Elizabeth Thornton
Family Justice Initiative, Attorney Consultant

Elizabeth Thornton has spent most of her legal career focused on helping vulnerable children and families.  She has represented both children and parents in child welfare trial court proceedings, starting her child welfare practice with FJI partner organization, the Children’s Law Center of California. From 2009 to 2013, she served as a staff attorney and project director with the ABA Center on Children and the Law, working closely with Mimi Laver to ensure that parents in child welfare proceedings have meaningful access to high-quality legal representation, as well as leading the Center’s child welfare immigration project and serving on the permanency barriers team.

From 2013 to 2017, Elizabeth worked at Casey Family Programs as an executive on loan to the United States Department of Homeland Security. In this position, she served as a senior advisor on legal access and parental interests at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, where she oversaw implementation of agency policy regarding case processing of immigrant parents, as well as  initiatives to reduce family separation and increase access to legal counsel for individuals in custody. She left this position in February 2017.

Elizabeth has authored or co-authored a number of articles focused high-quality representation for parents, including High-Quality Legal Representation for Parents in Child Welfare Cases Results in Improved Outcomes for Families and Potential Cost Savings, published in the Family Law Quarterly.

Elizabeth  currently serves as an attorney consultant to the Family Justice Initiative, as well as representing parents and children in appellate court proceedings in California. She loves working on the Family Justice Initiative with so many familiar and inspiring colleagues.

In her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her family, planning vacations, and hanging out with her labradoodle puppy, Riley.