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Barton Child Law and Policy Center


Melissa Carter

Executive Director

Melissa D. Carter

Melissa Carter joined the Emory Law faculty in December 2010. As executive director, Carter is responsible for all aspects of the administration of the Barton Center, including the development of the center’s policy and advocacy agenda; fundraising, budgeting, and strategic planning; and supervision of clinic faculty, staff, and students. Carter directs the Public Policy and Legislative Advocacy Clinic and teaches a Child Welfare Law and Policy course.

Randee Waldman

Director, Barton Juvenile Defender Clinic

Randee Waldman

Randee Waldman supervises law students in their representation of young people charged with delinquent and status offenses, engages in policy work related to juvenile justice issues, and teaches Kids in Conflict, a course in juvenile justice.

Stephen Reba

Co-Director, Appeal for Youth Clinic

Steven Reba

Stephen Reba came to Emory in 2009 as the Ford & Harrison Equal Justice Works Fellow in the Barton Juvenile Defender Clinic. During his EJW Fellowship, Reba innovated and directed a project, Appeal for Youth.

The success of that project provided a strong foundation for its further evolution into the newest clinical offering of the Barton Center. As director of the Appeal for Youth Clinic, Reba supervises law students in their appellate representation of youthful offenders in Georgia’s juvenile and criminal justice systems.

Before coming to Emory, Reba served as a staff attorney for the Supreme Court of Georgia Committee on Justice for Children, a federally funded project aimed at improving the process for civil child abuse and neglect cases. At Justice for Children, he managed the implementation of a juvenile court process system and was part of a case review effort to learn best practices for areas targeted in Georgia’s Child and Family Services Review.

Reba received his BA from Clemson University and his JD from John Marshall Law School.

Christopher Church

Co-Director, Appeal for Youth Clinic

Christopher Church

Christopher came to Emory in 2023 as a Senior Clinical Fellow. Christopher co-directs the Appeal For Youth Clinic with Stephen Reba, supervising the clinic’s dependency appeals. Christopher is a Senior Director for Casey Family Programs, the nation’s largest private operating foundation focused on safely reducing the need for foster care and Building Communities of Hope. He is also an Academic Affiliate with the CHAMPS Clinic at the University of South Carolina School of Law, a pediatric medical-legal partnership. Christopher was previously a Staff Attorney for the CHAMPS Clinic and served as a consultant to several national child welfare organizations. He began his career as Managing Attorney for the Supreme Court of Georgia’s Committee on Justice for Children. 

Emilie Cook

Preventive Legal Advocacy Fellow

Emilie Cook

Emilie Cook joined the Barton Child Law & Policy Center in 2022 as the Preventive Legal Advocacy Fellow. With the support of the Barton Center and Casey Family Programs, Emilie works with multi-disciplinary teams across the country to promote and support preventive legal advocacy and pre-petition programs that engage in the provision of high quality legal advocacy and upstream support services to promote the social determinants of health and address the effects of poverty, systemic racism, and other forms of discrimination and oppression that harm families and lead to unnecessary child welfare system involvement.

Before joining the Barton Center in 2022, Emilie spent seven years representing parents and children in dependency proceedings in rural Georgia, and served as circuit guardian ad litem for the Ocmulgee Juvenile Court and Ocmulgee Family Drug Treatment Court Panels. Emilie is a passionate proponent of preventive legal advocacy and its capacity to improve outcomes for children and families.