Philadelphia’s Juveniles for Justice Releases Eye-Opening Publication on Conditions in Institutional Placement for Youth

Juvenile Law Center ,

Youth advocates share their own experiences in detention and placement, highlighting abusive practices

Philadelphia, PA (December 7, 2018): Juveniles for Justice, an advocacy program at Juvenile Law Center for youth with experience in the justice system, today released Broken Bridges. This publication highlights the experiences of the Philadelphia youth in institutional placements. Juveniles for Justice will hold a community event Wednesday, December 19th at the South Philadelphia Free Library to share both the report and their recommendations for reform.

“The most shocking part of this project is that these experiences didn’t seem out of the ordinary initially for the youth advocates,” said Cathy Moffa, Youth Advocacy Program Manager of Juvenile Law Center, who staffs the program. “They had been treated so horribly for so long in placement that this behavior seemed normal. That should be shocking to everyone who reads this. Imagine every teenager that you know experiencing what these teenagers have experienced.”

This afternoon, members of Juveniles for Justice will also be sharing the Broken Bridges report with Philadelphia Department of Human Services Commissioner Cynthia Figueroa and other DHS officials. City Council recently convened a taskforce established to improve institutional conditions for youth in Philadelphia. This taskforce was created following a City Council hearing, convened by Councilmember Helen Gym, in which members of Juveniles for Justice shared some of the accounts that would eventually become Broken Bridges.

Juveniles for Justice dedicated last year to work around conditions in youth prisons and placements.

Youth advocates from the program as well as staff who oversee the program are available for comment.

Juveniles for Justice and its sister program Youth Fostering Change (a youth advocacy program for youth with experience in the child welfare system) are also celebrating ten years this year. Follow along for a glimpse of this celebration with #10YearsofYA.

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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


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