Youth Law Center 2023 Advocacy for Impact: Part 2. Juvenile Justice Systems in California and Nationwide

The Youth Law Center’s advocacy work to change systems through impact litigation, movement lawyering, policy reform, collaboration, public education and training, and coalition building is unique. We integrate developmental research in practice and policy; use the law to define, protect, and affirm young people’s rights; mobilize lawyers and other advocates; and, most importantly, listen to […]

Youth Law Center 2023 Advocacy for Impact: Part I. Foster Care Systems in California and Nationwide

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Youth Law Center’s advocacy work to change systems through impact litigation, movement lawyering, policy reform, collaboration, public education and training, and coalition building is unique. We integrate developmental research in practice and policy; […]

Watch Our “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” Education Report Webinar Recap

We’ve had a full week here at Youth Law Center and are grateful to you for your engagement and support, enabling our fight for the rights of children and youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems across the country. Out of Sight, Out of Mind  Webinar Recap We hosted a webinar for our Out […]

Join our event on September 19th!

Please join us on Tuesday, September 19th at noon PT for an engaging discussion focused on the first 45 years of the Youth Law Center’s work transforming foster care and juvenile justice systems across the country through legal advocacy and innovation. Featuring our Executive Director, members of our Board of Directors, Nancy Wiltsek of the […]

Our New Impact Report is Available Online

Now in our fifth decade of fighting for justice systems-involved children and youth, we have released our new impact report chronicling our hard won victories, and our ongoing work using the law to create real and sustainable changes in the lives of children and youth. We invite you to read the report here:

Preventing the criminalization and incarceration of children and youth in Tennessee

As advocates for youth in the youth justice system, we are disturbed to see the Governor of Tennessee and legislature propose increasing youth incarceration as a response to the tragic mass shooting at The Covenant School. While Governor Lee and legislators continue to argue that youth crime is a huge problem, the Tennessee Bureau of […]

Youth Law Center Stands Against Harmful Efforts to Incarcerate Youth in Adult Facilities

Many across the nation were captivated by the expulsion hearings of the Tennessee Three, but few would have anticipated that the ongoing political battles in the state would choose youth in the juvenile justice system as the next target. Youth Law Center staff have continued to work on the ground in Tennessee to ensure that youth in the juvenile justice […]

Youth Law Center advocacy results in additional California funding to increase education access for juvenile justice involved youth

The Youth Law Center’s advocacy resulted in the new 2023-2024 California State budget requirement that all county probation departments offer in-person or online college courses in youth detention facilities. This expands upon a $15 million annual investment into community college programs for detained youth included in last year’s budget. Providing youth in the juvenile justice system with […]

Youth Law Center lawsuit results in disbandment of Probation Consortium

Four months ago the Youth Law Center, representing the California Alliance for Youth and Community Justice, sued a private California County Probation Consortium for violations of state laws concerning open meetings and open records. The consortium’s actions had prevented youth and families from participating in important juvenile justice reform planning. In a victory for youth and families […]

Youth Law Center authors chapter in new NACC book

The National Association of Counsel For Children (NACC) recently released the 4th edition of its Child Welfare Law and Practice: Representing Children, Parents, and Agencies in Neglect, Abuse, and Dependency Cases (“the Red Book”). This textbook is used as a national resource for attorneys and judges and provides the framework for NACC’s child welfare law specialist credential. […]

Judgment Entered on Sacramento County’s Unlicensed Placements

Sacramento County has had children and youth in the foster care system in various unlicensed settings over the past several years. Most recently, youth were placed at the Warren E. Thornton Youth Center (WET Youth Center). Far from ideal and contrary to law, the County had not been able to build or develop the placement […]

YLC’s Recent Lawsuit Featured in Sac Bee Article

YLC’s recent lawsuit against a newly formed organization in California called the County Probation Consortium Partnering for Youth Realignment that is conducting juvenile justice planning in violation of state law is featured in the new article California is phasing out its youth prisons. Is a ‘shadow’ justice system emerging? in the Sac Bee. The suit, […]

YLC Files Lawsuit to Prevent Closed-Door Planning in CA

YLC and the law firm Baker McKenzie have filed a lawsuit against a newly formed organization that is conducting juvenile justice planning in violation of state law. This new organization, called the County Probation Consortium Partnering for Youth Realignment, is created and run by 55 California counties and Probation Departments and is publicly funded. The […]

YLC’s Policy Director Awarded ABA’s Fearless Children’s Lawyer of the Month

We are so proud of YLC’s Policy Director, Jenny Pokempner, on being named the American Bar Association’s Fearless Children’s Lawyer of the Month! “For over two decades, Jenny has been a relentless advocate dedicated to building better futures for teenagers and young adults in foster care. For Jenny, the vision is clear: Decision and policy makers […]

YLC Comments on the California Behavioral Health Community-Based Continuum

On January 13th, YLC submitted comments to the CA Department of Health Care Service’s proposal for CA Behavioral Health Community Based Continuum. Our comments focus on the impact of several important provisions for children and youth in foster care and juvenile justice systems including: Support for California’s proposal to utilize Medicaid funding for enrichment activities […]

New report from YLC and DRT on broken youth justice system in TN

For Release: December 21, 2022 New Report, Families Not Facilities, provides solutions and recommendations to fix the broken youth justice system of the Department of Children’s Services (DCS). Nashville, TN – Families Not Facilities, a new report released today on-line by Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) and the Youth Law Center (YLC) describes the dismal situation […]

YLC Announces Settlement Agreement Between Sacramento County and Youth Forward

Today, the Youth Law Center announced a settlement agreement between Sacramento County and YLC’s client, Youth Forward, a Sacramento-based non-profit focused on improving the health, education, and well-being of Sacramento’s most vulnerable children and youth. The settlement agreement protects and strengthens the rights of youth and families to participate in juvenile justice policymaking in Sacramento […]

YLC advocates for improved conditions for youth in California detention facilities

YLC staff attorneys participated in a CA Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) process along with advocates, youth and families directly impacted by CA’s juvenile justice system to provide important and necessary recommendations to revise standards to improve the safety and well-being of youth in detention and confinement settings. YLC serves on the BSCC’s […]

YLC Celebrates the Passage of AB 102 to Expand Dual Enrollment

New Law Creates Steps Toward Educational Equity  for Youth In California’s Juvenile Justice System  Youth Law Center is excited to announce that California AB 102 (Holden), legislation to support juvenile justice impacted students’ access to higher education through dual enrollment, was signed into law by Governor Newsom on Friday, September 30th, 2022. This new law, […]

YLC and Project Change Celebrate Budget Victory for Students

YLC and the Project Change Program at the College of San Mateo recently hosted an event to celebrate joint advocacy that has resulted in $15 million in California ongoing state funds to allow expansion of community college programs like Project Change that support post-secondary success of students impacted by the juvenile justice system.  The state […]

YLC Releases New Advocacy Guide on Brown Act

YLC has published a new advocacy resource, “Building Community Power in Youth Justice Reform: The Brown Act & Juvenile Justice Realignment in California.” In 2020, CA enacted Senate Bill 823 (SB 823), a landmark law that mandated the closing of the state’s juvenile prisons and established a new public health approach to juvenile justice to […]

YLC Reissues Report “Closing the Extracurriculars Gap”

Three years ago the Youth Law Center first issued the publication “Closing the Extracurriculars Gap: Prioritizing Extracurricular Activities as a Key Intervention for Children and Youth in Foster Care and Juvenile Justice” to make the case for action to ensure that young people in foster care have meaningful access to extracurricular and enrichment activities. YLC […]

New YLC Report Finds Rampant Abuse in TN Facility

YLC’s new investigative report with Disability Rights Tennessee exposes the inhumane and abusive treatment of children and youth in the Wilder Youth Development Center In Tennessee. Conditions at Wilder are dangerous, deplorable and inexcusable. Over the course of YLC and DRT’s investigation into Wilder, we found evidence of physical, mental, and sexual abuse; delays in […]

YLC files lawsuit against Fresno County

YLC and the law firm Baker McKenzie have filed a lawsuit against Fresno County to require that its juvenile justice planning processes comply with open meeting laws. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Center for Leadership, Equity, and Research (CLEAR), a Fresno-based non-profit that supports the participation of community members in local policy. […]

New YLC resources on COVID-19 economic aid for youth and families

Youth Law Center has recently developed a series of resources related to the various economic benefits available as a result of the Covid–19 pandemic, and specifically how and when those benefits are accessible to populations including current and formerly systems involved youth and young adults, foster and resource parents, kinship families and young people in detention settings. Check out […]

CA enacts prohibition on use of out-of-state facilities

After decades of YLC advocacy to address conditions in and end the use of out-of-state placements for California children, CA finally has enacted prohibition on use of these dangerous facilities. YLC is proud of the impact of our advocacy over the past year to move policymakers to act to protect our most vulnerable children. Read […]

YLC featured in LA Times article

“The new approach is a troubling replication of state lockups at the local level, said Meredith Desautels, a staff attorney at the Youth Law Center in San Francisco. “My major concern is that what we’re actually going to see is youth who never would have gone to [state facilities] spending more time in secure confinement […]

YLC submits comments to CDSS on proposed budget trailer

YLC recently submitted comments to the CDSS on the initial print version of the proposed budget trailer bill implementing the 2018 federal Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) to raise concerns primarily about the timing and coordination of key elements of the case planning process and the adequacy of equitable provisions governing probation supervised foster youth. […]

YLC sponsoring AB 103 – Dual Enrollment for Court School Students

YLC is proud to sponsor AB 103 (Holden), which will clarify the law to improve access to dual enrollment classes for youth in court and alternative schools. Current law is unclear as to whether County Offices of Education, which run court schools, can participate in College and Career Access Pathways (CCAP) dual enrollment partnerships. AB […]

Financial Aid Guide for Youth with Juvenile Justice Involvement

As part of our ongoing work to create Pathways to Higher Education for youth with juvenile justice involvement, the Youth Law Center has created a new financial aid resource that we hope will be useful to youth, policy advocates, and a wide range of juvenile justice and child welfare system stakeholders. College is For Everyone: […]

YLC and PJDC Call for Rethinking Juvenile Hall Commitments

As California prepares to shutter its state juvenile facility system, it is critically important for counties to carefully consider how they will serve youth who previously would have been committed to the Division of Juvenile Justice. On November 12, 2020, the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center (PJDC) and Youth Law Center (YLC) released California’s County Juvenile Lockups: […]

Just Released: Advocacy Tool for Juvenile Justice Transformation

The Youth Law Center is pleased to announce the launch of our new project, Juvenile Justice Transformation: Navigating the Legal Landscape. This project provides maps of key delinquency laws in California to help advance efforts to transform the juvenile justice system. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this information and our work to end incarceration of children even […]

Victory! Oakland Unified School District to Eliminate it’s Police Department

YLC is proud to have provided legal support to advocacy efforts led by the Black Organizing Project resulting in an unprecedented victory that will defund, dismantle and terminate the Oakland School Police Department and reallocate resources to supporting the success of Oakland children. The Black Organizing Project led a visionary 10 year campaign leading up to the Oakland, CA School District […]

