Senior Counsel and Youth In Out-Of-Home Care Project Director
New York, NY
Currey Cook is the Director of the Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project and Counsel in the National Headquarters Office of Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and people with HIV.
Before joining Lambda Legal in 2013, Cook was the Co-Director of the Bronx office of The Children’s Law Center New York a non-profit law firm representing children in New York City Family Court, for three and a half years. Prior to his work at CLCNY, Cook served as a consultant to The National Juvenile Defender Center in Washington, D.C., worked in Burundi on an American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative to assist with reintegrate former child soldiers into the community and, served as a visiting professor for the Child Advocacy Clinic at Rutgers Law School Newark.
Before relocating to the New York City in 2009, Cook lived in Anchorage, Alaska and was an attorney with the Office of Public Advocacy (OPA) for twelve years. Cook worked as a juvenile defense attorney and guardian ad litem and later as supervising attorney of OPA’s Child Advocacy Section. In addition to his work at OPA, Cook advocated on behalf of undocumented youth and gay asylum seekers and received the Alaska Bar Association Pro Bono Service Award for a Public Sector Attorney in 2006. He has also received the Alaska Light of Hope Award for his advocacy on behalf of children.
Cook graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.A. in Journalism (Broadcast News) and was a radio reporter while in college. He received his law degree, cum laude, from Mercer University in 1994. He served as managing editor of the Mercer Law Review and Chief Justice of the Honor Court.
At Lambda Legal, Cook advocates on behalf of LGBTQ youth and youth living with HIV in child welfare and juvenile justice settings and on behalf of youth experiencing homelessness. He works at the state and federal level and achieves systemic reform through a mix of litigation, proactive law and policy development, and training for professionals, including child advocates, working with youth in out-of-home care. Cook’s advocacy has resulted in explicit nondiscrimination protection for youth at the federal level, including the first-ever LGBTQ-specific policy recommendations from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
In 2017, Cook co-authored Safe Havens: Closing the Gap Between Recommended Practice for Transgender and Gender-Expansive Youth in Out-of-Home Care, a groundbreaking report capturing legal protections for youth at the state level and sharing the voices and lived experiences of trans youth in care. Cook’s advocacy has been instrumental in defending and advancing state level protections for youth in Kentucky, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, and North Carolina. He currently co-leads the state policy coalition for the Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign and a legislative work group that fights against state laws that seek to grant government-funded child welfare contract agencies a license to discriminate against same-sex couples and people of differing faiths.