organization based in Richmond.  In 2012, she was named “Top 40 Under 40” by the Virginia Housing Coalition.  Ms. Deane is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington and the University of Richmond School of Law.  Since arriving at JustChildren, Ms. Deane has taken on leadership roles in JustChilden’s campaigns to increase state financial support for public schools and combat discipline discrimination in the Richmond Public Schools.

“For two decades, JustChildren has worked to amplify youth voices in Virginia and to ensure that all children have the tools they need to learn, grow, and become successful, “ said Ms. Deane.  “Today our work is more urgent than ever, and I am eager to continue our efforts to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, reform our juvenile justice system, and make sure every child has access to a high-quality education and a robust community support network.”

Angela Ciolfi will leave her post at JustChildren to become LAJC’s Director of Litigation & Advocacy. Ms. Ciolfi joined LAJC as a Powell Fellow in 2004 after clerking for U.S. District Judge Reginald C. Lindsay.  She won the Oliver White Hill Award from the Virginia State Bar in 2003 and the Child Advocacy Award from the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division in 2010.  Ms. Ciolfi is a graduate of The College of William and Mary and University of Virginia School of Law.  During her time as Legal Director, the JustChildren team won significant education reforms, including tying graduation rates to high school accreditation, prohibiting suspension for truancy, rolling back zero tolerance policies, and improving regulation of unlawful school fees.

In her new role, Ms. Ciolfi will work with all four of LAJC’s programs—JustChildren, Immigrant Advocacy, Civil Rights and Racial Justice, and Economic Justice—in developing multi-faceted campaigns using litigation, policy advocacy, organizing, and communications to challenge policies and practices that perpetuate poverty.  “It’s always been LAJC’s philosophy that it is our duty to use our limited resources to fight for changes with the greatest possible impact,” said Ms. Ciolfi.  “I am eager to join our clients and the rest of the LAJC team in stamping out injustice and exploitation where it hides in plain sight—from the “get out of debt” ads on TV to the over-policing of our schools.”

“Angela brings a wealth of experience to her new position.  She is a visionary thinker with tenacity and expertise who will increase the impact of all our work,” said Mary Bauer, LAJC’s Executive Director.  “And the Legal Aid Justice Center and our clients are profoundly lucky that Angela’s former position as  the Legal Director of JustChildren has been filled by Rachael Deane.  Rachael brings enthusiasm, intellect, and a commitment to justice that will serve children throughout the Commonwealth exceedingly well.”

Both staffing changes take effect immediately.

About the Legal Aid Justice Center
The Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC) fights injustice in the lives of individual Virginians while rooting out exploitative policies and practices that keep people in poverty. LAJC uses impact litigation, community organizing, and policy advocacy to solve urgent problems in areas such as housing, education, civil rights, immigration, healthcare and consumer finance. LAJC’s primary service areas are Charlottesville, Northern Virginia, Richmond and Petersburg, but the effects of their work are felt statewide.


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