Affiliated Faculty


Kirsten L. Widner JD
Director of Policy and Advocacy, The Barton Child Law and Policy Center, Emory University 

As Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Barton Child Law and Policy Center at Emory Law School, Kirsten Widner directs the legislative and policy work of the Center, supervises students, and represents the Center in collaborative initiatives on the local, state, and national level.

After a successful career in business, Widner attended law school to pursue a career in child advocacy. During law school, Widner represented both children and the child welfare agency through several internships in San Diego and Los Angeles. She gained policy insight and advocacy experience through her work in the University of San Diego's Center for Public Interest Law and Child Advocacy Institute.  Widner came to the Barton Center as a post-graduate fellow in law in 2007. In January 2010 she was appointed Director of Policy and Advocacy. She is co-chair of the State Bar of Georgia Young Lawyers Division Juvenile Law Committee and is a recipient of the 2010 Award of Achievement for Outstanding Service to the Georgia YLD.   Widner also Chairs the Board of Directors for Georgia Rescue and Restore, an anti-human trafficking coalition.  Widner received her BS from the University of San Francisco and her JD from the University of San Diego. 

Widner’s scholarly interests are in the areas of children’s rights, civil rights, and legislative process and advocacy. She has written on adoption policy, the commercial sexual exploitation of children, and critical race theory.  She teaches in classes focusing on child welfare law and in public policy and legislative advocacy clinics. She is a NITA certified trial skills trainer, and a regular presenter at conferences and CLEs.