Juvenile Law Center

Our society must be encouraged or compelled to act in ways that promote fairness, create respect for human rights, and provide vulnerable children with the protection and services they need to become healthy and productive adults.


Case for Support

Case for Support

Case for Support

One of Juvenile Law Center’s greatest strengths is our agility – our ability to respond quickly to changes in the environment to advance our agenda. Expanding our resources will allow us to swiftly react to unexpected opportunities to improve outcomes for children. As we head into our 40th Anniversary year, we can look back on our success, effectiveness and achievements. With your partnership, we will continue to implement our vision, be sustainable, and maintain our mission of helping America’s youth.

Juvenile Law Center Historical Timeline



  • Juvenile Law Center founded (originally The Juvenile Law Center of Philadelphia) by four Temple Law School graduates: Robert G. Schwartz, Marsha L. Levick, Philip Margolis, and Judith Chomsky.
  • Represents 150 clients its first year.
  • Nixon aides convicted in Watergate cover-up
  • Vietnam War ends
  • Saturday Night Live debuts


  • Joins Santiago v. City of Philadelphia, challenging conditions and overcrowding in Philadelphia’s juvenile detention center, later becoming lead counsel in a case that would continue for 30 years.
  • Jimmy Carter elected President
  • Apple founded
  • “Rocky” wins Best Picture


  • Publishes first of seven editions of Child Abuse and the Law.
  • Files Rodenbah v. West Chester Area School District, a federal lawsuit challenging unfair suspension of high school student.
  • “Star Wars” is released
  • Elvis Presley dies


  • Negotiates first of several Santiago settlement agreements.
  • Robert Schwartz receives Haverford Award for Service to Society from Haverford College.
  • First “test tube baby” is born
  • “Grease” hits theaters


  • Settles federal lawsuit against Montgomery County juvenile detention center, Brunner v. Montgomery County Juvenile Detention Center, leading to adoption of statewide regulations concerning the use of isolation.
  • Files Cameron v. Montgomery County Child Welfare Services, challenging lack of judicial review of foster youths’ placement. This was one of several court decisions that led Congress to pass the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980.
  • Mother Teresa wins Nobel Peace Prize


  • Changes its name from "Juvenile Law Center of Philadelphia" to Juvenile Law Center to reflect a state- and nation-wide reach.
  • Has a devastating fiscal year and almost closes its doors.
  • Congress passes the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980
  • Ronald Reagan elected President
  • Philadelphia Phillies win World Series


  • Files Coleman v. Stanziani, challenging preventive detention of juveniles before trial.
  • Publishes the first Children’s Rights Chronicle, a bi-monthly newsletter.
  • Justice Sandra Day O’Connor joins the Supreme Court
  • MTV goes on the air
  • Prince Charles and Lady Diana get married
  • IBM introduces its first personal computer


  • Robert G. Schwartz named Executive Director.
  • “Cats” opens on Broadway
  • Michael Jackson releases “Thriller”
  • Reagan declares war on drugs


  • Files amicus brief in U.S. Supreme Court case, Schall v. Martin, arguing against preventive detention of youth who have not been adjudicated delinquent without a finding of probable cause; in 1984 the Supreme Court approves preventive detention.
  • Enters into a contract with the City of Philadelphia to represent abused and neglected children in Family Court.
  • Sally Ride becomes first female astronaut to travel in space
  • Philadelphia 76ers win NBA championship
  • Cabbage Patch Kids are born
  • Madonna releases her first album


  • Successfully argued as an amicus in the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Estate of Bailey v. York County, that child welfare agencies had a duty to protect children under its supervision. This ruling was later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Supreme Court approves preventive detention in Schall v. Martin
  • Desmond Tutu wins Nobel Peace Prize
  • The Apple Macintosh hits the market



  • Produces report aimed at reducing delays in Pennsylvania court proceedings dealing with dependent and delinquent children.
  • Live Aid raises millions for starving Africans
  • Mikhail Gorbachev becomes leader of Soviet Union