Victory! Alameda County Cancels $75 Million Plan to Rebuild Alameda County Youth Detention Camp

As a result of advocacy by YLC and other community organizations and advocacy organizations who comprise the Free Our Kids Coalition, Alameda County has cancelled plans to spend $75 million to rebuild its 100-bed juvenile probation camp, Camp Sweeney. Like many jurisdictions across the nation, Alameda County’s juvenile probation practices continue to criminalize children of color. Public data indicates […]

A Just and Loving Future for Black Children

The world is finally listening to the powerful calls from Black leaders for justice and radical change in our police and criminal justice systems and an end to systemic racism. The response must not overlook the need for reform in child welfare and juvenile justice systems that have long taken the lives and childhoods of […]

Joint Statement on Child Welfare Courts During a Public Health Crisis

Child Welfare Courts During a Public Health Crisis: Access to Justice and Advocacy are Critical Anchors During Uncertain Times Children’s Advocacy Institute Children’s Rights Juvenile Law Center National Association of Counsel for Children National Center for Youth Law Youth Law Center In this time of profound uncertainty, child welfare systems face unprecedented challenges to ensuring […]

Youth Law Center Statement on COVID-19 and Youth in the Juvenile Justice System

The COVID-19 pandemic has required unprecedented actions at the local, state, and federal levels to protect the health, safety, and wellbeing of people across the country. However, one of the most vulnerable populations, young people in the juvenile justice system, is being overlooked in the actions taken by government at every level to protect people […]

Youth Law Center’s COVID-19 Resources

Overnight, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live. For children and youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems, and their families, these changes are potentially devastating. Children who have already experienced the world as a lonely and dangerous place face more challenges when they are isolated from family and community. Systems under […]

Youth in juvenile facilities eligible for Cal Grant funding

For the first time, the California Student Aid Commission will be sharing that youth in juvenile facilities across the state of CA can get financial aid for college. Yesterday, CSAC updated their Cal Grant Handbook, an important tool used by teachers, counselors, and administrators, to say that youth in juvenile facilities who are under the jurisdiction of […]

YLC welcomes two new team members!

We are thrilled to announce that we have welcomed two new staff members to the YLC team: Katie Bliss, Project Coordinator Katie Bliss is the California Higher Education Project Coordinator at Youth Law Center (YLC) advocating to implement programing and support policy across the state to ensure juvenile justice involved youth have direct pathways to higher […]

Unsung Heroes a huge success!

Thank you to everyone who joined us at our Unsung Heroes celebration last week on the beautiful Ohana Floor at Salesforce! Friends, supporters, YLC staff and members of our Board of Directors gathered to celebrate the phenomenal work of our 2020 honorees. This year, our five honorees have worked to increase higher education opportunities for […]

Breaking News: Settlement of civil rights lawsuit against San Francisco for unlawfully incarcerating 15 year-old child

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Date: January 29, 2020 Contact: Selina Weiss (415) 543-3379, Settlement of Civil Rights Lawsuit Against San Francisco for Unlawfully Incarcerating Fifteen-Year-Old Child SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Yesterday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to approve the settlement of a lawsuit filed against the City and County of San Francisco for […]

Jennifer Rodriguez honored as 2020 REFCA Champion

We are so excited to share that Re-Envisioning Foster Care in America Movement: Treehouse Foundation has honored Jennifer Rodriguez, YLC’s Executive Director, as one of the 2020 REFCA Champions! This special award highlights foster care alumni who are innovators in transforming the way we care for our nation’s most vulnerable young people. We at YLC are so very […]

YLC welcomes Sabrina Forte, new Staff Attorney!

YLC is excited to welcome our newest staff member: Sabrina Forte! Sabrina Forte is a staff attorney at YLC. Her work focuses on preventing homelessness and ensuring lasting housing stability for young people who have been impacted by foster care and incarceration. Prior to joining YLC, Sabrina was a staff attorney and project coordinator for […]

YLC’s Just Beginning program chosen as recipient of 2019 SCE Catalyst Grant

YLC is proud to share that our program Just Beginning was the recipient of a 2019 Susan Crown Exchange Foundation Catalyst Grant! This grant is awarded to organizations that are pursuing innovative solutions to some of our nation’s most pressing challenges. JB is a program designed to support incarcerated teen parents in building supportive, nurturing relationships with their children, […]

YLC presents at 2019 Beyond the Bench

YLC is thrilled to have participated in the 2019 Beyond the Bench conference. This statewide conference brings together judges, court professionals, attorneys, social workers, probation officers, agency leaders, students, volunteers, advocates and subject matter experts, mental and behavioral health specialists, educators, and other system partners to transform practice. YLC delivered several trainings including one on […]

Fact sheets on two juvenile justice education bills signed into law in CA

These fact sheets provide basic information about Senate Bill 716 and Assembly Bill 1354 both signed into law in 2019 and effective on January 1, 2020. The SB 716 fact sheet describes which youth are eligible for online college courses, what programs are available, and who is responsible for providing them. The AB 1354 fact […]

Announcing our 2020 Unsung Heroes Honorees!

Click here to reserve your tickets today! Sponsorship opportunities are still available! Click here to learn more or send an email to Your fully tax deductible sponsorship of this special celebration is a way to pay tribute to our champions and work by providing critical unrestricted support to sustain and advance our advocacy for vulnerable children. […]

Thank you for a phenomenal 2019!

As 2019 is coming to a close, we want to take a moment to say thank you to our community of supporters for joining in our vision of a world where all youth involved in child welfare and juvenile justice systems are loved, happy, healthy, and thriving. Our accomplishments and victories for children, youth, and families over […]

CA Academic Senate passes resolution to include juvenile justice-involved youth in equity plans

Last week, the California Community College State Academic Senate Committee passed a resolution to include youth with juvenile justice involvement in the state’s list of designated populations to be served by community college equity funds. This change means that the Academic Senate Committee supports community colleges including juvenile justice involved youth in their equity plans […]

YLC featured in new SF Chronicle investigative report

“If they’re concerned about safety in the home, I’m not sure how that leads to the conclusion that you should lock up the child,” said Meredith Desautels, a staff attorney at the Youth Law Center in San Francisco, which advocates for juvenile justice reforms. “Separating someone from their family at that moment of crisis seems […]

Important Update: Date Change for 20th Annual Unsung Heroes

Important update: we’ve changed the date for our 20th Annual Unsung Heroes Awards! Please join us on Friday, February 7th, 2020 at Salesforce in San Francisco. This special event is an opportunity to celebrate the everyday champions who rarely receive the public recognition they deserve but who make a tremendous difference in the lives of […]

YLC leads trainings at NJDC’s Annual Leadership Summit

YLC is honored to have been included in last week’s National Juvenile Defender Center‘s annual Leadership Summit! Staff Attorneys Erin Palacios and Meredith Desautels served as faculty at this year’s summit which took place in West Palm Beach, FL, and brought together hundreds of juvenile defenders and youth advocates from around the country to share knowledge […]

Breaking News: California Governor signs two YLC-sponsored bills to promote educational opportunity for juvenile justice impacted youth!

Last week, California’s Governor Newsom signed into law two Youth Law Center-sponsored bills, ensuring improved access to education opportunities for youth involved with the juvenile justice system. These policy changes support Youth Law Center’s ongoing work in California to strengthen education opportunities for all system-impacted youth and to build alternatives to youth incarceration. Keep reading for more […]

YLC participates in CAYCJ annual meeting

Last week YLC participated in a powerful strategic planning meeting with the California Alliance for Youth and Community Justice (CAYCJ) and over 50 fellow advocates committed to ending the incarceration of youth in California. At the meeting, held at CAYCJ’s new home in Los Angeles (a converted former juvenile court facility), participants developed next steps […]

YLC leads training at PJDC 16th Annual Roundtable

YLC staff attorneys Meredith Desautels and Erin Palacios led a workshop this weekend with Laurel Arroyo from the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office at the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center‘s 16th Annual Roundatble Conference on the need to keep youth in their communities. The workshop, titled “Leveraging Group Home Reform to Keep Youth in their Communities”, educated […]

YLC featured in The Appeal article on ending use of pepper spray

“But as we know, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. To stop using OC sprays, they must no longer be available as a tool. … Urgency is required here; these youth have experienced too much trauma already. The system should never again add to their trauma through such an […]

YLC’s recent federal lawsuit featured in San Francisco Chronicle

YLC has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City and County of San Francisco for the unlawful incarceration of a minor, who at thirteen years old was held in locked custody for eleven days after a judge had ordered her released. This is YLC’s second case on behalf of African-American families whose children […]

Breaking News: YLC files federal civil rights lawsuit against San Francisco

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Date: September 3, 2019 Press Contact: Selina Weiss,, (415) 543-3379   Lawsuit Charges San Francisco with Unlawfully Incarcerating 13-Year-Old African-American Girl Juvenile Probation Department held minor in custody for eleven days after court ordered her release SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Today, the Youth Law Center filed a federal civil rights lawsuit […]

2nd Annual Pathways to Higher Education conference a huge success!

Thank you to everyone who joined us the for the second annual Creating Pathways from Youth Incarceration to Higher Education statewide conference! Our 200+ conference attendees from 24 California counties included local, state, and federal policy makers, probation and higher education leadership and staff, community based organizations, students, foundations, and more. Participants learned from each […]

2019 Pathways to Higher Education Statewide Conference program

Youth Law Center is excited to share the program for the 2019 Creating Pathways from Youth Incarceration to Higher Education statewide conference! This year’s event will feature opening remarks from Dr. Monte Perez, President, LA Mission College; Hon. Tony Cárdenas, US House of Representatives, 29th District; Hon. Luz Rivas, California Assembly Member, 39th District; Terri McDonald, […]

YLC, Project Change, SB 716 featured in KQED article

We are so grateful to KQED and reporter Vanessa Rancaño for featuring YLC’s efforts to increase post-secondary opportunities for juvenile justice involved youth, Senate Bill 716, and the life-changing work of our partners at Project Change. Click here to read/listen to the full story! “We have to remember that these are children, these are young people,” says Lucy Salcido […]

CA Assembly Bill 1354 (Gipson) moves to Assembly floor for floor vote!

California Assembly Bill 1354, which will provide oversight of education transitions for youth leaving juvenile facilities to return to their communities, came off the Assembly Appropriations Committee suspense file on May 16, 2019 and is moving to the Assembly floor for a floor vote.

YLC working on costs concerns related to CA Senate Bill 716

Youth Law Center has been working closely with Democratic State Senator Holly Mitchell’s office, the University of California Office of the President, and the California State University Office of the Chancellor to address concerns the UCs and CSUs had about implementation costs associated with California Senate Bill 716 (Mitchell) should it become law.

SB716 Gains Support!

