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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

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.

Parker Leckerling

Policy Fellow

Parker Leckerling

Parker Leckerling joined the Barton Child Law and Policy Center in August 2020 as the postgraduate policy fellow. Originally from upstate New York, Parker attended college in western Virginia, where he majored in American History with a concentration on Reconstruction and the Civil Rights movement. After graduating, he moved to Portland, OR where he spent several years exploring various career paths including environmental advocacy and legal administration. In 2017, he chose to attend law school in order to pursue a career in public policy and legislative advocacy. In law school, he immersed himself in policy development and advocacy via extensive coursework, a summer internship in the United States House of Representatives, and three semesters of service as a student intern with the Barton Center. During that time, he observed and advocated in both years of the 2019-2020 biennial session of Georgia’s General Assembly, produced multiple legislative analyses of bills affecting the child welfare space, and contributed to a white paper on the effects of direct observation drug screening on individuals with histories of trauma. 

Parker earned his B.A. in American History from Washington and Lee University and his J.D. from Emory University School of Law.

Michele Papotto

Program Coordinator

Michele Papotto

Michele Papotto came to Emory University in 1998, where she was an administrative assistant at Emory College. She began working at the Emory University School of Law in 1999, as the executive assistant to the dean before joining the Barton Child Law and Policy Center in May 2002. She has served as a member of the Staff Concerns Subcommittee for the President's Commission on the Status of Women. She also served as the Administrator for the Lamar Inn of Court, the Emory chapter of the American Inns of Court from 1999-2008. Papotto served on the Citizen Review Panel of Gwinnett County Juvenile Court. She served as a volunteer with her local high school marching band for eight years and is currently an active volunteer with her local Boy Scout troop.

Papotto spent ten years as a public school music educator teaching kindergarten through sixth grade. She taught in New York for eight years before relocating to Georgia where she taught for two years in LaGrange, Georgia.

Papotto received her Bachelor of Music from Furman University and her Master of Arts in Music from Teachers College, Columbia University.