We believe in the power of youth voice. Young people are experts on their own lives, and their lived experiences should inform policies that affect them.


Juvenile Law Center’s Youth Advocacy Program creates opportunities for youth in child welfare, also referred to as the family policing system, and justice systems to lead advocacy efforts in their communities. Youth in these groups work to affect policy change through policy advocacy, media outreach, and public education. In the Youth Advocacy Program, youth develop leadership skills, political knowledge, communication and storytelling skills, and a sense of community.    

We are looking for youth between the ages 16-22 who have current or former experience with either the child welfare and/or the justice system, and an interest in using their experiences to improve these systems for themselves, and other youth.  Please note youth MUST have experience in these systems to qualify for  the program.  Our deadline for applicants is  August 31st. All applicants will be called for a phone or virtual interview and will know if they will be starting this fall by the end of September. Programming for the 2021-2022 cohort will begin late fall (expected start of workshops is the second week of October). When virtual programming begins, youth advocates meet once a week for two hours via Zoom with their team members to build advocacy skills and launch their advocacy campaign.     

Please also share this information with your staff, other colleagues, and agencies who support youth in these systems to help us reach a wide pool of applicants. The deadline for all applications is AUGUST 31st!  We are also happy to speak with staff and youth via email, phone, or conference call, and or virtual video conference to your young people to talk about and recruit for the Youth Advocacy Program.   

To apply: Fill out the application for Juveniles for Justice found here and for Youth Fostering Change found here and email it to our program staff: Marcía Hopkins at mhopkins@jlc.org, Cathy Moffa at cmoffa@jlc.org, and/or Kade Diakite at kdiakite@jlc.org.  If a young person has difficulty emailing an application, please encourage them to call Marcía at 215-625-0551 ext. 127, Cathy at 215-625-0551 ext. 108, or Kade at 215-625-0551 ext. 131. They can also email Marcía , Cathy or Kade. We will get back to them at their earliest convenience. 

* Juveniles for Justice is going through a name change this year because we understand the negative implications of calling a group of children with experience in the justice system "juveniles" and hope to collectively identify a name that better suits the work and the young advocates while working to reduce harm.

"How Juvenile Law Center incorporates the youth voice is really important. 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


Since 2008, Juvenile Law Center’s Youth Advocacy Program has prepared young people to lead advocacy and policy reform efforts in their local communities and beyond. Learn how you can help them grow.

Our youth advocates have led many critical policy changes, from improving access to record expungement to empowering youth in foster care in dependency court. They speak directly to lawmakers and make national media appearances; their resources and tool kits have been used across the country. They have testified at Congressional briefings and met with White House staff.

Our Programs

Youth advocates in Juveniles for Justice have tackled big issues in the juvenile justice system. Click to learn more about their impact.

Our program for youth with experience in the child welfare system has empowered young people to advocate for themselves and for systemic reform. 

How You Can Help

Our youth advocates have led critical policy changes in Philly and beyond. Become a Youth Advocacy Sustainer today to support their work!