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.

With increasing success, demand for our expertise and assistance has grown substantially in recent years. At the same time, we continue to refine and sharpen our strategies to have a greater impact for more children. As a result, Juvenile Law Center’s reach and influence now extends across the nation and around the world. Rigorous strategic planning efforts allow us to remain at the cutting edge of legal advocacy, anticipate the next wave of threats, identify emerging trends, and recognizing new opportunities to give vulnerable youth a better chance to succeed.

Juvenile Law Center is, in its 40th year, a 20-person (12-lawyer) public interest law firm with a $2.9 million budget. Our staff has cultivated a distinctive competence in child welfare, juvenile and criminal justice, and a robust body of research on adolescent development and youth transitioning to adulthood. Juvenile Law Center has a national Board with diverse experience. We have also dramatically increased our investment in strategic communications. While our budget has grown, we have also built a rainy day fund. 

Juvenile Law Center works towards a vision of a society in which all children at risk and who come into contact with the child welfare and justice systems have equal rights and opportunities to succeed.


Juvenile Law Center strives to ensure that:

  • Laws, policies and practices affecting youth in the child welfare and justice systems are grounded in principles of adolescent development and other relevant research;
  • The United States legal system recognizes and incorporates international human rights principles in providing greater protections to youth in the child welfare and justice systems;
  • Justice and child welfare systems respond appropriately to the impact of trauma on youths’ behavior; and
  • Justice and child welfare systems address economic opportunity and minimize disproportionality along race and class lines.