Juvenile Law Center

May 01, 2017

Advocates Launch Youth Matters: Philly App for Youth in Foster Care or Experiencing Homelessness

To kick off National Foster Care Month today, Juvenile Law Center and University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice unveiled Youth Matters: Philly – an innovative app created with Penn computer science students Rani Iyer, Zhiyu Meng, and Ben Sandler. The app is targeted towards youth in foster care or experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia, and helps them to connect with vital resources and programs easily and quickly.

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April 27, 2017

Advocates Launch Website with Educational Resources and Best Practices for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System

Today The Legal Center for Youth Justice and Education (LCYJE) – a national collaboration of Southern Poverty Law Center, Juvenile Law Center, Educational Law Center-PA, and the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law unveiled the website Blueprint for Change: Education Success for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System. This website, modeled on the successful Blueprint for Change: Education Success for Children in Foster Care, offers a framework for promoting educational success for youth in the juvenile justice system. The site includes benchmarks for success and resources broken down both nationally and state by state.

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April 19, 2017

Civil Rights Groups File Preliminary Injunction in Case Against Wisconsin State Officials to Halt Unconstitutional Use of Solitary Confinement, Other Inhumane Conditions in State-Run Youth Correctional Facilities

Today the ACLU of Wisconsin and Juvenile Law Center, with pro-bono assistance from Quarles & Brady, filed a request for a preliminary injunction in federal court to halt the unconstitutional use of solitary confinement and other inhumane conditions and practices for youth in state-run correctional facilities. The suit was originally filed in January on behalf of youth confined in the Lincoln Hills School for Boys and the Copper Lake School for Girls. Earlier this week, the groups filed an amended complaint with additional children incarcerated at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake as plaintiffs.

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March 29, 2017

In L.B.M. Case, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules Youth in Foster Care Facing Termination of Parental Rights Have a Right to an Attorney

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court yesterday reversed and remanded the order terminating parental rights in the case of L.B.M., holding that failure to appoint client-directed counsel to represent the children’s legal interests was a structural error. Juvenile Law Center filed an amicus brief in this case and applauds this outcome. “This case represents a key victory in the state of Pennsylvania for children’s rights,” said Lisa Swaminathan, Staff Attorney at Juvenile Law Center, who led the amicus brief effort. ACLU of Pennsylvania, Community Legal Services, National Association of Counsel for Children, National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel, and Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network all joined in the brief.

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January 24, 2017

Civil Rights Groups File Class Action Lawsuit Against Wisconsin State Officials for Unconstitutional Use of Solitary Confinement, Other Inhumane Conditions in State-Run Youth Correctional Facilities

The ACLU of Wisconsin and Juvenile Law Center, with pro-bono assistance from Quarles & Brady, filed a class action lawsuit today in federal court against four Wisconsin state officials, including Wisconsin Secretary of Corrections Jon E. Litscher, citing the unconstitutional use of solitary confinement and inhumane conditions for youth in state-run correctional facilities. The suit was filed on behalf of youth confined in the Lincoln Hills School for Boys and the Copper Lake School for Girls.

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January 12, 2017

Department of Justice Takes Action on Costs, Fines and Fees for Juvenile Offenders

Today the Department of Justice issued critical guidance on the use of costs, fines and fees for youth in the juvenile justice system. This development follows a campaign of advocacy and research on the widespread abuse of costs, fines and fees in the juvenile justice system, and Juvenile Law Center’s publication of a groundbreaking national report on the issue.

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December 20, 2016

Atlantic Center for Capital Representation and Juvenile Law Center Ask Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Clarify Re-Sentencing in Juvenile Life Without Parole Cases for Juveniles Convicted of Second Degree Murder Who Did Not Kill or Intend to Kill

Today the Atlantic Center for Capital Representation and Juvenile Law Center asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to exercise its extraordinary jurisdiction to clarify whether juveniles previously convicted of Second Degree Murder, who did not kill or intend to kill, must be sentenced significantly more leniently than juveniles who have been convicted of First Degree Murder. The state Supreme Court has yet to address the sentencing rights of this particular group of juvenile offenders in the wake of two U.S. Supreme Court rulings, Miller v Alabama (2012) and Montgomery v Louisiana (2016), which invalidated Pennsylvania’s mandatory juvenile life without parole sentencing scheme for all juveniles convicted of homicide.

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August 31, 2016

New National Report Shows Rise of Debtors’ Prison for Kids, With Implications for Racial Disparities in Juvenile Courts

Juvenile Law Center today released a groundbreaking national report, Debtors’ Prison for Kids? The High Cost of Fines and Fees in the Juvenile Justice System.

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August 11, 2016

New Social Security Policy Benefits Youth Leaving Foster Care

A new policy from the Social Security Administration (SSA) went into effect on August 1st to allow foster youth of all ages with disabilities to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits six months before they leave care. This policy will remain in effect for one year, after which SSA will evaluate its success and make any necessary modifications.

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May 26, 2016

Oregon Supreme Court Reverses Lower Court’s Decision to Charge 13-Year-Old as Adult

In an important win for children who may face transfer to adult court, the Oregon State Supreme Court today interpreted the state’s transfer statute to require juvenile courts to consider juveniles’ unique emotional and intellectual capacities before they may be transferred to adult court. In doing so, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remanded the case of State v. J.C.N.-V. back to the juvenile court for consideration under the proper interpretation of the standard.

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