#10YearsofYA: Youth-Led Advocacy in DC
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.