  • Publishes first of four editions of Pennsylvania Judicial Deskbook.
  • Settles Coleman v. Stanziani, and new detention admission criteria is adopted in Pennsylvania.
  • Challenger space shuttle crashes
  • U.S. observes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day for first time
  • Oprah Winfrey’s show makes national debut


  • Board of Directors adopts a resolution opposing the juvenile death penalty.
  • As part of its Family Preservation Project, Juvenile Law Center receives a favorable opinion in a Pennsylvania child protection case, contributing to a national effort to promote the reasonable efforts provision in federal law.
  • Congress investigates Iran-Contra Affair
  • World population climbs to over 5 billion people


  • Files T.B. v. Pennsylvania, challenging adequacy of aftercare probation in Philadelphia.
  • Philadelphia County Child Welfare Advisory Board awards Juvenile Law Center the Children and Youth Advocates Award.
  • Purchases its first fax machine.
  • George H.W. Bush elected President
  • CDs outsell vinyl records for first time


  • With ACLU, files T.M. v. Philadelphia, to enforce right to counsel for all children in dependency proceedings.
  • Enters a second settlement in Santiago, a case filed in 1976.
  • Berlin Wall falls
  • Exxon Valdez spills oil off Alaskan coast
  • Tiananmen Square protests occur


  • Joins Philadelphia and other Pennsylvania counties in suit to increase state funding for children’s services.
  • Moves into shared space with Education Law Center and Disabilities Law Project at 801 Arch Street.
  • President Bush signs Americans with Disabilities Act into law
  • South Africa frees Nelson Mandela
  • “Law and Order” debuts


  • Files Scott v. Snider, a federal lawsuit, with other Pennsylvania public interest organizations to increase health care access for Pennsylvania foster children.
  • Files D.B. v. Casey, challenging abusive conditions at state-run Youth Development Center in Bensalem, PA.
  • Soviet Union dissolves
  • Congress authorizes the use of force against Iraq
  • Grunge band Nirvana releases “Smells Like Teen Spirit”


  • Testifies before U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee about juvenile justice legislation.
  • Bill Clinton elected president
  • Johnny Carson hosts “Tonight Show” for the last time
  • L.A. riots follow Rodney King verdict


  • With Education Law Center-PA, produces Truancy Court Watch report for Philadelphia Citizens for Children.
  • Federal agents siege Branch Davidian ranch near Waco, Texas
  • Michael Jordan retires


  • Robert Schwartz receives National Legal Aid and Defender Association’s Reginald Heber Smith Award.
  • Thousands die in Rwanda massacre
  • South Africa holds free elections
  • “Schindler’s List” receives Academy Award for Best Picture



  • Files federal court contempt motion in Santiago as detention center population exceeds 200% of capacity.
  • With ABA Juvenile Justice Center and Youth Law Center, produces A Call For Justice, the first national assessment of the adequacy of counsel for delinquent children nationwide.
  • Sponsors Symposium with Temple Law School on the evolution of children’s rights, celebrating Juvenile Law Center's 20th Anniversary.
  • U.S. Supreme Court decides Vernonia v. Acton, upholding random, suspicionless drug searches of student athletes
  • Truck bomb explodes in Oklahoma City
  • O.J. Simpson is acquitted
  • Amazon.com launches online


  • Robert Schwartz and Marsha Levick appointed to Management Committee of newly created National Juvenile Defender Center
  • Robert Schwartz awarded Philadelphia Bar Association Andrew Hamilton Award
  • Congress passes “welfare reform”
  • 45 million people use Internet


  • Files Brian B. v. Pa. Dept of Education, challenging denial of basic and special education to school-age offenders in adult county jails.
  • Congress passes Adoption and Safe Families Act
  • Hong Kong returns to Chinese rule
  • “Titanic” crashes into theaters
  • First Harry Potter book released


  • Files Brandon E. v. Reynolds, challenging Act 53, a law that permits involuntary commitment of youth for drug treatment; lawsuit was later dismissed on procedural grounds.
  • Good Friday accord reached in Northern Ireland
  • House votes to impeach Bill Clinton


  • Launches website, www.jlc.org.
  • Publishes supplement to Judicial Deskbook on the Adoption and Safe Families Act.
  • Nelson Mandela retires
  • School shootings occur in Columbine
  • Michael Jordan retires – again


