Juvenile Law Center Launches Report on Grievance Policies for Youth in Placement

Christina K. Sorenson, Esq.,
a field of mouths on a white background

The report by former Soros Fellow Christina K. Sorenson shines a light on the deficiencies in grievance procedures for youth in the system 


Philadelphia, PA (February 3, 2023) – Today Juvenile Law Center announced the publication of former 2019 Soros Justice Fellow Christina K. Sorenson, Esq.’s “Screaming Into the Void.” The report outlines the grievance policies and procedures available to youth in the justice and child welfare systems in all 50 states, shares the limitations of our current approaches, and sets forth a blueprint for better practices for states, localities and institutions to ensure that children are treated with dignity, care and respect while in state custody.  


“I hope this report will inspire jurisdictions to adopt adequate youth-centered grievance protections that create space for more youth to break through the barriers to being seen, heard, and protected,” said Sorenson. That work is already underway. This past year, Juvenile Law Center, with leadership from young people in Advocates for Youth Justice, was instrumental in the creation of a Youth Ombudsperson Office for the city of Philadelphia. The organization is partnering with other groups in Pennsylvania to create a statewide Office for the Child Advocate.  


Juvenile Law Center recognizes the importance of reporting and oversight to keep young people safe, and ultimately to prevent system involvement and out-of-home placement. According to Juvenile Law Center Senior Managing Director Jessica Feierman, “Across the country, children in institutional placements face physical, sexual, and emotional abuse – and then they are silenced about it. This publication highlights policies that would instead center youth voices and provide young people with greater power over their individual and collective circumstances.” 


About the Expert

Jessica Feierman oversees Juvenile Law Center’s projects and programs. Feierman currently leads a national effort to end fines and fees in the juvenile justice system and is engaged in litigation aimed at eliminating solitary confinement and other abusive practices in juvenile facilities.

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.

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