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Children's Legal Services of San Diego was founded in 2016 to represent children and youth in the juvenile dependency court. Committed to the need for high quality legal advocacy for children, CLSSD's multi-disciplinary team of attorneys and social workers take a holistic approach to providing our young clients with a voice in the decisions affecting their lives both in and out of court.



Carolyn Griesemer, JD


Executive Director

Beth Ploesch, JD/MSW


Director, CLSSD Firm 1

Beth Ploesch is an alumnae of the joint Juris Doctorate/Masters in Social Work program through California Western School of Law and San Diego State University. She graduated magna cum laude in 2006/2007 with a concentration in Administrative Social Work. Her graduate thesis focused on the tort of wrongful adoption disclosure, and her field work included training in the area of casework, adoptions and policy/program support with Child Welfare Services in San Diego. She was a judicial intern at the San Diego Juvenile Court and also an attorney with San Diego Volunteer Law Program in the domestic violence unit.

Beth has worked in private practice in the areas of employment law, family law, and bankruptcy. Since 2011, she has served exclusively as court-appointed counsel for foster youth at Dependency Legal Services and Children’s Legal Services of San Diego. She was honored with the Outstanding Attorney of the Year award (2013) and the Peer Recognition Award (2015).

Beth Ploesch co-founded Children’s Legal Services in 2016 with Carolyn Griesemer. Her devotion to victims of child abuse and neglect began in 1998 while she was volunteering in a Russian orphanage. She has lived in California, Oregon, Virginia, Washington D.C., Illinois, Ecuador and Germany.

Carolyn has been passionate about child welfare as far back as she can remember. In her teen years, she spent her free time volunteering in shelters and at a home for drug addicted infants and toddlers. After earning a degree in Child Psychology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, she spent a year in the Dominican Republic educating people in a village about health and social issues and working with the children in that community. The love and poverty that she was immersed in forever shaped her perspective on immigration, justice, and human rights.

Out of law school, Carolyn served as a judicial clerk in the Eastern District of Missouri Court of Appeals, St. Louis. 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 was a senior associate with Minors Counsel Office 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. Most recently Carolyn ran her own practice serving caregiver and relative clients in the juvenile system. Beyond her law practice, she also served on the Board of Directors of Kids’ Turn San Diego 2014-2016. 

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