  • Awarded Smith Kline Beecham Community Health Impact Award
  • Juvenile Law Center moves to 1315 Walnut Street (its current location).
  • Establishes Sol and Helen Zubrow Fellowship in Children’s Law.
  • Files A.M. v. Luzerne County Juvenile Detention Center, challenging detention facility’s failure to keep 12 year old youth safe from abuse by other residents.
  • The world population tops 6 billion people
  • Elian Gonzalez at center of custody dispute
  • Human genome deciphered
  • Bush v. Gore decides outcome of 2000 election


  • Publishes Promises Kept, Promises Broken: An Analysis of Children’s Right to Counsel in Dependency Hearings in Pennsylvania.
  • In a victory for client A.M., the Pennsylvania Superior Court reverses the adjudication by Luzerne County juvenile court judge due to an improper waiver of counsel.
  • Robert Schwartz receives Pennsylvania Bar Association Child Advocate of the Year Award and American Bar Association Livingston Hall Award.
  • Terrorists attack United States on September 11
  • Apple releases its first iPod


  • Publishes first edition of Consent to Treatment and Confidentiality Provisions Affecting Minors in Pennsylvania.
  • Files K.C. et al. v. School District of Philadelphia, challenging the state law, Act 88, that mandated assignment of Philadelphia adjudicated youth to alternative schools.
  • Suzanne Meiners selected as first Sol and Helen Zubrow Fellow in Children’s Law. In 2015, Juvenile Law Center welcomed its 14th Zubrow Fellow.
  • U.S. Supreme Court decides Tecumseh v. Earls, approving widespread random, suspicionless drug testing of high school students
  • President Bush identifies Axis of Evil
  • Denzel Washington, Halle Berry win Oscars
  • Jimmy Carter wins Nobel Peace Prize


  • Becomes lead entity for Pennsylvania MacArthur-funded Models for Change juvenile justice reform initiative.
  • Publishes Pennsylvania: An Assessment of Access to Counsel and Quality of Representation in Delinquency Proceedings.
  • Publishes Dependent Youth Aging Out of Care.
  • United States invades Iraq, again
  • Columbia space shuttle crashes
  • National Constitution Center opens in Philadelphia


  • Publishes Pennsylvania Judicial Deskbook: A Guide to Statutes, Judicial Decisions and Recommended Practices for Cases Involving Dependent Children in Pennsylvania.
  • In a victory for client A.M., Third Circuit rules Luzerne County (PA) detention center could be sued over lax policies and procedures to prevent harm and keep children safe in the facility.
  • Files amicus brief in juvenile death penalty case, Roper v. Simmons, before U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of over 50 advocacy organizations nationwide. In 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court holds the juvenile death penalty unconstitutional.
  • Robert Schwartz receives National Association of Counsel for Children Career Achievement Award
  • Juvenile Law Center board member Kate Sobrero Markgraf wins Olympic goal with U.S. women’s soccer team
  • Tsunami devastates Asia
  • Facebook is launched



  • In a victory for our clients, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court strikes Act 88, holding adjudicated youth entitled to due process before assignment to alternative schools.
  • Settles Anderson v. Houstoun, assuring kinship caregivers the right to receive foster care payments.
  • Files an amicus brief in Pennsylvania Superior Court in In re S.J., in support of allowing youth to remain in Pennsylvania’s dependency system while they attend college.
  • Supreme Court holds that the juvenile death penalty is unconstitutional
  • Hurricane Katrina devastates Gulf Coast
  • YouTube created


  • With KidsVoice, publishes first edition of Know Your Rights: A Guide for Youth in Substitute Care
  • Co-sponsors Symposium on Law and Adolescence with Temple Law School.
  • Launches PA Resources for Youth, a website for youth transitioning out of substitute care.
  • Marsha Levick receives Temple Law School Women’s Law Caucus Professional Achievement Award.
  • Saddam Hussein convicted and executed by an Iraqi court
  • Nintendo releases Wii video game console
  • Pluto is no longer a planet


