The Children’s Legal and Educational Resource Centre (CLERC) was founded in 2002 by six ambitious individuals who dreamed of a legal centre that would support children and youth in having their voices heard in legal matters affecting their lives. The vision of such a centre formed after two community-based initiatives took place: The Catch Them Before They Fall – Supporting Alberta’s Children Conference in 1997 and a review of the role of the Children’s Advocate in 1999. CLERC acquired society status in September 2002 and charitable status in April 2003. Before gaining charitable status, the Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary served as CLERC’s fiscal agent. CLERC’s first funder was the Calgary Foundation, who continues to fund various projects at CLERC to this day.
CLERC’s first major service delivery initiative was piloted through the Forest Lawn High School (FLHS) Wellness Centre in November 2002. The initiative was funded by the Calgary Foundation and supplemented by the United Way of Calgary. CLERC lawyers attended the Wellness Centre to provide students with support for a variety of legal matters affecting their lives. This successful program continues to date with our Youth Lawyer attending the school once weekly to provide support to youth in need of legal information, advice and representation.