A state senate bill to ensure postsecondary education opportunities for high school graduates in juvenile custody gained strong bipartisan support and a 7-0 vote in the California Senate Public Safety Committee on April 9, 2019.

5 Tips for Prioritizing Extracurriculars as a Key Intervention for Youth

Extracurricular activities provide meaningful educational, social, and developmental advantages for youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems who face significant barriers to success. They help young people discover new interests, make connections with peers and supportive adults, and develop independence, self-esteem, and resilience. Many thanks to the American Bar Association for featuring this great piece in […]

YLC Publishes Policy Brief on Extracurriculars as Key Intervention

The Youth Law Center is proud to share a policy brief exploring the critical role of extracurricular activities for children and youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. The brief examines the benefits of extracurricular participation, the barriers young people face, and details inspiring programs working to ensure our young people have access […]

YLC Welcomes Meredith Desautels & Tracy Schiro

The Youth Law Center is pleased to announce the hiring of our newest staff members: Meredith Desautels and Tracy Schiro! Meredith Desautels is a staff attorney at the Youth Law Center. Her work focuses on ending the criminalization of childhood and replacing youth incarceration with positive, developmentally-appropriate supports that are rooted in family and community. […]

Jennifer Rodriguez Awarded 2019 JLC Leadership Prize!

YLC is proud to announce that our Executive Director, Jennifer Rodriguez, has been awarded the 2019 Leadership Prize from the Juvenile Law Center! We are grateful for and inspired by Jennifer’s fearless, relentless, creative, and thoughtful leadership. Congratulations, Jennifer, on this momentous occasion! JLC’s Leadership Prize recognizes outstanding individuals who are fighting for the rights […]

YLC’s 40th Anniversary & Unsung Heroes Celebration!

Please join the Youth Law Center at our 40th Anniversary & Unsung Heroes Celebration on Friday, December 14th at Salesforce in San Francisco to celebrate 40 years of YLC advocacy for children and youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems! This special anniversary will be a celebration of all of our partners over […]

Carole Shauffer Honored by AACAP

YLC is thrilled to announce that the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) selected Youth Law Center’s Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives Carole Shauffer for the 2018 Catchers in the Rye Humanitarian Award – the Academy’s highest honor. Carole was nominated for this incredible honor by internationally recognized child psychiatrist and infant mental […]

Breaking: YLC-sponsored AB 2448 signed into law!

On Sunday evening, September 30, 2018, Governor Brown signed Youth Law Center-sponsored Assembly Bill 2448 authored by Assembly member Mike A. Gipson. This bill helps ensure that foster youth and probation-supervised youth in out-of-home placements have access to computer technology and the Internet, to facilitate the education and communication that are key to their health, well-being, and […]

Maria Ramiu Presenting at Child Welfare Policy Roundtable

Maria Ramiu, Youth Law Center’s Senior Staff Attorney, will be a featured panelist presenting on Youth Arrests in Group Homes and Shelters at the July 6th monthly Child Welfare Policy Roundtable focused this month on “Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice”. Maria will be joined by Frankie Guzman, Director of California Youth Justice Initiative, Julie McCormick, Policy Associate at Children’s […]

YLC joins amicus brief in support of Brendan Dassey

The Youth Law Center is deeply committed to ensuring that young people’s developmental needs and particular vulnerabilities are taken into account at every stage of the criminal justice process. This is especially important when young people are being questioned by the police. Teenagers are less able to understand their Miranda rights, may be more intimidated by tactics […]

2017 Fact Sheets for Legal Services and Advocates

Youth Law Center recently updated fact sheets for legal services and other advocates. Please click on the following links to view the full online versions of the December 2017 Foster Care Overview Fact Sheet, Juvenile Justice Overview Fact Sheet, Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (kin-GAP) Fact Sheet, and the Relative Caregivers Fact Sheet. Please visit our […]

YLC to Honor Unsung Heroes on December 4th, 2017

Join us on December 4th, 2017 for our 18th Annual Loren Warboys Unsung Heroes reception! Each year the Youth Law Center recognizes people who have made a difference in the lives of our clients during the past year at its Loren Warboys Unsung Heroes Reception. This year’s honorees have helped improve the lives of children […]

Brief Argues Against Harmful Criminalization of Children

Youth Law Center, with more than a dozen others across the nation, filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in A.M. v. Holmes, challenging the arrest of a 13-year-old New Mexico boy for “fake burping” and laughing in class. As the brief explains, criminalizing normal childhood behavior isn’t just excessive, unnecessary, and legally […]

Former Unsung Hero Recognized

Youth Law Center is proud to have recognized Tung Nguyen in 2013 as one of our Unsung Heroes for his advocacy on S.B. 260, historic California legislation we co-sponsored that gave juveniles tried in the adult system an opportunity to show maturity, growth, and rehabilitation through a carefully crafted sentencing review process.  On December 28, 2016, […]

YLC Helps End Placement Disruption for Crossover Youth

The Youth Law Center successfully advocated for the issuance of clarifying guidance by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) that will stop the automatic placement disruption and separation of siblings in foster care when a foster youth comes into contact with the juvenile justice system. Despite longstanding state law permitting dependents and wards to […]

Victory: Prop 57 Abolishes Direct File in Adult Court

After years of advocacy to eliminate the practice of prosecutors directly filing juvenile cases in adult criminal  court, the Youth Law Center celebrates the passage of  Proposition 57, The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016. While Proposition 57 encompassed a number of criminal justice reforms, its primary impact for youth is to require that a […]

YLC to Honor Unsung Heroes on December 12, 2016

Each year the Youth Law Center recognizes people who have made a difference in the lives of our clients during the past year at its Loren Warboys Unsung Heroes Reception.  This year’s honorees have helped improve the lives of children and youth involved in the nation’s foster care and justice systems.  It is our pleasure […]

New Law Protects Foster Youth from Unfair Detention

The Youth Law Center is pleased that Governor Brown has signed AB 2813 by Assemblymember Richard Bloom.  This bill, sponsored by the Youth Law Center,  protects children and youth in foster care from being needlessly detained in juvenile hall due to their foster care status, harmonizing the standards used by a probation officer to detain […]

Governor Vetoes Bill Limiting Use of Out of State Group Homes

Youth Law Center is disappointed by the Governor’s veto of AB 2005, as we believe there should be greater care in the high-stakes placement process for youth who are supervised by probation and put at risk of being sent out of state to harmful group homes, hundreds and even thousands of miles from home.  We […]

Bill Signed to Remove Graduation Barriers for At-Risk Youth

On September 22, 2016, Governor Brown signed into law AB 2306 by Assemblyman Jim Frazier, which requires school districts to exempt a student from local high school graduation requirements once the student transfers to the district from a juvenile court school. It also clarifies that pupils in juvenile court schools have a rigorous curriculum that […]

Federal Court Questions Detention of Immigrant Youth

YLC was of counsel on a recent motion to enforce the settlement agreement in Flores v. Lynch which challenged the federal government’s practice of indefinitely detaining immigrant children without a hearing.  The Flores settlement agreement requires that children be provided with bond redetermination hearings in front of an immigration judge.  The government has consistently failed to provide […]

YLC Works to Ensure Trauma Screening for At-Risk Youth

Childhood trauma is the leading public health issue of our time and one that disproportionately impacts children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.  When unaddressed, trauma can cause lasting harm, lead to a host of problems in adulthood, and even shorten lives. With our care and support, all our children can heal and […]

Urge Governor Brown to Sign AB 2005

Urge the Governor to sign AB 2005 so California can have more informed and careful decision-making when out-of-state congregate care is under consideration for probation-supervised youth. The stakes are high for these young people. Taking them far away from their home communities can have a devastating impact on their futures as critical links to family, […]

YLC asks Court to Depublish Opinion in Ivan N.

YLC filed a request with the California Supreme Court to depublish In re Ivan N, a recently issued California Court of Appeal opinion holding that foster youth education rights do not apply to probation supervised foster youth.  The court badly misinterpreted several statutory provisions that are critical in ensuring that probation-supervised foster youth are treated equitably and […]

YLC Writes Amicus Letter to Support Right to Quality Education

YLC filed a letter in support of the Petition for Review in two cases that were consolidated for appeal, Campaign for Quality Education v. State of California and Robles-Wong v. State of California.  The cases present a core question particularly important to court involved youth – whether the fundamental right to education under the California […]

Fulfilling the Promise of Gault

Youth Law Center is proud to be a co-sponsor of a conference “celebrating” the 50th Anniversary of the landmark decision In re Gault, which affirmed a child’s right to an attorney in delinquency proceedings.  The conference entitled, Fulfilling the Promise of Gault – Due Process and Effective Advocacy for Youth in the 21st Century,” examines how the […]

Youth Law Center Co-Sponsors Court School Forum

On Tuesday, July 12, 2016, Youth Law Center is co-sponsoring a forum on education for youth in the juvenile justice system.  The event entitled, “Education Reform’s Missed Opportunity: Young People in California’s Court Schools,” will address the failure of the juvenile justice system to meet the educational needs of kids in their care. Jennifer Rodriguez […]

Groups Demand Due Process for Immigrant Youth

YLC signed on to a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, urging the Attorney General to halt the government’s ongoing practice of pursuing deportation proceedings against children who do not have counsel and to guarantee that every child facing deportation is provided a lawyer.   The government routinely brings children, many of them as young […]

Schools in Juvenile Justice Get an “F”

New America Media recently posted an article about the failure of California’s juvenile court schools to educate youth in their care.  The article cited Youth Law Center’s 2016 study “Educational Injustice: Barriers to Achievement and Higher Education for Youth in California’s Juvenile Court Schools,” which reported that juvenile court schools have very poor outcomes for […]

Appeals Court Again Reverses Disposition for Immigrant Youth

The California Court of Appeal has issued a second opinion confirming that the juvenile court is not required to turn youth over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in response to an ICE detainer.  In re Y.V., Case No. A142355.  The Youth Law Center served as amicus curiae and was represented by Baker & McKenzie. The Appeals […]

YLC Honors Unsung Heroes on December 7, 2015

Each year the Youth Law Center recognizes people who have made a difference in the lives of our clients during the past year at its Loren Warboys Unsung Heroes Reception.  This year’s honorees have helped improve the lives of children and youth involved in the nation’s foster care and justice systems.  It is our pleasure […]

Governor Brown Signs Juvenile Defender Training Bill

YLC celebrates the signing of AB 703 (Bloom) by Governor Brown, which we co-sponsored with the East Bay Children’s Law Offices.  The legislation recognizes the important role of juvenile defenders and clarifies their ethical duties.  It makes clear that defenders are to represent the minor’s expressed interests, honor the duty of confidentiality with the client, […]

Shackling in Transportation; Hobbling Fairness

On August 24, YLC demanded an end to indiscriminate shackling of juveniles being transported to court in Contra Costa County. The County shackles every child, irrespective of their offense. They are paraded down a public street in ankle chains, handcuffs, and waistbelts, under the watch of armed guards. Relatively few of the youth are detained […]

