YLC Taps Jennifer Rodriguez for Executive Director

January 25, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 25, 2012

OUTGOING DIRECTOR CAROLE SHAUFFER WILL CONTINUE TO SPEARHEAD YLC’S STRATEGIC INITIATIVES

The Youth Law Center (YLC), a public interest law firm that protects children in the nation’s foster care and juvenile justice systems, has tapped YLC attorney Jennifer Rodriguez to serve as the firm’s Executive Director. Rodriguez will be stepping into the position held for 18 years by Carole Shauffer, while Shauffer will assume the role of Senior Director, Strategic Initiatives. The transition signals YLC’s continued commitment to its core mission of standing up for children at risk, while expanding its advocacy and training strategies to accomplish that mission.

Rodriguez’s teenage and adult life has been dedicated to advocacy on behalf of foster care and juvenile justice involved youth after experiencing first-hand the struggles youth face in both systems. YLC’s unique reputation of being an organization that strategically addresses the issues that matter most to system-involved children and youth led Rodriguez to YLC after eight years of leading community organizing and legislative advocacy efforts with other foster youth in the California Youth Connection. In Rodriguez’s four years at YLC, she has focused on a number of collaborative advocacy projects including improving quality of foster care, providing incarcerated youth access to visitation with their children, and improving services available to assist foster and probation youth to transition to adulthood. “I am humbled by the opportunity to support YLC’s talented attorneys in continuing progress towards our goal to improve the lives of the most vulnerable young people. Having grown up under the charge of the foster care and juvenile justice systems, I believe deeply that the work YLC does is critical in transforming our systems so young people are treated with the dignity and care every child deserves. I can’t imagine a greater honor than to lead efforts to help systems be responsive to this need.”

After 18 years at the helm and a total of 30 years as an attorney at YLC, Shauffer is stepping away from the directorship to focus her energies on strategic initiatives. This will expand YLC’s focus on improving the quality of out-of-home care by incorporating research on child development and adult learning as well as successful business strategies into child welfare and juvenile justice reform effort. Shauffer’s distinguished tenure at YLC is highlighted by myriad accomplishments including dramatic reductions in the use of group care for young children and litigation to reduce abusive practices in juvenile justice facilities. “The Youth Law Center’s extraordinarily experienced, committed and knowledgeable attorneys will continue to do the outstanding work they are known for under Jennifer’s talented and passionate leadership,” said Shauffer.

“We are thrilled about Jennifer’s becoming Executive Director,” said Bill Koski, YLC’s Board Chair. “Her passion and commitment to the most disadvantaged children will serve our clients and communities well. We’re also incredibly fortunate to have Carole continue to share her expertise and creativity as she moves YLC in new and important directions.”

The Youth Law Center is a public interest law firm that works to protect children in the nation’s foster care and juvenile justice systems from abuse and neglect, and to ensure that they receive the necessary support and services to become healthy and productive adults. Since 1978, YLC’s lawyers have worked across the United States to reduce the use of out-of-home care and incarceration; ensure safe and humane conditions in out-of home placements; keep children out of adult jails; and secure equitable treatment for children in both systems.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONTACT: January 25, 2012

Jennifer Rodriguez, 415/543-3379 ext. 3922, jrodriguez@ylc.org

Carole Shauffer, 415/543-3379 ext. 3227, cshauffer@ylc.org

William Koski, 650/724-3718, bkoski@stanford.edu