Kathleen Creamer is the Managing Attorney of the Family Advocacy Unit at Community Legal Services, which uses a holistic family defense model to help parents involved with the child welfare system maintain custody of or reunite with their children. She joined CLS as a staff attorney in the Family Advocacy Unit in 2006.
In addition to individual representation of parents in dependency court, Ms. Creamer has focused much of her advocacy on supporting incarcerated parents and their families. From 2011-2013, she served as a Stoneleigh Foundation Fellow dedicated to Improving Reunification Outcomes for Children of Incarcerated Parents. Ms. Creamer also led the coalition that developed and lobbied for the successful passage of the 2010 Healthy Birth for Incarcerated Women Act, which curtailed the practice of shackling incarcerated women during childbirth in Pennsylvania’s jails and prisons. She also served on the Joint State Government Commission’s Statewide Legislative Advisory Committee on Children of Incarcerated Parents. She has trained case workers and legal professionals locally and nationally on best practices for engaging incarcerated parents in the child welfare system.
Ms. Creamer is a member of the Statewide Children’s Roundtable, a project of the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, Office of Children and Families in the Courts. She is also a member of the Pennsylvania Child Welfare Council, a project of Pa-DHS’ Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF). Ms. Creamer is a member of the Steering Committee for the American Bar Association’s National Alliance for Parent Representation. She is also co-chair of the Communications Workgroup of the Family Justice Initiative. Ms. Creamer also sits on the Governing Board of United Family Advocates.
Ms. Creamer previously served as Director of Legal Services at Our Place, DC, a holistic reentry program for incarcerated women, and as a law clerk to the Honorable J. Michael Ryan of the D.C. Superior Court Family Court. She earned her J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law. She graduated from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
Ms. Creamer is the recipient of the 2011 Women’s Way Unsung Heroine Award and was recognized as a 2012 Legal Intelligencer Lawyer on the Fast Track.
“The Children of ASFA are Now the Parents of ASFA”, The Imprint, December 13, 2022.
“Reimagining Permanency: The Struggle for Racial Equity and Lifelong Connections”, Co-author with April Lee, Family Integrity and Justice Works Quarterly. Winter 2021
“If the Adoption and Safe Families Act Can’t Be Repealed, Here’s How to At Least Make it Better.” Co-author with Chris Gottlieb, The Imprint, February 9, 2021:
“Why High-Quality Interdisciplinary Legal Representation is Essential to Keeping Kids with Family,” co-author with April Lee, Juvenile Law Center Blog, September 2020
“During Coronavirus, High-Quality Legal Representation Can Be a Lifesaver for Families,” co-author, The Imprint, June 24, 2020
“How to Fight Loneliness,” Children’s Bureau Exchange, May 2020
“Data Shows that Our Holistic Parent Representation Helps Kids Too,” CLS Blog Post
“Family Advocacy: How Holistic Family Defense Helps Children Thrive,” CLS Blog Post.
Select Presentations, Panels and Videos
“Why Multi-Disciplinary Parent Representation is Beneficial to All.” Court Improvement Talks, National Center for State Courts
“Family Defense and Child Welfare: Exploring the Role of Representation for Parents in Improving Outcomes for Children,” University of Pennsylvania Field Center
COVID-19 and Child Welfare Cases, American Bar Association Webinar, co-panelist
Parents in Prison Are Losing their Kids Forever, NBC Left Field
“A Conversation with Professor Dorothy Roberts: Demystifying Abolition” American Bar Association Center for Children and the Law Plenary Presentation
“A Future without Foster Care,” University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School Sparer Symposium
Reimagining Public Systems, Stoneleigh Foundation
The Fierce Urgency of Now: Disrupting Racism in Child Welfare, Children’s Rights
Women’s Way “Unsung Heroine”
Honors & Awards
Unsung Heroine Award, Women’s Way (2011)
Lawyer on the Fast Track, Legal Intelligencer (2012)