Legal Services for Children (LSC) are a US based non-profit advocating for the rights of children, including migrants. They provide free representation to children and youth who require legal assistance on matters including immigration, guardianship and education, in order to stabilise their lives and realise their full potential. Meet their Clinical Director, Ron Gutierrez.

Tell us about your role at LSC:
I have been a social worker at LSC since 1996 – virtually half of my lifetime.  In 2001 I was promoted to Clinical Director and I supervise our social work team of six and serve as a member of our management team.  My role also includes direct client services.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
I truly enjoy my direct practice work and the impact our services provide on an individual level.  Simultaneously I enjoy supervising our social work team and seeing the greater impact of the whole team.

What are the main challenges facing the children and young people you work with?
The struggles are varied and include extensive trauma, behavioral health symptoms, homelessness, disrupted education, lack of family support and acceptance.

What are you most looking forward to in the next year as a member of Family for Every Child?
As a first-year member of Family I have been exposed to the global reach of Family members and it has really opened my eyes.  I most look forward to engaging with more members and broadening my perspective.

Which living person do you most admire and why?
I recently saw the Chilean film Una Mujer Fantastica (A Fantastic Woman) which stars Daniela Vega, an openly transgender actress.  The film just earned the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in the US which is our highest film award honour.  Her character in the movie presented such genuine resilience and unwavering strength in the face of extreme oppression which reminded me of the character I have seen in many of the children and youth I serve.  Daniela’s real life story mirrors the fictional character in the movie and she has galvanized the movement for change in her home country. Bravisima!

What’s the best thing about living in San Francisco?
San Francisco has all the appeal of a major city – great diversity of people and culture, access to cultural events and art, excellent food, etc. while still maintaining a small town ambience (the population is still below one million).  San Francisco is also a naturally beautiful city with excellent access to the outdoors and nature.

Tell us something interesting/funny about your family.
My parents are both from Perú and my wife’s parents are both descendants of Polish Jews. We have two daughters who coined the phrase “Perjewvian” to describe their ancestry.

What is your vision for children and families in the US?
I hope for a time when ALL children are loved, valued and cherished as I love, value and cherish my daughters.