Melissa Carter

Executive Director, Barton Child Law and Policy Center 



Areas of Expertise
Child Advocacy


Melissa Carter joined the Emory Law faculty in December 2010 as the executive director of the Barton Child Law and Policy Center. The Barton Center was founded to promote and protect the well-being of court-involved children in the state of Georgia and develop dedicated and knowledgeable juvenile law professionals. As executive director, Carter directs the instructional and policy activities of the Child Law and Policy Clinic and the Juvenile Defender Clinic; supervises Clinic faculty, staff and students; and teaches related courses.

Prior to joining the law faculty, Carter served as the appointed state Child Advocate, leading the staff of the Office of the Child Advocate in the fulfillment of the executive agency’s statutory mandates to provide independent oversight of the child welfare system and coordination of activities related to child injury and fatality review and prevention. She has extensive experience in public administration and policy, having also worked for the state’s Court Improvement Project, a federally-funded program focused on improving the processing of civil child abuse and neglect cases in juvenile courts. Carter formerly practiced with the law firm of Claiborne, Outman & Surmay, PC, representing clients in adoption, assisted reproductive technology and juvenile court deprivation (abuse and neglect) cases and was previously affiliated with Emory Law as Barton’s 2002 post-graduate fellow (now the Robin Nash Fellow).

Carter has published several articles on child welfare topics including child representation and federal regulatory schemes, been involved with the drafting and passage of multiple pieces of state legislation and is a frequent presenter on juvenile law topics to child welfare and juvenile court professionals. She was selected as a 2009 Marshall Memorial Fellow.

Education: Carter received her undergraduate degree in psychology and law degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Melissa Carter

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