Click the logos to learn more about each of our youth advocacy programs.
Juvenile Law Center’s youth advocacy programs create opportunities for youth in the child welfare and justice systems to lead advocacy efforts in their communities. Youth in Juvenile Law Center’s youth advocacy programs work to affect policy change through policy advocacy, media outreach, and public education. Youth develop leadership skills, political knowledge, communication and storytelling skills, and a sense of community. By sharing their personal experiences with Juvenile Law Center staff, youth also provide insight into the organization’s advocacy priorities.
Each year, Youth Fostering Change and Juveniles for Justice select an area of focus, determine a strategy to address it, and implement their project. Projects areas include juvenile records expungement, access to education, preventing youth homelessness, and improving foster care placements for older youth. Juvenile Law Center provides essential support, ensuring that the participants develop the skills they need to succeed.
Youth with child welfare or juvenile justice system involvement are largely excluded from reform work as policymakers and other stakeholders make decisions. Yet youth’s personal experiences are necessary to create informed, progressive, reform-oriented policies. To amplify their voices, Juvenile Law Center launched the youth advocacy programs for youth to give system-involved youth the chance to evaluate the system and develop and implement reform campaigns. Juvenile Law Center was awarded a start-up grant in 2008 to kick off the first year of Juveniles for Justice. Building on the success of the program, Juvenile Law Center launched the Youth Fostering Change program the following year.
As more alumni of the programs engaged in speaking engagements across Philadelphia, Juvenile Law Center founded the Youth Speakers Bureau in 2011 to prioritize a youth perspective in policy and reform discussions nationwide. The Youth Speakers Bureau partners with undergraduate speaking advisors from the University of Pennsylvania to help the youth advocates develop public speaking skills. Our youth have presented to law students, attorneys, judges, child welfare administrators, state and federal legislators, and policy advocates across the country.
Our Youth Engagement Programs are made possible by the generous support of The Claneil Foundation, W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation, Stoneleigh Foundation, Henrietta Tower Wurts Memorial, and YOUTHadelphia.
Please note that applications for the programs become available in the summer months. If you know a young person between the ages of 15 and 22 with system involvement, please contact a Youth Advocacy Program Manager.
An adjudication of delinquency may limit opportunities to seek higher education, obtain employment, or enlist in the military.
Pennsylvania Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network, "The Pennsylvania Juvenile Collateral Consequences Checklist," May 2010.
In 2006 over 500,000 youth were in foster care on any given day.
Honoring Emancipated Youth. "Barriers Facing Foster Care Youth: National and Local Statistics about Emancipating Foster Youth." heysf.org. Honoring Emancipated Youth, n. d. Web. May 2011.
Research indicates that youth engagement positively impacts youth and that the adults and organizations involved in youth engagement efforts also receive benefits.
|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|