Staff Attorney Corene Kendrick was part of a team of juvenile justice experts organized by the National Juvenile Defender Center to travel to Nebraska to assess the access to and quality of juvenile defense counsel in the state. The National Juvenile Defender Center has performed 16 of these assessments across the country. The assessments provide comprehensive examinations of the systemic and institutional barriers that prevent lawyers from providing adequate legal services to indigent children within a particular state legal system. In addition to gathering general data and information about the structure of the juvenile indigent defense system, assessments examine issues related to the timing of appointment of counsel, the frequency with which children waive their right to counsel and under what conditions they do so, resource allocation, attorney compensation, supervision and training, and access to investigators, experts, social workers and support staff. Assessments also highlight promising approaches and innovative practices within the state and offer recommendations to improve weak areas. These assessments are part of a larger national effort to improve juvenile indigent defense across the country. The Youth Law Center serves as the organizer of the California project to improve indigent defense, funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation .
For more information about the YLC-led project in California, see http://www.ylc.org/articleDetail?id=88
For more information about the NJDC assessments, see http://www.njdc.info/assessments.php.