#10YearsofYA: Youth-Led Advocacy in DC

Juvenile Law Center,
YFC in front of Congress.

This article is part of a series celebrating the tenth anniversary of Juvenile Law Center’s youth advocacy programs. Since 2008, our programs have recruited and trained young people with current or past involvement in the child welfare or justice systems to lead advocacy and policy reform efforts in their communities.

Please follow our hashtags#10YearsofYA#10YearsofJ4J, #10YearsofYFCand become a Youth Advocacy Sustainer to support these young people as they continue to fight for change in years to come!

As part of our #10YearsofYA celebration this year, we’re spending December in DC (figuratively) by looking back at the Youth Advocacy Program’s national work. Our youth advocates know that their experiences are—unfortunately—not unique, and that the issues they work on affect tens of thousands of young people nationwide.

Both Juveniles for Justice and Youth Fostering Change often travel to Washington, DC to advocate for change at the highest levels possible. Youth advocates frequently meet with members of Congress and federal officials to discuss their policy recommendations on issues ranging from education and college readiness to preventing youth homelessness. In addition, both active members and alumni from J4J and YFC regularly present at national conferences, federal legislative briefings, and participate in focus groups.

We’re so proud of J4J and YFC! Please help us celebrate their national work by sharing some of the images below and using #10YearsofYA, #10YearsofJ4J, and #10YearsofYFC.

In 2015, J4J traveled to the capitol to advocate for the education rights of youth in the justice system. They met with U.S. Senators, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Justice. J4J’s recommendations to improve educational outcomes for justice-involved youth were reflected in changes made to the Every Student Succeeds Act, which passed Congress later that year.

J4J youth advocates outside the US Dept. of Education in a 2015 trip to Washington, DC.

TWEET this: Youth voice makes a difference! In 2015, J4J went to DC to present their policy recommendations to the U.S. Department of Education and members of Congress.

J4J meeting with U.S. Dept of Education in 2015.


The same year, members of YFC spoke at a federal legislative briefing focused on youth homelessness, which included a closed meeting with staffers from U.S. Senator Bob Casey’s office. YFC’s 2015 advocacy project focused on the same issue, and they met with U.S. Senator Toomey’s staff to discuss their policy recommendations to prevent homelessness for youth in foster care, especially young people who age out of the system.

YFC presenting at federal legislative briefing in 2015.

TWEET this: Youth-led advocacy works! In 2015, YFC presented at a federal legislative briefing on preventing youth homelessness and met with staffers from U.S. Senator Bob Casey's office.

Members of YFC speaking with staffers from U.S. Senator Bob Casey's office.