  • Publishes Protecting Youth from Self-Incrimination while Undergoing Screening, Assessment and Treatment within the Juvenile Justice System.
  • Publishes Juvenile Records Expungement: A Guide for Defense Attorneys.
  • Partners with the Mural Arts Program and the National Juvenile Defender Center to create two murals celebrating the 40th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court In re Gault decision, establishing that juveniles in delinquency proceedings have important due process rights, including the right to counsel.
  • Files first of several amicus briefs in Omar Khadr v. United States of America, on behalf of juvenile detainee at Guantanamo Bay.
  • U.S. begins troop “surge” in Iraq
  • Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto is assassinated
  • Writers Guild of America goes on strike
  • Apple releases the iPhone
  • Comcast Center becomes tallest building in Philadelphia


  • Awarded MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.
  • Files In re J.V.R. in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, seeking relief for youth in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, who were adjudicated in juvenile court without counsel.
  • Publishes Juvenile Records: A Know Your Rights Guide for Youth in Pennsylvania.
  • Publishes Solving the Data Puzzle: A How-To Guide on Collecting and Sharing Information to Improve Educational Outcomes for Children in Out-of-Home Care with Legal Center for Foster Care and Education.
  • Receives Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Liberty Award.
  • Marsha Levick receives Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Child Advocate of the Year Award.
  • Launches Juveniles for Justice, a youth advocacy group of youth who have been in the juvenile justice system.
  • Barack Obama elected President
  • China hosts summer Olympics
  • Philadelphia Phillies win the World Series


  • Files amicus brief in U.S. Supreme Court cases, Sullivan v. Florida and Graham v. Florida, challenging juvenile life without parole sentences on behalf of over 50 advocacy organizations and individuals nationwide. In 2010, the Court holds in that life without parole is unconstitutional for juvenile non-homicide offenders.
  • Files H.T. v. Ciavarella in federal court with pro bono co-counsel at Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller, seeking damages for youth and their families whose constitutional rights were violated as part of the Luzerne County “kids-for-cash” scandal.
  • Pennsylvania Supreme Court in In re J.V.R. issues order to vacate the adjudications and expunge the records of the thousands of youth who appeared in tainted proceedings in the Luzerne County juvenile court.
  • Publishes a report on implementation of the federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act with Partners for our Children.
  • Files an amicus brief in U.S. Supreme Court case, Redding v. Safford, challenging school strip-search of 13-year old. The Court held that the strip search violated the student’s Fourth Amendment rights.
  • Launches Youth Fostering Change, a youth advocacy group of youth currently or formerly involved in the child welfare system.
  • H1N1 flu virus deemed global pandemic
  • Michael Jackson dies
  • Barack Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize



  • Files an amicus brief in Miller v. Skumanik in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, arguing that “sexting” between teenagers should not be criminalized.
  • Serves as co-counsel for an eleven-year-old accused of murder, challenging a Pennsylvania trial court’s decision to try the youth as an adult (In re J.B).
  • Files five petitions with colleagues at the Defender Association of Philadelphia and Temple University asking the Pennsylvania courts to hold life without parole sentences unconstitutional for juveniles convicted of homicide offenses.
  • Files T.D. v. Mickens, together with pro bono co-counsel at Dechert LLP, a civil rights lawsuit challenging the solitary confinement of youth in New Jersey juvenile justice facilities.
  • Files an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in J.D.B. v. North Carolina, arguing that age is a relevant factor in determining whether a child should receive a Miranda warning. In 2011 the Supreme Court holds that age is a relevant factor.


  • Robert Schwartz visits China at the invitation of Yale’s China Law Center to speak to jurists, academics and others about building a legal system for children.


  • Publishes Sample State Legislation To Extend Foster Care, Adoption and Guardianship Protections, Services and Payments to Young Adults Age 18 or Older with American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, Center for Law and Social Policy and Children’s Defense Fund
  • Partnering with several national youth advocacy organizations, Juvenile Law Center submits public comments on the Department of Justice’s proposed national standards to reduce sexual abuse in juvenile facilities.
  • Submits Lessons from Luzerne County: Promoting Fairness, Transparency and Accountability, Recommendations to the Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice.