Locked Up and Alone

YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell was interviewed for a story appearing in the June 29, 2015  edition of THE CRIME REPORT, “Locked Up and Alone.”  The story explores solitary confinement in juvenile facilities against the backdrop of SB 124 (Leno), currently pending in the California Legislature. Sue and other experts noted the harm caused by […]

Court of Appeal Reverses Disposition for Immigrant Youth

The California Court of Appeal has reversed and remanded a juvenile court disposition that ordered a youth to live with his mother in Honduras after finding that return home was not in his best interest.  The Court of Appeal held that the disposition was an abuse of discretion and noted that it may have been based […]

Collateral Consequences of Juvenile Court

YLC staff attorney Sue Burrell’s article, “Collateral  Consequences of Juvenile Court: Boulders on the Road to Good Outcomes,” appears in a just released book, A New Juvenile Justice System: Total Reform for a Broken System, published by the NYU Press.  Edited by Nancy E. Dowd, with a Foreword by Charles J. Ogletree , Jr., the […]

CA Supreme Court Finds Youth Incompetent to Stand Trial

On May 18, 2015, the California Supreme Court announced its decision in In re R.V., reversing a lower court decision which had found a 16 year-old Orange County boy competent to stand trial.  R.V. had been arrested after having an emotional, threat laden outburst when his step father asked him to get ready for school. […]

Pepper Spray Use Halted in Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall

On April 20, 2015 YLC celebrated the end of a Santa Clara County Probation Department pilot program to allow the use of pepper spray in one of the units in its juvenile hall.  The pilot was developed in 2014 as a result of labor negotiations between the County and the union representing juvenile hall staff. […]

CDSS Fails to Properly Investigate Group Homes

An investigation by ProPublica has found that the California Department of Social Services fails to swiftly or conclusively investigate hundreds of claims of misconduct and other problems in group homes that house the state’s most troubled children. ProPublica reviewed more than 450 complaint investigations undertaken by the agency between 2009 and 2014 from roughly 50 Level […]

YLC Challenges Juvenile Court Order Turning Youth Over to ICE

The Youth Law Center has applied for leave to file an amicus brief in a second juvenile case pending in the California Court of Appeal in which the juvenile court ordered the youth turned over to federal immigration officials.   The youth fled Honduras in 2013 to escape gang violence and the threat of gang indoctrination.  […]

Legislation Seeks to End Juvenile Solitary Confinement

YLC staff attorney Sue Burrell was interviewed by San Diego CityBeat in relation to legislation introduced by Senator Mark Leno (S.B. 124) aimed at reducing the use of solitary confinement in California juvenile facilities.  Sue pointed out that, “When juvenile facilities think about solitary confinement, they think of those little metal rooms, like when you […]

YLC Supports Legal Rights of Immigrant Youth

The Youth Law Center has applied for leave to file an amicus brief in a juvenile case pending in the California Court of Appeal, in which a youth’s immigration status prevailed over consideration of his rehabilitation and best interest.  The youth was adjudicated delinquent after admitting to possession of a controlled substance.  The probation department […]

Petition Filed to Halt En Masse Detention of Refugee Children

On February 2, 2015, the Youth Law Center along with the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, the law firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, La Raza Centro Legal, and the University of Texas School of Law Civil Rights Clinic, filed a motion in in U.S. District Court challenging the Department of Homeland […]

Op-Ed Juvenile Justice Can be Less Expensive

In a Sacramento Bee Op Ed piece, Youth Law Center Staff Attorney Sue Burrell weighed in on a new Justice Policy Institute report on the astronomical costs of juvenile incarceration, including its negative impact on recidivism, completion of education, employment, use of public benefits, and effect on the economy and tax revenues. The Op Ed […]

YLC Honors Unsung Heroes on December 8, 2014

Each year the Youth Law Center recognizes people who have made a difference in the lives of our clients during the past year at its Loren Warboys Unsung Heroes Reception.  This year’s honorees have helped improve the lives of children and youth involved in the nation’s foster care and justice systems.  It is our pleasure […]

YLC on Harsh Discipline for Truants

The Center for Public Integrity interviewed Staff Attorney Sue Burrell in connection with its investigation of school discipline and push out of Black and Latino youth in California’s education system.  Sue spoke about the system’s misguided truancy sweeps that feature a COP’s-like  show of force as the system’s solution to youth with persistent attendance problems.  […]

Governor Signs AB 338 Protecting Crossover Youth

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law AB 388 (Chesbro) requiring oversight on the use of law enforcement in group homes, limiting the unnecessary secure detention of foster youth, and providing the same protections for foster youth that non-foster youth living at home with parents routinely receive when they come into contact with the delinquency […]

YLC Weighs in on Case of Youth Tried in Adult Court

YLC weighed in on the sentencing of Richard Thomas, who was tried in adult court after an incident in which he lit on fire the skirt of an “agender” youth who was sleeping on the bus.  Richard was immediately sorry for what he had done, and the family of the other young person unsuccessfully urged […]

Governor Signs AB 2276 Ensuring Reenrollment Rights

On September 30, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2276 (Bocanegra), a bill that addresses the reenrollment rights of juvenile justice youth, in particular, those who are reentering from a juvenile court school. There is strong evidence that juvenile justice youth in California often have difficulty re-enrolling in school once released from detention.  California’s juvenile […]

Governor Signs SB 1111 Ensuring Educational Placement Rights

On September 29, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1111 (Lara), a comprehensive bill that addresses the transfer rights of students referred to county community schools, makes the statute consistent with state and federal laws governing the educational placement rights of foster care and homeless youth, and closes an existing loophole in the discipline code […]

Op – Ed Opposing Incarceration of Abused Youth

YLC staff attorney Sue Burrell, wrote an op ed piece for the CT Mirror, Incarcerating Disturbed Youth is a Flawed Response (LINK to uploaded article), published September 22, 2014.   The piece follows Connecticut’s decisions to lock a transgender teenager, first in an adult women’s facility in Connecticut, and then in a boys’ institution.  The piece […]

YLC Opposes Planned Closure of Santa Barbara Juvenile Court

The Youth Law Center and California Rural Legal Assistance Inc. have filed a letter in opposition to the Santa Barbara Superior Court’s plan to close the juvenile court in Santa Barbara and relocate juvenile court proceedings to the Jury Assembly Building.  The opposition letter demonstrates that closing the juvenile court will increase the amount of […]

YLC Article on Pepper Spray Published in Huffington Post

YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell has published an article on the Huffington Post that details incidents of pepper-spray use on children in San Diego County juvenile facilities. The article comes on the heels of a formal complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Justice in which YLC and 10 community organizations called for an investigation of […]

YLC Files DOJ Complaint Over Use of Pepper Spray

Youth Law Center and 10 San Diego area organizations today filed a formal complaint urging the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the use of Oleoresin Capsicum spray (pepper spray) and other questionable practices used in San Diego County juvenile detention facilities.  The complaint offers extensive evidence that pepper spray is routinely used in […]

President’s Report References Baby Elmo Project

Youth Law Center’s Incarcerated Teen Parenting Program, the Baby Elmo Program, was mentioned in the “My Brother’s Keeper” Task Force Report to the President!  The report references the research done in the Baby Elmo Program to support the Task Force’s recommendation to “help incarcerated parents enhance their parenting and other skills by providing more opportunities […]

Governor Signs Bill Banning Incarceration of Truant Youths

On June  27, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1296 (Leno), banning incarceration as a contempt sanction for youth adjudicated as truants.  Although the Legislature long ago specifically prohibited incarceration of truants adjudicated under Welfare & Institutions Code section 601, court decisions had created a loophole.  The decisions held that when a young person has […]

Mandatory Minimums Dropped from S.B. 838

After intensive efforts by a broad group of agencies and organizations, the provisions of S.B. 838 requiring mandatory two-year confinement were dropped from the measure.  Youth Law Center was part of the opposition, urging that mandatory sentencing violates the most basic principle of juvenile justice that young people receive individualized treatment and services.  Several members […]

Youth Law Center Weighs In on S.B. 838

The San Jose Mercury News interviewed YLC  Staff Attorney Sue Burrell about S.B. 838, a controversial measure arising from a Santa Clara County case.  After teenage boys sexually assaulted an intoxicated young woman at a party, they shared photos of her nude body.  She had no memory of the incident, but sadly, days after learning about […]

CA Supreme Court Decides Gutierrez and Moffett Cases

On May 5, 2014, the California Supreme Court announced its decisions in People v. Gutierrez and People v. Moffett.  Both cases involved Life Without the Possibility of Parole Sentences handed down to youth who were under the age of 18 at the time of involvement in a homicide.  Youth Law Center submitted an amicus curiae […]

The Legislature’s Role in CA Juvenile Justice Reform

YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell was invited to write a guest blog for the National Council on Crime and Delinquency’s “NCCD Blog” on the California Legislature’s role in California juvenile justice reform.  Sue’s piece discusses the legislative enactments that helped to depopulate the state’s troubled juvenile institutional system over more than a decade.  Through a […]

Baby Elmo Program Featured on Public Radio

Radio Station KPCC 89.3 in Southern California featured Youth Law Center’s Incarcerated Teen Parenting Program (The Baby Elmo Program).  The program’s director, Ben Richeda was interviewed by Shirley Jahad at a conference that took place March 27-28 in Los Angeles for probation officers involved with the program.   article link to broadcast

Sue Burrell Interviewed Regarding Appointed Counsel

YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell was interviewed in connection with an investigative article on the appointed counsel system for delinquency cases in Los Angeles County.  The Board of Supervisors has called for an assessment of the system after research showed worse outcomes for youth represented by appointed counsel than if they had been represented by […]

YLC Statement on Solitary Confinement

YLC submitted a statement for the February 25, 2014 Hearing on Reassessing Solitary Confinement II: The Human Rights, Fiscal and Public Safety Consequences in Washington, D.C.  The Hearing was held before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights and chaired by Senator Richard Durbin. It was a follow up to […]

YLC Participated in In re Eddie E. Amicus

The California Supreme Court has ordered publication of a Court of Appeal decision that will help youth establish eligibility for Special immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS).  The decision clarifies that eligible youth cannot be denied necessary state court findings merely because they are wards of the court as a result of a delinquency proceeding.  At the […]

YLC Weighs In on Juvenile Defense

In January 2014, YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell joined 30 invited advocates and defenders from around the country for a two-day meeting of the Juvenile Defense Leadership Council in Crystal City, Virginia.  The meeting was convened to provide input for the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the National Juvenile Defender Center […]

YLC Trains Juvenile Court Professionals at Beyond the Bench

YLC presented in two workshops at the Beyond the Bench XXII Conference, sponsored by the Center for Families, Children and the Courts, and held December 2–4, 2013 in Anaheim California.  This year’s theme was “Equal Access to Justice for Children and Families: The Legacies of Clarence Earl Gideon and Martin Luther King, Jr.  YLC Staff […]

