We believe in the power of youth voices. Young people are experts on their own lives. Their lived experiences are invaluable to informing the policies that affect them.

Recognizing this, Juvenile Law Center launched two youth advocacy programs in 2008 - Youth Fostering Change and Juveniles for Justice. These programs recruit and train young people with current or past involvement in the child welfare or justice systems to lead advocacy and policy reform efforts in their communities.

Our youth advocates work for change through policy advocacy, media outreach, and public education. We amplify their voices and expertise through these programs and advocacy efforts.

"How Juvenile Law Center incorporates the youth voice into their work is really important in this field. I feel like I'm on the cutting edge of what's going on as far as advocacy work." Marcus Jarvis, Juveniles for Justice alumnus

What We're Doing

Since 2008, Juvenile Law Center has operated Youth Fostering Change and Juveniles for Justice. With our expertise, staffing and experience, we not only promote reform in Philadelphia - we also work to bring youth advocacy programs to scale in communities across the country.

Our youth advocacy program team is headed by two social workers who provide advocates with essential support and ensure they develop the skills needed to serve as successful advocates. Youth advocates develop leadership skills, political knowledge, and a sense of community. They speak directly to policymakers, write op-eds and make media appearances, and inform Juvenile Law Center’s overall advocacy strategies.

Youth advocates receive stipends in recognition of their expertise and for their contributions to our advocacy and reform efforts.

About the Programs

A program for youth with experience in the juvenile justice system which gives them the opportunity to assess the system's strengths and weaknesses and then develop and implement advocacy projects each year.

A program for youth who are currently or formerly involved in the child welfare system which gives them the opportunity to evaluate the system and develop campaigns for change.

We're accepting applications our youth advocacy programs. Submit your application today!


We are accepting applications for the 2018-2019 program for both Juveniles for Justice and Youth Fostering Change. Our programs are for youth ages 16-22 who are currently in or have had experiences in foster care and/or the juvenile justice systems. We're looking for young people who have an interest in using their experiences to improve these systems for themselves and other youth. Youth advocates meet once a week for two hours at the Juvenile Law Center to build advocacy skills and launch their advocacy campaign.  Click the links to download the program applications.

Juveniles for Justice application >>

Youth Fostering Change application >>

The application deadline is September 7, 2018. All applicants will be called for an interview and will know they're final application status by the last week of September 2018.    
How to Apply

Fill out the appropriate application and drop it off or mail it to the address below. You can also fax your application(s) to 215-625-2808. 

ATTN: Youth Advocacy Program/Applications
Juvenile Law Center
1315 Walnut Street, 4th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Do you work with youth? We'd love to present to your staff and youth about our youth advocacy programs! Contact us by August 3, 2018 if you would like to schedule an in-person presentation.

How You Can Help

Your support helps directly fund our youth advocacy programs and supports the youth advocates' important work.