In the next coming weeks, we’ll be sharing a little about each team member at the Children’s Law Center: their interests, favorite sayings, how they’re staying positive during shelter-in-place, and more.

Stay connected for the upcoming #meettheteammonday posts to learn about our awesome team. For our first meet the team post, meet Stacy Fukhara-Barclay!

“I love being a child advocate”

  1. Why did you choose to practice Family Law?

I come from an “old school” Japanese family, where you’re given two choices: doctor or lawyer. So I chose lawyer. But I secretly wanted to be a social worker and work with families in need of support. I love being a child advocate because it allows me to provide social justice work through legal advocacy.

“Everything is child-centered”

2. Why choose the Children’s Law Center?

I don’t want to sound cheesy, but we really do focus on the kids.

One of my primary roles in the CLC is Best Interest Fact Finding (BIFF), and discovering everything I can about the best interests of the children in my cases. I focus on the kid’s needs to get the best sense of what they will need to grow into healthy and productive adults.

Usually, fact-finding starts with the parent’s wishes and then goes onto the kid’s needs. I reverse that process by talking to the kids first. Everything is child-centered, including in my mediations.

I also offer child-centered custody mediation, where we work towards creating a custody solution that meets the children’s needs first.

“A lot of revenue from the movies filmed and produced here don’t return back to our economy post-production

3. Hobbies and Interests

In my “down” time I’m a filmmaker and screenwriter. Right now I’m working on a web series called Like Maddah.

It’s a comedic web series about three generations of iron-willed local Japanese mothers and daughters. It actually premiered in the 2019 Hawaii International Film Festival, which we’re really proud of.

My interest extends through the entire film and production industry in Hawaii as well. A lot of revenue from the movies filmed and produced here don’t return back to our economy post-production, which is unacceptable given that Hawaii has so many talented individuals in every facet of the film industry.  I have been a fellow in the State of Hawaii’s Creative Lab Writing Program and the Ohina Filmmakers Lab, two programs that are working to develop and foster talent in Hawaii.

“I prioritize based on what my long and short-term goals are

4. How do you maintain or create work-life balance?

When I get busy I have a hard time staying balanced. I don’t try to have it all. I prioritize based on what my long and short-term goals are. I didn’t work as much when my kids were little so I could focus on motherhood.

Now that they’re teenagers, though, “they don’t want to hang out with me so I’ve got a lot more time to work [at the CLC] and produce films.”

“It would be nice to become a famous filmmaker, but even if I did, I would never stop working at the Children’s Law Center”

5. What are your goals for the firm and in general?

I want to see more child-centered trainings. I want CLC to work with more with mediators, attorneys, Best-Interest-Fact-Finders, Custody Evaluators, judges, mental health professionals, and those who work within the family courts.

There are a lot of steps we can take towards making Best Interest Facilitation the norm rather than the exception. From non-profit organizations to private firms, to educating parents directly, there are so many different ways we can create shifts in the paradigms of what divorce should/ might/ doesn’t need to look like.

And then, personally, I want to spend more time screenwriting and making films. Besides Like Maddah, I have some other projects in the works. It would be nice to become a famous filmmaker, but even if I did, I would never stop working at the Children’s Law Center. I love it too much.

In the grand scheme, my filmmaking and child advocacy go hand-in-hand. I see film as another way to communicate and start conversations about children’s development, divorce, and other Family Law issues. It’s another platform I can use to teach.

6. Fun fact about you?

I just got a worm bin and I’m very attached to my worms. I think they’re awesome.

7. Favorite Saying?

The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.

This one speaks to my focus on advocacy and how important it is to me to help others and provide social justice work.

The trick to true happiness is to lower your expectations

Sometimes we need to lower our expectations. We have to be at peace with knowing we did our best even when the outcomes shift from our expectations.

“We’re making memories together”

8. How are you staying positive during Shelter-in-Place orders?

It’s fun spending time with my kids. They’re obliged by the circumstances to spend time with me. We’re making memories together, which I have to remind myself not to take for granted every once in a while, because, after all, they are teenagers.

One thought on “Meet Stacy Fukuhara-Barclay

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