Tribal Youth in Transition Training

The Youth Law Center provided training on Tribal Youth in Transition in collaboration with the Yurok Tribe, California Indian Legal Services, and the Alliance for Children’s Rights at the Yurok Tribal Community Center in Klamath California on November 20, 2013.  The training covered AB 12, which extends support for eligible youth after age 18, and focused […]

Governor Signs Sentencing Review Law Co-Sponsored by YLC

On September 16, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed S.B. 260 — historic sentencing review legislation.   It applies to more than 6,000 youth who were under the age of 18 at the time of their crime, tried as an adult, and sentenced to an adult prison sentence in California.  The legislation was introduced by Senator Loni […]

Sue Burrell on Juveniles and the Criminal Justice System

YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell was interviewed by the Friends Committee on Legislation of California (FCLCA) about legislation that would provide an opportunity for review of lengthy sentences for juvenile tried as adults.  Youth Law Center is a co-sponsor of SB 260 (Hancock), which would provide such youth with an opportunity to demonstrate maturity and […]

Sue Burrell Interviewed on Lengthy Sentences for Juveniles

YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell was interviewed by the Friends Committee on Legislation of California (FCLCA) about legislation that would provide an opportunity for review of lengthy sentences for juveniles tried as adults.   Youth Law Center is a co-sponsor of SB 260 (Hancock), which would provide such youth with an opportunity to demonstrate maturity […]

Sue Burrel Quoted in Article re Senate Bill 9

California Rolling Back Lengthy Prison Sentences for Some Juvenile Offenders Judge Cheryl Chun Meegan has dealt with David Dewayne Griffin before. When the 23-year-old was a teenager who had been convicted of five felonies, including attempted murder, she imposed a prison sentence so long – 85 years to life – that he won’t be eligible […]

YLC Hosts Juvenile Competence Think Tank

Juvenile defenders and advocates from around the state met July 20, 2013, at the Youth Law Center to share ideas and strategies on handling cases involving potential incompetence to stand trial.  Incompetence occurs when a child is unable to understand the nature of the proceedings or assist their attorney in defense of the case often […]

Baby Elmo Program: Teen Dads Learn Parenting Skills

YOUTUBE VIDEO: Ohio juvenile detention offers dad program By: Dave Arnold, HIGHLAND HILLS, Ohio – Ashley Taylor traveled to Highland Hills on Cleveland’s east side to the Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Correctional Facility with her daughter, McKensie, Thursday. Taylor, 21, was one many mothers, grandmothers and family members joining in on a program targeted […]

In Memoriam – YLC Mourns Passing of Thomas A. Welch

We would like to take a moment to say goodbye to our dear friend and former Board President Thomas A. Welch, who passed away this May after losing a month-long battle with Leukemia.  Tom served as Board President from 1990 to 2003 and was a Board Member for over 20 years.  He was a fierce […]

The Baby Elmo Program Is Toddling Along

The Baby Elmo Program has undergone significant expansion within the past few months.  Ventura and Los Angeles Counties will start to implement the Baby Elmo Program in their juvenile halls this coming summer.    Connecticut and Ohio will also be adopting Baby Elmo as one of their own, both sites will have the program up and […]

Virginia Corrigan Receives EJW Fellowship to Work at YLC

The Youth Law Center is pleased to announce that Virginia Corrigan, a Harvard Law School graduate, has received an Equal Justice Works fellowship to work at the Youth Law Center on juvenile justice issues for two years.  We thank Baker & McKenzie and the Intel Corporation for their generous support of her fellowship. Launched in […]

YLC Testifies on S.B. 260 – Sentencing Review

On April 22, 2013, Staff Attorney Sue Burrell testified in the California Senate Appropriations Committee in support of S.B. 260 (Hancock).   The bill would provide a review process for juveniles tried as adults after they serve 10 years in prison.   It provides a process responsive to the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Graham v. Florida […]

YLC Testifies on Defender Training Bill

On April 2, 2013, YLC Staff attorney Sue Burrell testified in California’s Senate Public Safety Committee in support of S.B. 166 (Liu).  YLC is a co-sponsor of the bill with the California Public Defender’s Association.  The bill provides legislative intent language underlining the importance of skilled, well trained lawyers in the increasingly complex area of […]

Youth Radio Interviews Sue Burrell on Steubenville Rape Case

On March 25, 2013, Youth Radio broadcast its interview with YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell on “The Growing Role of Social Media in Juvenile Courts” on KPFA radio  Youth Radio reporter Sayre Quevedo developed the segment to highlight the immense impact of social media in the recent Steubenville rape case in which two high school […]

Email Re San Bernardino Co. Baby Elmo Project

Sent: Saturday, March 16, 2013 4:00 PM Subject: A Daddy’s Love Every once in a while, there’s a moment for those of us who work with children in which it allows you to walk on air, even if just for a few moments. Today, there was such a moment. A boy entered juvenile hall long […]

Sue Burrell Quoted in Article Re Sentencing 10 Year Old

YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell was interviewed for a Reuters story on sentencing for a boy who killed his neo-Nazi father at age 10.  Sue was asked about the possibility that the youth might be sent to California’s Division of Juvenile Facilities.  She pointed out that there are no other youth as young as he […]

YLC Presents on Trauma and the Environment of Care

YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell spoke at a Roundtable on “Current Issues and New Directions in Creating Trauma-Informed Juvenile Justice Systems,” sponsored by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.  The Roundtable took place February 11 and12, 2013, in Los Angeles, and was attended by some 50 researchers, clinicians and advocates working on the issue of […]

Principles for Immigration Reform that Works for Children

The Youth Law Center has joined over 200 child, immigration, religious, academic, and civil rights organizations to endorse principles for immigration reform legislation that meets the needs of children. 200+ Advocates Offer Principles for Immigration Reform that Works for Children Press Release Principles for Children in Immigration Reform

AB 12 and Probation Involved Youth Caregiver Webinar Series

The Youth Law Center is hosting a four-part series of webinars on AB 12, California’s Fostering Connections to Success Act, for relatives, foster parents and other caregivers to probation involved foster youth.  AB 12 extends support up to age 21 to foster youth as they transition to adulthood and independence.  Probation supervised foster youth who […]

Training on Public Benefits

The Youth Law Center and Bay Area Legal Aid provided training on public benefits for children for staff at Legal Advocates for Children and Youth in San Jose on January 18, 2013.

YLC Suggests Ways to Improve Appointed Counsel Contracts

YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell presented in a workshop on “The Importance of Juvenile Contracts in Ensuring Standards of Representation” at the Autumn MacArthur Foundation Cross-Action Network meeting of its Models for Change Initiative, held November 14 and 15, 2012 in Washington, D.C.  The session was moderated by Patti Puritz, Executive Director of the National […]

YLC Explores the Use of Affidavits in Juvenile Cases

This year’s National Juvenile Defender Summit, held October 26-28, 2012 in San Juan Puerto Rico, featured YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell in a workshop on “Bolstering Your Case: Innovative Uses of Declarations and Affidavits.”  With Simmie Baer and Dr. Marty Beyer, Sue explored ways to use expert opinions to effectively highlight aspects of the defense […]

Baby Elmo Project Blog

The Vera Institute of Justice, Family Justice Program is running a blog written by a young man at Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Correctional Facility in Ohio and his experience with the Baby Elmo Project. The Youth Law Center and Rachel Barr, Associate Professor in the Psychology Department at Georgetown University, are working with the facility in […]

Jennifer Rodriguez Featured in National NCYC Webcast

On September 12th, Jennifer Rodriguez, YLC Executive Director, presented on a National Center for Youth In Custody webinar titled “Creating and Sustaining Improved Conditions for Youth In Custody”. Jennifer’s presentation focused on how litigation can be one important tool among others for addressing specific issues that impact incarcerated youth. Additionally, Jennifer’s presentation covered the need […]

YLC Presents at Camp Sweeney

On August 20, 2012, YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell, and Summer Intern Rebekah DeHaven presented a “Know Your Rights” workshop to some 50 young men at Alameda County’s Camp Wilmot Sweeney. Youth are committed to the camp from juvenile court and the normal commitment length is six months. Most of the youth are 16 or […]

Comments To the PREA Regulations re Staffing

The Youth Law Center joined other advocacy organizations in submitting formal comments to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting that the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) regulations retain staffing ratios for juvenile facilities. PREA regulations were issued in June 2012 calling for juvenile facilities around the country to comply with a comprehensive set of requirements designed […]

People v. Caballero Overturned

On August 16, 2012, the California Supreme Court overturned the judgment in People v. Caballero and sent it back to the lower court for resentencing. The Youth Law Center and other advocacy groups filed an amicus brief through the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center seeking this result. The case involves a 16 year-old youth tried in […]

Sue Burrell Quoted in Article Re Camps

In an article about camp alternatives to juvenile hall that appeared in the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle on July 22, 2012, Sue Burrell stated that “These aren’t highfalutin (programs) with a lot of psychobabble…They really just help the kids to see the community and their families in context and really take a look at what’s […]

Juvenile Hall Camp Alternatives Catch On

By Marisa Lagos  |  The San Francisco Chronicle  —   Redwood trees line the road to Log Cabin Ranch, a 640-acre property in the woods of La Honda that’s home to snakes, deer, turkeys, hawks and up to 24 of San Francisco’s most troubled youths. There are no fences, no locks and no handcuffs here, although it is a […]

South Dakota JDAI Training

YLC Attorneys Sue Burrell, Maria Ramiu and Deborah Escobedo headed to South Dakota to provide a one-and-a-half day training for juvenile facility assessment teams. The training introduces teams composed of community members and subject matter experts to the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) standards for treatment and conditions in juvenile facilities. It also teaches the […]

Juvenile Justice Reform: A Blueprint

The Youth Transition Funders Group is thrilled to announce the latest edition of their publication, Juvenile Justice Reform: A Blueprint, aimed at improving outcomes for our youth, specifically those in the juvenile justice system. The Youth Law Center is listed as a Resource. Learn more about juvenile justice reform and download the Blueprint here: Juvenile […]

Sue Burrell’s Law Review Article Published

In May 2012, the UC Davis Journal of Juvenile Law and Policy published Staff Attorney Sue Burrell’s law review, Contracts for Appointed Counsel in Juvenile Delinquency Cases: Defining Expectations. The article presents the results of work undertaken as part of the MacArthur Foundations’ Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network, and multi-year national initiative. Sue’s team of […]

Sue Burrell Presents on Ineffective Representation

YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell spoke at the April 27, 2012, Symposium on Ineffective Representation at Loyola Law School’s Center for Juvenile Law & Policy. With Michael Lightfoot and Steve Drizin, Sue explored the components of ineffective representation in delinquency cases. She presented research on problems in the profession that contribute to inadequate representation, including […]