  • Robert Schwartz receives the Coalition for Juvenile Justice’s A.L. Carlisle Child Advocacy Award.
  • Marsha Levick receives Leonard E. Weinglass in Defense of Civil Liberties Award from the American Association for Justice.
  • Marsha Levick and Lourdes Rosado receive The Legal Intelligencer’s Women of Distinction Award.
  • Marsha Levick receives American Bar Association Livingston Hall Award.
  • Marsha Levick receives the Champion of Social Justice Award from Rutgers Law School, Camden.
  • Marsha Levick receives the Good Shepherd Medication Society’s Shepherds of Peace Award.
  • U.S. Supreme Court declares life without paroles sentences for juveniles convicted of non-homicide offenses unconstitutional in Graham v. Florida
  • Massive earthquake devastates Haiti
  • Obama repeals ban of gays in the military
  • Deepwater Horizon oil spill in Gulf of Mexico declared the largest spill of its kind
  • Apple releases the iPad



  • Juvenile Law Center argues, the Pennsylvania Superior Court holds that 11-year-old J.B., accused of murder, should be tried in juvenile, not adult, court.


  • Marsha Levick helps launch the Child Law Clinic at the Faculty of Law, University College Cork, Ireland.
  • Establishes the Youth Speakers Bureau, enhancing our Youth Advocates’ capacity to push for reform in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.


  • Publishes Navigating the Juvenile Justice System: A Guide for Parents and Guardians.
  • Issues Federal Policy, ESEA Reauthorization, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline with Advancement Project; Education Law Center – PA; FairTest; The Forum for Education and Democracy; and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.


  • Bob Schwartz and Marsha Levick receive the Philadelphia Bar Association Criminal Justice Section’s Thurgood Marshall Award.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court rules in J.D.B. v. North Carolina that a child’s age is a relevant to the Miranda warning analysis
  • Osama bin Laden is killed
  • Prince William and Kate Middleton were married in London's Westminster Abbey
  • NASA's Space Shuttle program ends
  • Protestors in Zuccotti Park Occupy Wall Street


Policy & Legislation

  • Works with a coalition that successfully prompts Pennsylvania to enact two new laws to provide greater opportunities and support to older youth in foster care. These laws provide more opportunities for youth to remain in care until age 21, allow youth who have aged out of care to re-enter care, and extend adoption subsidies until youth are 21.


  • The federal court approves the first settlement in the Luzerne County "Kids for Cash" class action lawsuit for $17.75 million dollars.
  • Files an amicus brief in Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of 90 organizations and individuals, arguing that juvenile life without parole sentences are unconstitutional. The Court rules in Miller that mandatory juvenile life without parole sentences violate the Eighth Amendment.
  • Files briefs in two cases before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court regarding the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court's Miller decision on the more the 500 individuals in Pennsylvania serving mandatory juvenile life without parole sentences. (Commw. V. Cunningham; Commw. V. Batts).


  • Co-hosts with Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review a colloquium entitled "Roper, Graham, and J.D.B: Re-Defining Juveniles' Constitutional Rights" at Harvard Law School.
  • The New Press publishes William Ecenbarger’s Kids for Cash, which includes Juvenile Law Center's work in uncovering the scandal and efforts to obtain legal remedies for youth and families.
  • Partners with Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR) at Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute to conduct the inaugural Information Sharing Certificate Program.


  • With Education Law Center-PA, develops a set of tools to help educators and administrators understand the issues youth in the foster care system face, and to identify simple interventions that can make a difference helping youth in care succeed in school.
  • Issues report with Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, Maximizing Fostering Connections to Benefit Pennsylvania Youth, to show that Pennsylvania can provide stronger support to older foster youth, encourage adoption and save money by implementing common-sense changes to its foster care policies,
  • Youth Fostering Change creates the Teen Success Agreement to facilitate better communication, collaboration, and goal-setting among older foster youth, foster parents, and social workers.
  • After 244 years since its first publication, the Encyclopædia Britannica discontinues its print edition
  • Trayvon Martin is killed by George Zimmerman in Florida
  • US Supreme Court upholds the Affordable Care Act
  • Superstorm Sandy devastates the New Jersey coast
  • President Obama declares support of same sex marriage
  • Gabrielle Douglas wins the all-around gold medal in gymnastics at the London Summer Olympics


