Juvenile Law Center’s Joshua Branch Named 2019-2020 Youth Justice Leadership Institute Fellow

Juvenile Law Center ,

Philadelphia, PA (August 8, 2019): Today the National Juvenile Justice Network announced its cohort of 2019-2020 Youth Justice Leadership Institute Fellows.  Among those named was Joshua Branch, current Zubrow Fellow at Juvenile Law Center. Mr. Branch’s advocacy project is his ongoing work to end juvenile fines and fees in Maryland – an effort supported in part by Arnold Ventures.

“I’m honored to continue the rich tradition of youth advocates of color with YJLI and NJJN,” said Mr. Branch. “This fellowship amplifies the voice of young leaders of color providing opportunities to lead within the field and continue to advocate for our communities.”

The Institute, a project of the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN), is a year-long leadership development program for youth justice reform advocates. NJJN provides context and resources to the cohort, offering community, strategic advice, connection to current leaders in the field, and general guidance.

“At Juvenile Law Center, part of our mission is to grow the field of children’s rights attorneys. Josh is a committed and skilled attorney, a future leader in our field,” said Sue Mangold, CEO of Juvenile Law Center. “We congratulate him on this YJLI Fellowship and applaud the work of our partners at NJJN.”

According to NJJN’s website, “Youth justice solutions that are crafted without the critical knowledge of people of color are of little long-term value in freeing communities from oppression. Leaders of color connected to, proud of, and hopeful for their communities will be integral to the fundamental changes needed for true justice. While there is a robust advocacy movement for youth justice transformation, if the advocates and organizers do not appropriately reflect the communities most affected by the juvenile justice system, their activities will likely mirror – and may in fact perpetuate – the power imbalances, inequities and patronizing approaches that plague juvenile justice systems today and that have done so historically. We believe that the voices and determination of communities of color, youth and family members are critical to the implementation of any meaningful durable reform. We developed the Youth Justice Leadership Institute to elevate, support and follow the leadership of those most directly affected, in order to achieve a truly just system.”

Last year, a groundbreaking bill was introduced in the Maryland State Legislature by Delegate Erek Barron, but did not make it out of committee. Mr. Branch is determined to help it advance in the coming year. Recently, California and Nevada eliminated juvenile fines and fees, which disproportionately punish low-income youth caught up in the justice system along with their families.

Mr. Branch is available for comment and interview.


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.

About the Expert

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. Prior to coming to Juvenile Law Center, Otto worked at a number of organizations dedicated to social justice issues – reproductive health and rights, sexual violence prevention, intimate partner violence, homelessness, and