YLC Quoted in Article Re: Outdoor Recreation at the JJ Center

The New York Times published a Bay Citizen report in which YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell was interviewed about alleged deficiencies in outdoor recreation time at San Francisco’s Juvenile Justice Center. According to complaints to the juvenile justice commission, there have been serious gaps in outdoor recreation since the new facility opened in 2006. Disturbingly, […]

Sue Burrell Interviewed for Articles Re DJJ Facilities Closure

YLC staff attorney Sue Burrell was interviewed by the Daily Journal and Bay Citizen newspapers in connection with a February 2012 report from the California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) on the Governor’s plan to close the Division of Juvenile Facilities. The LAO Report proposes a less abrupt process and urges the need for an intensive […]

Bay Citizen Article re Juvenile Justice Realignment

Report: State Should Shut Down Youth Prison System – Governor’s plan gains new support, but many prosecutors remain opposed By Trey Bundy  |  The Bay Citizen  — California lawmakers should phase out the state’s youth prison system and begin housing and treating all juvenile offenders in county programs, according to recommendations released this week by the state Legislative […]

Giving Detainees Access to Outdoor Recreation

By Trey Bundy  |  The New York Times and the Bay Citizen  —   How many adults does it take to supervise a playground? Too many, apparently, if the playground is at San Francisco’s Juvenile Justice Center. A large outdoor recreation area at the city’s juvenile hall — part of a $47 million renovation in 2006 — has sat […]

YLC Taps Jennifer Rodriguez for Executive Director

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 […]

Sue Burrell and Collateral Consequences

YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell co-presented a workshop January 21, 2012, on Collateral Consequences of Sustained Petitions in Juvenile Court at a statewide seminar for juvenile defense attorneys in Monterey, California. With Rourke F. Stacy of the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office, Sue spoke to 200 attorneys about the short and long term consequences […]

Rehabilitative Program Strengthens Family Bonds

By Vanessa Angiuli  |  Daily Nexus  —   Several Santa Barbara County juvenile detention facilities have joined the “Baby Elmo” program, which helps young incarcerated parents develop and maintain relationships with their children while serving their sentences. Started in 2007, the Baby Elmo program is the result of a collaborative effort between Georgetown University associate professor Rachel Barr and […]

Noozhawk Article re Baby Elmo Project in Santa Barbara Co.

County’s Baby Elmo Program Reunites Incarcerated Teen Parents with Their Children By Lara Cooper  |  Noozhawk  — Baby Elmo programs in Santa Barbara County, one in Santa Maria and one at Los Prietos Boys Camp, teach incarcerated parents how to play and interact with their babies. All of the visits are videotaped, and Georgetown University researchers are measuring […]

Sue Burrell on CBS Local News

YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell was interviewed for a KPIX CBS (Channel 5) news story on the Governor’s budget proposal to close California’s Division of Juvenile Facilities to new intakes beginning in January 2013. Reporter Juan Vasquez asked about the impact on counties and the wisdom of the proposal. Sue noted the immense difficulty of […]

YLC at Beyond the Bench

Youth Law Center attorneys Alice Bussiere, Jennifer Rodriguez and Sue Burrell spoke at the statewide Beyond the Bench Conference held December 14-16, 2011 in San Francisco, sponsored by the Judicial Council of California, Administrative Office of the Courts, Center for Families, Children and the Courts. This year’s conference was the 21st Beyond the Bench, and […]

Youth Law Center Honors Unsung Heroes

San Francisco, California — The Youth Law Center announced today that it will give its highest honor to four leading individuals from around the country for their extraordinary contributions to improve the lives of children and youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. The Youth Law Center will award a prestigious “Loren Warboys […]

Loren Warboys Unsung Heroes 2011

Each year, the Youth Law Center presents the Loren Warboys Unsung Hero award to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to improve the lives of at-risk youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. This year’s awardees are: Cassandra Gonzalez Cassandra Gonzalez is the mother of two beautiful little girls and a community activist/youth […]

Orange County JDAI Training

Youth Law Center attorneys Sue Burrell, Deborah Escobedo and Maria Ramiu conducted a facility assessment training for the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) on November 3rd and 4th. The Orange County, California JDAI site hosted the two-day training on how to conduct a juvenile detention facility assessment using the JDAI conditions of confinement standards and […]

YLC – One of the Top Nonprofits Working with At-Risk Youth

The Huffington Post published an article today called “Who’s rescuing foster kids, runaways, and high school dropouts?” and the Youth Law Center is listed because it has been identified as one of the top nonprofits working with at-risk youth in the U.S. You can check out the slideshow here: Slideshow .

Sue Burrell Presents at NJDC Leadership Summit

On October 21, 2011, Youth Law Center Staff Attorney Sue Burrell co-presented “An Underutilized Tool for Change: Making Public Record & FOIA Requests,” at the National Juvenile Defender Center Leadership Summit in Seattle, Washington. With Brad Peterson from North Dakota, and Julie Valencia from Washington, Sue spoke about the mechanics and strategies involved in seeking […]

Recent Legislation Supported by YLC

Governor Brown signed a number of bills this month that we supported and will help children and youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Here’s a list of the bills, now law: AB 9 – Bullying AB 212 – AB 12 cleanup AB 735 – Priority in state internships for former dependent foster […]

Marin Says ‘Yes’ to Panic Button, ‘No’ to Closing Court

By Trey Bundy  |  The Bay Citizen  —   After two years of contentious debate over how to improve security at Marin County’s juvenile court, attorneys, judges, law enforcement officers, and court officials finally came to an agreement this week. The court will add more surveillance cameras, a magnetic screener, and a panic button — the standard equipment found […]

TRO Granted in S.H. v. Reed

The court in S.H. v. Reed, issued a temporary restraining order on Octover 12, 2011, against the state prohibiting the Ohio Department of Youth Services from deploying in juvenile facilities special tactics units from the adult department of corrections that use pepper spray and other uses of force prohibited in the settlement in S.H. The […]

YLC One of Sponsors for Juvenile Defenders Training

Youth Law Center staff worked with long time YLC Board member and former Executive Director, Mike Dale to present a 3-day National Institute for Trial Advocacy training for juvenile delinquency attorneys at Loyola Law School, September 16-18, 2011. The event, co-sponsored by Loyola Law School, the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center, the California Juvenile Indigent Defense […]

YLC Presented Webinar for Probation

On August 30, 2011, Jennifer Rodriguez and Maria Ramiu presented a webinar on “Probation Provisions in California’s Fostering Connections to Success Act.” Probation staff from more than twenty counties attended the webinar and most were interested in future webinars after AB 12 and AB 212 are enacted. Download powerpoint presentation that was used for the […]

YLC Identified as High Impact Nonprofit Working with Kids

The Youth Law Center was recently identified as 1 of 9 high-impact nonprofits working with at-risk youth by 88 experts. As a result, Philanthropedia is highlighting the Youth Law Center on its website as well as on GuideStar Take Action’s website. Philanthropedia is an online resource for donors who want to make a bigger difference […]

Congregate Care Substantially Reduced in Connecticut

Since 2009, the Youth Law Center has been working with Connecticut advocates to reduce group care, particularly for young children under the age of six, using research about the negative effects that group care can have on young children to advocate for change. The Department of Children and Family Services (DCF) issued a report on […]

Baby Elmo Article to Be Published

The article, The Baby Elmo Program: Improving Teen Father–Child Interactions within Juvenile Justice Facilities, written by Rachel Barr, Natalie Brito, Jaclyn Zocca, Samantha Reina, Jennifer Rodriguez and Carole Shauffer will be published in the September issue of Children and Youth Services Review. Here is an abstract of the article: The aim of the Baby Elmo […]

Marin Plans to Put Juvenile Suspects in a Glass Cage

By Trey Bundy  |  The Bay Citizen  —   Defense attorneys are furious about a plan to require juvenile criminal suspects in Marin County to sit inside “glass cages” during court proceedings. The lawyers say the proposal is unnecessary and unconstitutional. The plan would include building a rectangular box — equipped with speakers and a microphone — inside the […]

Legal Tactic Raises Issues for Juveniles

By Trey Bundy  |  New York Times  —   By Trey Bundy In April 2010, three boys, ages 12, 12 and 13, were accused of raping a 12-year-old female classmate in the gymnasium of their San Francisco middle school. Last month, the allegations against two of the boys were found to be true by a juvenile court judge, and […]

Sue Burrell – 2011 Livingston Hall JJ Award Recipient

The American Bar Association has named Sue Burrell as the 2011 recipient of the Livingston Hall Juvenile Justice Award for her longstanding advocacy on behalf of youth in California and across the country. The Livingston Hall Juvenile Justice Award was established in 1985 by the ABA Juvenile Justice Committee to recognize lawyers practicing in the […]

Texas Teachers May Get to See Kids’ Crime Records

By Danny Robbins, Associated Press  |  San Francisco Chronicle  —   Dallas — Texas is close to enacting a law that would provide teachers with detailed information about the criminal histories of their students, opening juvenile files that have been confidential in most states. The legislation, spurred by the fatal stabbing of a high school teacher in Tyler in […]

Courts Seek Ruling on Long Prison Sentences for Juveniles

By Kate Moser  |  The Recorder  —   After it was all said and done, Richard Power’s legal work might have bought his young client 14 years of life. Power’s client, who was 14 when he committed his crimes and 18 when he was sentenced, will spend most of his years behind bars, but thanks to a Second District […]

Sue Burrell – On Juvenile Justice Reform Panel

The Children’s Law Center, Inc. is pleased to offer an audio webcast on: Trends and Challenges in Juvenile Justice Reform: Experiences of Three States MODERATOR: Dana Shoenberg, Deputy Director, Center for Children’s Law and Policy PANEL: Abby Anderson, Executive Director, Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance Sue Burrell, Staff Attorney, Youth Law Center Ana Yáñez-Correa, PhD, Executive […]

Corene Kendrick – Guest Teacher at San Quentin State Prison

Staff Attorney Corene Kendrick was a guest teacher on April 3, 2011 for a class at San Quentin State Prison, through the Prison University Project. She spoke about the push-out of children from schools to the juvenile justice system to a “Mass Incarceration in the United States” class comprised of a mix of prisoners and […]

Corene Kendrick – 2011 Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow

Staff Attorney Corene Kendrick will visit Harvard Law School March 30-31, 2011, as a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow. This program brings public interest attorneys to Harvard to counsel law students about public service. Each Wasserstein Fellow spends one to two days on campus meeting individually with law students to advise them about public interest career […]

Unclear Oversight Yields Repeated Violations at Youth Home

Unclear Oversight Yields Repeated Violations at Home for Troubled Youth By Trey Bundy  |  The New York Times  — In Alameda County, there is just one emergency group-home shelter for emotionally disturbed teenagers. It is called Refuge, for Resource Environment for Underprivileged Groups Enterprise Inc., but according to state documents and former employees, it is anything but a […]

Juveniles In Custody Taught Parenting Skills

By Isaac Gonzalez  |  The Sacramento Press  —   The Sacramento County Probation Department recently passed the one-year anniversary of its participation in “Baby Elmo” classes for its juvenile residents. The program, designed in part by Georgetown University, teaches parenting skills to incarcerated juveniles with children. Naomi McCormack, who works with residents at the Youth Detention Facility, praised the […]

Nebraska Legislation Based on Report Co-Authored by YLC

Nebraska Sen. Mark Christensen introduced a bill in the state legislature on January 19, 2011, that would require its Judiciary Committee to develop requirements for attorneys for children in dependency court, and to consider the recommendations made in a report co-authored by the Youth Law Center. The report and study, Evaluation of the Guardian ad […]

Corene Kendrick on School to Prison Pipeline Panel

Staff Attorney Corene Kendrick and Roger Chan, Executive Director of the East Bay Children’s Law Office, spoke in a panel presentation at Stanford University on January 18, 2011. The topic of the discussion was the school-to-prison pipeline, and how zero tolerance policies and the presence of law enforcement in schools lead to more youth ending […]

Perspective: Shifting Values in Juvenile Justice?