Policy & Legislation

  • Convenes, with Open Society Foundations, Pennsylvania Academic/Career Technical Training Alliance, the Racial Justice Initiative, and the Robert F. Kennedy Juvenile Justice Collaborative, key stakeholders in eight listening sessions across the country to learn more about the challenges of providing quality correctional and reentry education and career/technical training for young people. With these partners, Juvenile Law Center issued Recommendations to Improve Correctional and Reentry Education for Young People.
  • Along with Children's Defense Fund and members of the National Working Group on Foster Care and Education, works closely with Congress prompt passage of the Uninterrupted Scholars Act. This legislation makes it easier for foster youth to succeed in school.


  • Files three cases in Pennsylvania challenging sex offender registration laws for juvenile offenders, and three county trial courts, Monroe, York and Lancaster, declare the law unconstitutional.
  • Negotiates with pro bono counsel Dechert LLP, a $400,000 settlement in T.D. v. Mickens, a case challenging solitary confinement of juveniles.


  • Marsha Levick travels to Okinawa and Tokyo, Japan to teach trial advocacy, and lecture on both the American juvenile justice system and the "kids-for-cash" scandal.
  • City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program honors the life and legacy of former Juveniles for Justice youth advocate, Shirkey Warthen, with a mural entitled Paint Me Like I Am in Southwest Philadelphia.
  • Lourdes Rosado is a featured panelist at WHYY's premiere of The Central Park Five.
  • Hosts national convening on Trauma and Resilience: A New Look at Advocacy for youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.


  • Publishes three tools for youth with disabilities transitioning out of foster care, including Transition Planning for Youth with Disabilities: A Guide for Professionals.
  • Youth Fostering Change publishes For the Love of Success: An Educational Tool Kit for Philadelphia Foster Youth.
  • Juveniles for Justice publishes Youth Guide to the Juvenile Court System: An Information and Advocacy Guide.


  • Marsha Levick receives The Legal Intelligencer’s inaugural Arlen Specter Award.
  • Receives the Gloria J. Jenkins Award for Outstanding Contributions to Juvenile Justice Reform from the Annie E. Casey Foundation Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative.
  • www.jlc.org Named Best "Law" Website in the 17th Annual Webby Awards.
  • Prince George is born
  • NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaks classified documents to media
  • Boston Marathon bombed
  • Nelson Mandela passes away
  • Jorge Bergoglio, Argentine cardinal, elected Pope Francis



  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in a case brought by Juvenile Law Center, rules that the state's sex offender registration law is unconstitutional for juvenile offenders.


  • Kids for Cash, a documentary by Robert May featuring Luzerne County youth and families and Juvenile Law Center, premieres in theaters throughout the country.
  • Participates with National Working Group on Foster Care and Education in Capitol Hill Briefing on Child Welfare and Education
  • Hosts Convening on Transitions to Adulthood in Chicago.
  • Serves as faculty at first Diversion Certificate Program with Georgetown Center for Juvenile Justice Reform.


  • Issues report from 2013 convening on Trauma and Resilience: A New Look at Advocacy for youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
  • Authors Embedding Detention Reform in State Statutes Rules and Regulations report for Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative.
  • Releases Failed Policies; Forfeited Futures: A Nationwide Scorecard on Juvenile Records and Juvenile Records: A National Review of State Laws on Confidentiality, Sealing and Expungement at www.jlc.org/juvenilerecords.
  • Youth Fostering Change releases two publications: A Path to Understanding: A Youth-Developed Guide to Promote Better Communication and Relationships Between Youth and Their Caseworkers and Caregivers, and Youth Assessment Questionnaire: A Tool for Youth to Provide Input into Child Welfare Placement Decisions.


