Juvenile Law Center Launches Digital Youth Advocacy Toolkit

Katy Otto,
YA mosaic

Today Juvenile Law Center launched a Digital Youth Advocacy Toolkit based on a prior report entitled Building the Field of Ethical, Authentic, and Youth-led Advocacy: Key Components of a Youth Advocacy Program. The tool will offer resources to people looking to start or strengthen their own youth advocacy programs, drawing on Juvenile Law Center’s years of experience with its own Youth Advocacy Program.

"Youth expertise is essential to creating knowledgeable, progressive reform policies, and this toolkit is essential for professionals with a desire to employ this expertise," said Cathy Moffa, Youth Advocacy Program Senior Manager. “The launch of this toolkit is personally exciting for me as a professional in the field of youth-led advocacy who has seen the interest in youth informed advocacy efforts grow exponentially in the last ten years. That interest represents an incredible shift both in power and in perspective as new advocacy efforts result in targeted policies informed by youth, that effectively responds to their needs. Increased opportunities for youth to use their lived exercise to inform policies also means that youth are placed in circumstances where they may be asked to share personal information with often little supports for on-going needs or protections in place for them to prevent traumatization and further harm. This toolkit can be a first place for professionals to look to for resources when working with youth.”

“Youth leaders with system experience are essential for transformation of the juvenile justice and child welfare systems,” said Sue Mangold, CEO of Juvenile Law Center. “Next year, Juvenile Law Center is celebrating the 15th year of our Youth Advocacy Program and developed this toolkit to share the key components of an authentic program along with a set of policies to help organizations operate an authentic youth advocacy program. This digital toolkit, created by Cathy Moffa, is a long-awaited contribution to the field.”

The authoring of the report and the creation of the Digital Youth Advocacy Toolkit were both funded by the W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation.

Dive Into the Toolkit

About the Expert
Susan Vivian Mangold is CEO of Juvenile Law Center and a Professor Emeritus at University at Buffalo School of Law, where she taught for over 20 years and served as Vice Dean for Academics. Mangold was also Chair of the University-wide Strategic Strength in Civic Engagement and Public Policy, and brings her expertise in community-based research to Juvenile Law Center.

As Youth Advocacy Program Manager, Cathy manages, coordinates, and facilitates the office's youth advocacy programs: Advocates Transforming Youth Systems, Advocates for Youth Justice, and the Youth Speakers Bureau. Additionally, Cathy supervises the yearly social work intern.

Katy Otto joined Juvenile Law Center in 2016. With a background in communications, development and government relations, she is responsible for the organization’s overall messaging strategy and implementation. She is passionate about youth justice, and committed to ensuring that the public learns about the challenges facing youth in the child welfare and justice systems.