By Sue Burrell, YLC Staff Attorney  |  Los Angeles Daily Journal  —   It wasn’t a bad year for juvenile justice in California. In fact, it has been a remarkably good decade considering the disasters faced by other public systems. Recent developments reflect an incipient national shift toward child-centered values. We are (at last) seeing a withering away of […]

Shauffer Quoted in Article Re Ouster of LA DCFS’ Director

Carole Shauffer, YLC Executive Director, was quoted in an article in the Los Angeles Times about the ouster of Trish Ploehn, who was the director of Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services. Download article.

County Ousts Child Agency Chief

By Garrett Therolf  |  Los Angeles Times  —   Trish Ploehn, the embattled director of Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services, was removed Monday and is expected to be replaced for now by a top county official who wrote a recent report which found the agency to be in “crisis.”. Antonia Jimenez, a top aide to […]

2010 Loren Warboys’ Unsung Heroes

Each year, the Youth Law Center presents the Loren Warboys Unsung Hero award to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to improve the lives of at-risk youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. This year’s awardees are PAOLO ANNINO Paolo Annino is a clinical law professor at Florida State University College of Law […]

Sue Burrell – 2010 PJDC Juvenile Defender of the Year

YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell received the 2010 “Juvenile Defender of the Year” award at the seventh annual Pacific Juvenile Defender Center Roundtable held on November 6, 2010 at Sacramento State University. When presenting the award to Sue, PJDC Co-Director Patricia Lee recognized Sue’s incredible career of advocacy at both YLC and the Los Angeles […]

YLC Analysis of DJJ Parole Realignment to the Counties

On October 19, 2010, the Public Safety budget trailer bill, A.B. 1628, was signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, effective immediately upon this date of enactment. This new law included language that amends the Welfare & Institutions Code (WIC) and reorganizes and realigns juvenile parole from the California Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) to […]

Sue Burrell Consults on Juvenile Competency Legislative Guide

Sue Burrell, YLC Staff Attorney, was invited to serve as a consultant on a soon to be released legislative guide on juvenile competence to stand trial. Along with a small group of judges, prosecutors and juvenile defenders, Sue provided feedback to Dr. Thomas Grisson and Dr. Kimberly Larson of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, […]

Corene Kendrick at NACC Annual Conference

Staff Attorney Corene Kendrick spoke at a training at the annual conference of the National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC) on October 21, 2010, in Austin, TX. The training focused on how attorneys representing youth in individual dependency and delinquency cases can effect systemic policy changes in their jurisdictions.

Deaths from Abuse and Neglect Increase among Children. . .

Deaths from Abuse and Neglect Increase among Children under L.A. County Oversight By Garrett Therolf  |  Los Angeles Times  — More children have died in each of the last two years from abuse or neglect after being under the eye of Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services despite assurances by county officials that the problem […]

LA Times Article re Mother’s Fight for Son’s Education

COLUMN ONE:  With Son Behind Bars, Mother Wages Battles For His Education By Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times  |  The Los Angeles Times  — She took on successive bureaucracies, demanding a proper education for Michael while he sat in juvenile hall and then county jail, his learning stagnating as he awaited trial. Now that he’s in state prison, […]

JDAI Training in Rhode Island

Staff Attorneys Sue Burrell, Deborah Escobedo, and Corene Kendrick conducted a training on Sept. 15 and 16, 2010, in Providence for Rhode Island facility staff. The training was on how to assess the conditions of confinement at the juvenile detention facility. The training was part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative […]

Jennifer Rodriguez Presents Florida Summit Keynote Address

On August 25, YLC Staff Attorney Jennifer Rodriguez delivered the keynote address for the 12th annual Florida Dependency Summit, an event that united 2000 child protective investigators, community-based care staff, foster parents, judges, attorneys, medical and mental health providers, child advocates, law enforcement, education and legal experts to discuss ways to improve Florida’s foster care […]

YLC Participation in ABA Presidential Showcase

Staff Attorney Corene Kendrick and Board Member Michael Dale were among the speakers participating in a Presidential Showcase presentation on August 5, 2010, at the American Bar Association’s annual meeting in San Francisco. The panel, “Enforcing a Right to Counsel for Children: The Time is Now” explored the role that a lawyer should play for […]

Juvenile Justice Diverges in Court

By Molly Hennessy-Fiske  |  Los Angeles Times  —   Travell Lincome was a 15-year-old special education student when he was charged two years ago with assault with a deadly weapon. He and a 16-year-old friend had allegedly thrown bleach at a woman and her baby at a South Los Angeles car wash. His friend, who faced similar charges, got […]

JIDAN Featured in Story on Inequalities in Legal Representation

Youth Law Center was quoted in a Los Angeles Times story examining the representation by panel attorneys in Los Angeles County. The article focused on disparate pay for panel attorneys and reviewed what happened in two juvenile cases in which youth represented by panel attorneys received inadequate representation. The article cited the work of the […]

Article Re Juveniles in Isolation in Harris County

For Their Own Good – Harris County Juveniles Certified as Adults Are Jailed in Isolation 23 Hours a Day—Without Being Convicted of a Crime By Chris Vogel  |  Houston Press  — George awakes scared and confused. He’s had the dream again, the one where he is living back at home, where he can wander into the kitchen at […]

Mental Health Issues in California’s Juvenile Justice System

Youth Law Center’s work on placement delay was cited in a recent Berkeley Center on Criminal Justice Policy Brief, Mental Health Issues in California’s Juvenile Justice System (May 2010). The Policy Brief discusses a range is issues in serving youth with mental health needs in the California juvenile justice system, including the need for uniform […]

Justices Bar Life Terms for Youths Who Haven’t Killed

By The Associated Press  |   WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has ruled that teenagers may not be locked up for life without chance of parole if they haven’t killed anyone. By a 5-4 vote Monday, the court says the Constitution requires that young people serving life sentences must at least be considered for release. The […]

YLC Signed on to Comments on NPREC Standards

The Youth Law Center signed on to comments on the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission (NPREC) Standards for the Prevention, Detection, Response, and Monitoring of Sexual Abuse in juvenile facilities. The need for the standards is very great given findings from the most recent Bureau of Justice Statistics that 10.3 percent of institutionalized youth surveyed […]

Gerald Singleton Joins YLC’s Board

The Youth Law Center is pleased to announce that Gerald Singleton has joined our board. Mr. Singleton’s law firm litigates personal injury, civil rights, criminal and medical marijuana cases in state and federal courts and is currently part of a group of three law firms representing over 1100 clients in suits against SDG&E stemming from […]

Sue Burrell Speaker at Mental Health Conference

YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell was an invited speaker at the Forensic Mental Health Association of California’s annual conference held March 24-26, 2010, in Seaside, California. The group brings together judges, lawyers, court experts and staff from forensic mental health programs around the state to focus on legal and policy issues relating to mental health. […]

Former Law Clerk Awarded Scholarship

Meredith Alexander, 2009 Summer Law Clerk, has been awarded the Rosenthal Bar Exam Scholarship for 2010. The Rosenthal Bar Exam Scholarship Program recognizes outstanding graduating California law students with financial need who are embarking on careers in public service law by providing financial support for costs related to taking the California Bar Exam. Winners will […]

Mitesh Patel to Be Given Adult Role Model Award

Project Cornerstone has chosen Mitesh Patel, Youth Law Center law clerk, to receive its Adult Role Model Award. Project Cornerstone works with community organizations to help develop assets in youth in the Bay Area. For the past two years, Mitesh Patel—a third-year law student at Santa Clara University—has served as volunteer facilitator in the Fresh […]

“When we sentence youth to die in prison, God cries”

By Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, Ph.D.  |   Here is an article written by one of our 2007 Unsung Heroes: Every year as Jews gather on our holy days we remind ourselves that repentance is possible, forgiveness is possible and we pray that our lives do not become defined by our worst moments or our worst acts. […]

Lawsuit Against Marin Superior Court and Marin County

A lawsuit filed on March 10, 2010, in the California First District Court of Appeal charges Marin County and Marin Superior Court officials with violating state law and the Constitutional rights of youth detained in Marin County Juvenile Hall by preventing the children from being physically present for delinquency court hearings. Citing a lack of […]

Press Release re Kleppe v. Marin County

Lawsuit Filed to Stop Marin Juvenile Court Hearings by Videoconference FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MARCH 10, 2010 Contact: Corene Kendrick, 415-543-3379 x3909 Sue Burrell, 415-543-3379 x3911 Legal action taken against Marin Superior Court and Marin County by local advocacy group. (San Francisco, CA – March 10, 2010) – A lawsuit filed today in the First District […]

Viewpoint: Juvenile Justice

By Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben  |  Palisadian-Post  —   After reading the moving Viewpoint in last week’s Palisadian-Post, written by Pilar Garcia-Brown on behalf of the HRW Student Task Force at Palisades High, I can’t help but echo their concern for the injustice of our juvenile justice system. Every year as Jews gather on our holy days we remind […]

YLC Quoted in Article on Incarceration of Young Children

YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell was interviewed for the latest in a series of articles by the San Jose Mercury News on the incarceration of young children in Santa Clara County. After a learning of frequent incarceration of young children, the Santa Clara County Juvenile Justice Commission is issuing a report recommending the imposition a […]

Article re Jailing of the Very Young

Santa Clara County Commission Calls for End to Jailing of the Very Young By Karen de Sá  |  San Jose Mercury News  — The jailing of several young children last year in Santa Clara County has prompted a call by a court-appointed commission to end the detention of anyone age 12 and younger in the juvenile hall — […]

All Florida’s Abused Kids Deserve Lawyers

By Michael J. Dale and Louis M. Reidenberg  |  Sun Sentinel  —   It is truly a sad day for Florida’s abused and neglected children. Unlike children in 38 states, Florida’s children have no right to a free lawyer to represent them in abuse and neglect cases, even though by law, they are parties to the case. A bill, […]