  • Supervising Attorney Jenny Pokempner honored as Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Child Advocate of the Year.
  • Obama announces the resumption of normal relations between the U.S. and Cuba
  • 13-year old female pitcher, Mo’Ne Davis, leads the Philadelphia Taney Dragons to the Little League World Series
  • The Ice-Bucket challenge raises $115 million dollars for ALS research
  • Education advocate and Taliban shooting victim, Malala Yousafzai wins the Nobel Peace Prize
  • Grand juries in Ferguson and New York fail to indict police officers in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner launching a series of protests nationwide
  • Malaysian Airline plane disappears leading to months of searches
  • Ebola outbreak in West Africa results in the first US cases of Ebola
  • Marijuana legal in four states and Washington DC



  • Co-hosts Symposium, Court Involved Youth in the 201st Century: Empowerment vs. Protection, with Temple Law Review (October).
  • Robert Schwartz steps down as Executive Director (October).


  • Releases an interactive online Information Sharing Tool Kit, created in partnership with the Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice and independent consultant Stephanie Rondenell as part of Models for Change juvenile justice reform initiative.
  • Pope Francis visits Philadelphia (September)
  • Offices of Charlie Hebdo Magazine in Paris suffers terrorist attack

Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan

2015-2017 Strategic Plan

Celebrating 40 years of successful advocacy, Juvenile Law Center is the oldest non-profit, public interest law firm for children in the country. Established in 1975, Juvenile Law Center initially represented individual youth in a wide range of proceedings in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Over time, Juvenile Law Center expanded its advocacy for children across Pennsylvania and, by the early 1990s, was addressing child welfare and justice system reform nationwide. Over the last 15 years, we have focused exclusively on legal issues affecting adolescents and older youth in those systems.

40th Anniversary Dinner

Juvenile Law Center 40th Anniversary Dinner

Date: October 13, 2015
Time: 6:00pm - Cocktails;  7:00pm - Dinner
Where: Hyatt at the Bellevue (200 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19102)

We hope you'll join us for this celebratory event, emceed by political analyst, Juan Williams

  • Guest speaker, Jeffrey Toobin
  • Special performance by Gloria Reuben

For more information, visit the event website.

Temple Law Review Annual Symposium

Celebrating 40 years of successful advocacy, Juvenile Law Center is the oldest non-profit, public interest law firm for children in the country. Juvenile Law Center uses an array of legal strategies and legislative advocacy to promote fairness, prevent harm, ensure access to appropriate services, and create opportunities for success for youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. With a staff that is widely published and internationally recognized as thought leaders in the field, Juvenile Law Center’s impact on the development of law and policy on behalf of children is substantial.
The Symposium, entitled Court-Involved Youth in the 21st Century: Empowerment vs. Protection, will expand on Juvenile Law Center’s efforts to address contemporary legal issues facing court-involved youth. Emily Bazelon, a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine, the Truman Capote Fellow for Creative Writing and Law at Yale Law School, and author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy, will be a featured speaker.
Support for this symposium was provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Court-Involved Youth in the 21st Century: Empowerment vs. Protection

Date: October 2-3, 2015
Location: Temple University, Philadelphia, PA

Register now >>

On October 2-3, 2015, the Temple Law Review and Juvenile Law Center will host a Symposium honoring Juvenile Law Center's 40th anniversary. The Symposium will expand on Juvenile Law Center’s efforts to address contemporary legal issues facing court-involved youth.

Emily Bazelon, a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine, the Truman Capote Fellow for Creative Writing and Law at Yale Law School, and author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy, will be a featured speaker.

Other speakers include: Lourdes Rosado, Bruce Boyer, B.J. Casey, Michael Dale, Amanda Fanniff, Kara Finck, Naomi Goldstein, Martin Guggenheim, Sharon Kelley, Ursula Kilkelly, Marsha Levick, Theodor Liebman, Susan Vivian Mangold, Jyoti Nanda, Eliza Patten, Elizabeth Scott, Ann Skelton, Mark Soler, Laurence Steinberg, and Whitney Untiedt.

Support for this symposium was provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.


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With your help, Juvenile Law Center will continue to lead in improving public systems that affect the lives of tens of thousands of young people in the child welfare and justice systems.

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Support Juvenile Law Center

One of the most important lessons from our 40 years of experience is that children involved with the justice and foster care systems need zealous legal advocates. Your support for our work is more important now than ever before. Support