Juvenile Law Center Announces 2020 Leadership Prize Recipients

Juvenile Law Center,

PHILADELPHIA, PA (January 10, 2020) - Today Juvenile Law Center, the nation’s first public interest law firm for children, is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2020 Leadership Prize, coinciding this year with the organization’s 45th anniversary. The organization’s annual Leadership Prize is awarded to outstanding individuals working in any field — law, government, the arts, media, entertainment, sports, business, or any other sector — who are fighting for the rights and well-being of youth in the child welfare and justice systems. The work of our awardees has substantially improved the lives of the country’s most vulnerable youth.

The 2020 winners of the Prize are:

  • Stephen K. Harper, Assistant Clinical Professor, Florida International University College of Law
  • Sherry Lachman, Founder and Executive Director, Foster America
  • Shannan Wilber, Youth Policy Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights

Please read more about the awardees here.

“All of us are thrilled to be honoring such worthy recipients of the Juvenile Law Center Leadership Prize. Especially as we celebrate our 45th Anniversary, we re-commit ourselves to our mission on behalf of youth in the justice and child welfare systems. The remarkable work of all of the winners has helped to shed light on the lives of these children and to reform the systems meant to serve them. We applaud Shannan, Sherry and Stephen and look forward to celebrating together on May 14th!”

The 2020 Leadership Prize Selection Committee included R. Daniel Okonkwo (Chair), Vice President, JP Morgan Chase Corporate Responsibility and Office of Nonprofit Engagement; Kate Burdick, Senior Attorney, Juvenile Law Center; Brandon Buskey, Deputy Director for Smart Justice Litigation, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project; Emily Buss, Juvenile Law Center Board Member, Mark and Barbara Fried Professor of Law, University of Chicago; Jasmine Moore, Youth Advocacy Alumni Fellow, Juvenile Law Center; and Nicole Pittman, 2019 Leadership Prize Winner, Roadmap Initiative. The celebration event for the Prize will take place at the National Constitution Center on May 14th – click here for details.

Recipients of the Leadership Prize are leading lights whose inspirational careers are beacons for future generations and whose work has substantially improved the lives of youth. The inaugural recipient, Juvenile Law Center Co-Founder Robert Schwartz, not only brought Juvenile Law Center to national and international prominence over the course of his 40 years of leadership, he also helped develop the nascent field of children’s law, inspiring thousands of children’s rights advocates working nationwide. Today, Juvenile Law Center is recognized both nationally and internationally for its expertise as a trailblazer in the field of children’s rights law.


Katy Otto, Juvenile Law Center, 215-625-0551 x 128, [email protected]

Juvenile Law Center advocates for rights, dignity, equity and opportunity for youth in the foster care and justice systems. Founded in 1975, Juvenile Law Center is the first non-profit, public interest law firm for children in the country. We fight for youth through litigation, appellate advocacy and submission of amicus (friend-of-the-court) briefs, policy reform, public education, training, consulting, and strategic communications. Widely published and internationally recognized as leaders in the field, Juvenile Law Center has substantially shaped the development of law and policy on behalf of youth. We strive to ensure that laws, policies, and practices affecting youth advance racial and economic equity and are rooted in research, consistent with children’s unique developmental characteristics, and reflective of international human rights values. For more information about Juvenile Law Center’s work, visit www.JLC.org.