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Happy Girls

Children's Legal Services of San Diego protects and defends the rights of children and youth in the child welfare system through high-quality and compassionate legal representation.


CLSSD is a non-profit, interdisciplinary organization that consists of four law firms, which are court-appointed to represent both minors and non-minor dependents in Juvenile Dependency Court in San Diego County.


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Client-centered – We value and actively listen to the voices of our clients and represent their unique, holistic needs. 

Zealous – We are courageous leaders in our advocacy for the protection of each child’s right to safety, stability and well-being.


Collaborative – We work as a team through meaningful dialogues and formalized partnerships, internally and externally, to achieve positive outcomes.


Compassionate – We provide culturally competent services and strive to achieve social justice and dignity for the most vulnerable.


Excellence – We exhibit quality legal representation by ensuring our staff are highly trained and practice with dedication and commitment.


Trustworthy – We gain the trust of our clients, partners and peers by consistently exhibiting knowledge and integrity.



Carolyn Griesemer, JD

CEO/Executive Director

Carolyn serves as the Executive Director of Children’s Legal Services of San Diego, Inc. CLSSD’s attorneys are court appointed to represent the children in the juvenile dependency courts and advocate for their clients’ rights, needs, and best interests.


Carolyn’s legal experience includes having served as a judicial clerk in the Eastern District of Missouri Court of Appeals. From this foundation of understanding the necessity of a strong, precise, appellate record, she entered the arena of trial practice. At the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, she was an Assistant Prosecutor in the Domestic Violence Unit and, later, moved to the San Diego City Attorney’s Office Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Unit.


Carolyn served as a senior associate with Minors Counsel Office of Dependency Legal Group for five years where she represented children in the juvenile dependency system. Arguing for the rights and necessary services for children, she zealously advocated for her young clients. Prior to co-founding CLSSD in 2016, Carolyn ran her own law practice serving caregiver and relative clients in the juvenile system.


Carolyn currently serves on the San Pasqual Academy Advisory Board and is a voting member of the newly formed Child & Family Strengthening Advisory Board, appointed by the County Board of Supervisors.

Kristin Garrett

Montgomery, MPH

Chief Operating Officer

Kristin Garrett Montgomery recently joined Children’s Legal Services of San Diego as Chief Operating Officer. Kristin has spent the past 20 years working to improve the health of San Diego’s most vulnerable populations. 


Kristin’s career commenced in a dual role with the Hospital Association of San Diego & Imperial Counties (HASD&IC) and Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP). Kristin served in various positions, including Director of Public Advocacy for HASD&IC and as the President & CEO of CHIP.  Most recently, Kristin was the Associate Vice President, San Diego Market Leader for Molina Healthcare of California. 


Kristin received a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Health Service Administration from San Diego State University, Graduate School of Public Health and her B.S. in Nutritional Science from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo.   Kristin has been very involved in the community serving on Boards such as the San Diego Organization of Healthcare Leaders, Mental Health America, American Lung Association, and volunteered as a coach for the Fieldstone Non-profit Leadership Network.


Kristin is passionate about prevention, wellness and social justice. She looks forward to applying her non-profit and community health experience to advocating for San Diego’s foster youth.

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