Juvenile Law Center

Pursuing justiceA Juvenile law center Blog

June 22, 2012

U.N.-Adopted Guidelines Show International Recognition of Need for Greater Protections for Youth in Juvenile and Criminal Court Proceedings

posted by Kacey Mordecai, Stoneleigh Fellow, Juvenile Law Center

Photo by SVLumagraphica/Photos.com

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently celebrated the publication of the United Nations Economic and Social Council's adoption of the First International Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems. DOJ praised the Guidelines, calling them "a significant milestone in the global development of fair and just systems of criminal justice."

Notably, the Guidelines emphasize the special vulnerability of children in conflict with the law. (In the United States, these are children who are arrested.) The Guidelines single children out as a group entitled to special measures and additional protections. In doing so, the new Guidelines not only recognize that "children should have access to legal aid under the same conditions or more lenient conditions as adults," but they also reaffirm many of the goals toward which Juvenile Law Center strives on behalf of children in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. 

Tags:Juvenile and Criminal Justice
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May 31, 2012

How You Can Help Improve The Child Welfare System

posted by Juvenile Law Center

As National Foster Care Month comes to a close, Juvenile Law Center hopes you will continue to listen to the voices of current and former foster youth to understand the realities of the foster care system, along with the actions you can take and support you can provide to help improve the child welfare system. 

As you've seen from the posts of our guest bloggers, youth in care have the same needs, hopes, and dreams of all youth, but often are not provided the support, resources, and care that all children deserve to make a successful transition to adulthood. One way to understand the needs and hopes of foster youth is by learning more about the work of Youth Fostering Change, our youth engagement group for current and former foster youth.

Tags:Youth Fostering Change|Child Welfare and Foster Care|Youth Engagement Programs
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May 30, 2012

Guest Blog: "Don't Push Us Out, Stand Up For Us"

posted by Breonia, former foster youth

I did not age out of foster care. I was pushed out, and too many kids are pushed out of foster care each year before they are ready. Without a real plan and support, I have struggled. As a young woman who spent many years in foster care, I am used to facing challenges, but I think the child welfare system could do much more to help us face the challenges involved in becoming an adult. Rather than pushing us out, I wish the child welfare system and those who run it would stand up for us, fight for us. 

Tags:Child Welfare and Foster Care
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May 30, 2012

Shackling Youth, Strip-Searching Adults: PA Legislature Leans Forward While U.S. Supreme Court Leans Backwards

posted by Juvenile Law Center

Pennsylvania just took a giant step forward with respect to its treatment of youth in the juvenile justice system while the United States Supreme Court recently took a giant step backwards in declaring the strip searching of adultsarrested and detained for even the most minor offensesa valid practice under our Constitution. 

In Pennsylvania, one of the last pieces of legislative reform emerging from the Luzerne County juvenile court judges' scandal fell into place this week. Governor Tom Corbett signed Senate Bill 817 into law, prohibiting the shackling of children in juvenile court unless there are extreme or exceptional circumstances. The law, sponsored by Senator Lisa Baker, reinforces a juvenile court rule adopted last year by Pennsylvania's Supreme Court. The law and rules give Pennsylvania youth two layers of protection against what is nothing more than state-inflicted trauma. 

Tags:Juvenile and Criminal Justice
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May 22, 2012

Guest Blog: "When I Turn 18, I'm Requesting To Stay In Foster Care Until Age 21"

posted by Megan H., foster youth, Philadelphia

My name is Megan. I'm a 17-year-old senior in high school. I entered foster care at the age of seven. My mother was a drug abuser and I didn't know my father so I was placed in the custody of the child welfare agency. Since 2002, I've been placed in multiple foster homes and one kinship care home. Most of the foster homes that I've been in didn't have positive outcomes. I lived with my oldest sister twice. Moving constantly affected my education and schooling. When I was being moved I lost credits in one of my classes, so I had to retake a 10th grade class in 12th grade. I've been enrolled in nine different schools.

Tags:Child Welfare and Foster Care|Extended Care and Reentry (Foster Care)|Transitions to Adulthood (Foster Care)
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