Sue Burrell at the National Symposium on Indigent Defense

YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell was among the invited guests at the Department of Justice National Symposium on Indigent Defense, held February 18-19, 2010 in Washington, D.C. The Symposium was moderated by Professor Charles Ogletree of Harvard University, and the program included a keynote speech by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. The Symposium was designed […]

YLC’s Letter to the New York Times Re: Restraints

Sue Burrell and Corene Kendrick’s letter to the editor was printed in the New York Times on February 7, 2010, in response to Nicholas D. Kristof’s recent column comparing rape in juvenile facilities to abuses at Abu Ghraib. They put a spotlight on the use of hardware and fixed restraints like “restraint chairs” that are […]

Protecting Youth in Prisons From Violence and Abuse

By Sue Burrell and Corene Kendrick  |  New York Times  —   To the Editor: Nicholas D. Kristof compares the rape of children in juvenile justice facilities to the abuses in Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, China or North Korea. Unfortunately, another barbaric practice is common in our nation’s juvenile correctional facilities — the use of hardware and fixed restraints like […]

5 Juvenile Detainees Report Staff Molestation

By Kristina Davis  |  San Diego Union Tribune  —   OTAY MESA — County probation officials are reviewing how they can better protect juveniles in custody after five boys at the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility reported in a national survey that they had been sexually victimized by a jail staff member. Of the 36 boys surveyed at East […]

YLC Joins Effort to Protect Medicaid for Youth in the JJ System

YLC has joined other state and national organizations to urge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to include in final health care legislation a provision in the House-passed bill (H.R. 3962, §1729) requiring states to suspend—rather than terminate—Medicaid benefits for youth in juvenile facilities. This issue arises out of YLC work on Improving Access to Health Care […]

Articles on Juvenile Representation in Daily Journal

The Daily Journal (California’s daily legal newspaper) published a two-part article written by YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell. Part One of the article is about the need for juvenile defender training and Part Two goes into detail about how the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center through the MacArthur Foundation’s Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network (JIDAN) is […]

PERSPECTIVE: Juvenile Defense Attorneys Speak Out

By Sue Burrell  |  Daily Journal  —  The first part of this article explored the special skills and training needed to represent young people in California juvenile delinquency cases, and the reasons competent representation is so critical. In 2009, a statewide survey of juvenile defense counsel conducted by the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center revealed serious deficiencies in training among […]

Daily Journal Article re Specialty Training

PERSPECTIVE:  Juvenile Delinquency:  The Case for Specialty Training By Sue Burrell  |  Daily Journal  — Each year, more than 100,000 young people in California face juvenile court delinquency petitions alleging violations of the law – more than in any other state. Most are represented by an attorney – and for good reason. The potential consequences of juvenile court […]

YLC Mourns Loss of Jack Daniel

The Youth Law Center mourns the loss of Jack Daniel who spent his entire legal career as a public interest advocate. Over the past 30 years he worked as a public defender and as a paralegal and lawyer in legal aid programs, including East Texas Legal Services, Central California Legal Services and California Rural Legal […]

Loren Warboys’ Unsung Heroes 2009

Each year, the Youth Law Center presents the Loren Warboys Unsung Hero award to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to improve the lives of at-risk youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. This year’s awardees are RACHEL BARR Rachel Barr received her Clinical Diploma and her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology with Harlene […]

SB 1147 Comments

YLC and the Western Center on Law and Poverty submitted comments on draft SB 1147 materials to the California Department of Health Care Services on December 4, 2009. SB 1147 requires California to suspend rather than terminate Medi-Cal for individuals under 21 who become inmates of the public institution. The goal of SB 1147 is […]

JDAI Training in Portland

Staff Attorneys Sue Burrell, Deborah Escobedo, and Corene Kendrick conducted a training on Dec. 3 and 4 for facility staff from Oregon and Washington in Portland. The training was on how to assess the conditions of confinement at the juvenile detention facility. The training was part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives […]

California JIDAN Featured in Models for Change Newsletter

The MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change newsletter this month features the JIDAN project and includes a discussion about how the California JIDAN team has been using technology to help juvenile defenders. The Youth Law Center is part of the California JIDAN team. Click here to read about it.

YLC Participated in Traveling Training

YLC participated in the Traveling Training for legal services advocates sponsored by the Legal Aid Association of California (LAAC) in Fresno, California on November 17, 2009. LAAC developed the Traveling Training series to meet training needs identified at a 2001 meeting of California legal services advocates. The goal is to bring high-quality substantive trainings advocates […]

Equity Project’s “Hidden Injustice”

The Equity Project has just released Hidden Injustice: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth in Juvenile Courts. Hidden Injustice is the first comprehensive report to examine the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth in juvenile courts nationwide. LGBT youth comprise a significant portion (up to 13%) of youth in detention, according to […]

Alphabet Soup Trainings

YLC provided training on benefits available for children in out-of-home care on November 6 in San Francisco and November 9 in San Jose. Legal Services for Children hosted the San Francisco training for its staff and staff from the Juvenile Court Division of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. Legal Advocates for Children and Youth […]

Alice Bussiere Core Trainer for the College of Advocacy

YLC Staff attorney Alice Bussiere served as a core trainer for the College of Advocacy conducted October 9-16 in Los Gatos, California by the Benchmark Institute. The College of Advocacy provides an intensive training in advocacy skills, leadership and substantive law for attorneys, paralegals and other advocates who are new to legal services. For more […]

YLC Part of Review Team

YLC is working with consultants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) to conduct a follow-up review of child abuse and neglect policies, protocols, and practices for the Denver Department of Human Services. In 2008, AECF and the Child Welfare League of America completed a third party review at the request of DDHS, which resulted […]

Corene Kendrick Receives Miles Rubin Public Interest Award

The Youth Law Center is pleased to announe that Corene Kendrick is the 2009 Miles Rubin Public Interest Award Recipient from Stanford Law School. Corene will be honored at the John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law Annual Public Service Awards Dinner on Monday, November 2, 2009, along with Debo […]

Sue Burrell to Present at National Juvenile Defender Summit

YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell will be moderating a Plenary on “Defense Strategies to Challenge and Reduce Over-Incarceration” at the National Juvenile Defender Summit in Denver, Colorado, to be held October 16-18, 2009. The Summit is an annual invitational event hosting juvenile defense counsel and advocates from around the county. Sue also is co-presenting a […]

Valley Mirror Investigates Abuses at Tehama Co. Juvenile Hall

YLC Attorney Sue Burrell was interviewed for a Sacramento Valley Mirror series exposed alleged sexual misconduct by Tehama County Juvenile Hall staff with detained juveniles. Sue provided background information about applicable laws and regulations. The four part series ran August 19 to August 29, 2009. Four part series

Training in Indiana

YLC staff Sue Burrell, Corene Kendrick and Deborah Escobedo will be heading to Indianapolis, Indiana to present an all-day workshop on Facility Conditions Standards at the National Partnership for Juvenile Services Conference held October 11-14, 2009. YLC co-authored an extensive set of standards for juvenile detention centers as part of its technical assistance work for […]

Marquez v Calif. Dept. of Health Care Services – Filed

The Youth Law Center, along with other legal advocates, have filed a lawsuit challenging California Medi-Cal policies that deny necessary medical care to children who have other health care coverage (OHC) when the other coverage does not provide the health care services the child needs. Medi-Cal policy requires individuals to use other available health care […]

ACLU and CYFD Reach Agreement on JJ Facilities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, September 4, 2009 Contact: Peter Simonson, ACLU of NM Executive Director (505) 266-5915 x1002 ALBUQUERQUE— In a settlement reached today with the ACLU of New Mexico and the Youth Law Center (San Francisco, CA), the State of New Mexico Children, Youth, and Family Department (CYFD) agreed to continue to make substantial […]

California to Close Its Largest Juvenile Prison

By Michael Rothfeld  |  Los Angeles Times  —   Reporting from Sacramento – The state is closing California’s largest youth prison as the population of juvenile offenders in state custody continues to decline, corrections officials announced Thursday. The Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility in Chino will be converted into an adult prison, state officials said. The move is […]

Damon King, Skadden Fellow to Begin Work at YLC

Damon King, our Skadden Fellow, will begin work here on September 14th.  His project is to enforce the rights of children in California’s group homes through direct representation, legal support to court-appointed attorneys, and collaboration with state agencies to resolve facility licensing violations.  The goal of his project is to reduce the frequency of group […]

Nicole M. Lewis Joins the YLC Board of Directors

The Youth Law Center is happy to announce that Nicole M. Lewis has just joined our board.  Ms. Lewis is vice president of global marketing for Kelly Services, Inc., a world leader in human resources solutions. She is charged with the development of new products, as well as, the marketing strategies for Kelly’s global client […]

People v. Nguyen Decision a Disappointment

The California Supreme Court ruled on July 2, 2009, that juvenile felony adjudications count as “strikes” under California’s Three Strikes Law, even though youth do not have the right to a jury trial in juvenile court.  The Youth Law Center is disappointed by the court’s decision, as we had joined in an amicus brief in […]

Strip Search of 13 Year Old Student Unconstitutional

The Youth Law Center celebrates the United State Supreme Court decision in Safford v. Redding, finding unconstitutional the strip search of a 13 year-old middle school student.  The 8-1 decision held that strip searching Savana Redding based on information from another girl who was found with prescription strength Ibuprofen and over the counter drugs.  The […]

Mercury News Article re Lack of Mental Health Services

California’s Locked-Up Children Languish without Mental Health Services By Karen de Sá  |  Mercury News  — The lengthy detention of a mentally ill 11-year-old boy in Santa Clara County’s juvenile hall has raised alarm among national juvenile justice experts. But while the jailing, recently reported by the Mercury News, is rare, it reveals a far more common problem: […]

Press Release re Alejo v. O’Connell

Lawsuit Filed to Protect Programs for Homeless, Neglected, Migrant, English Learners and Other “At Risk” Students Concerned parents and community groups throughout California filed suit in San Francisco Superior Court today challenging State Superintendent Jack O’Connell’s decision to suspend monitoring of specialized education programs for Homeless, Neglected, Juvenile Justice, Migrant, English learners, and other disadvantaged […]

CMS Acts to Withdraw Harmful Medicaid Rules

 In December 2007, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued rules that would have restricted Medicaid funding for case management services for children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.  Case management services are particularly important for children with complex medical and mental health needs.  The Youth Law Center opposed these changes […]

Gateway Charter High School Fundraiser

Through their Future Leaders Institute, Gateway Charter High School Students, lead by Maricarmen Hernandez, are hosting a fundraiser to support the Youth Law Center’s “Baby Elmo” program.  Baby Elmo is our program that helps incarcerated teen parents stay connected to their children.  The event takes place at Gateway Charter High School on May 6, 2009, […]

Corene Kendrick Part of Nebraska NJDC Team

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 […]

Sacramento Bee Article re Youth Jails Closure

Closure of Youth Jails Proposed in Cash-Strapped Sacramento County By Andy Furillo  |  Sacramento Bee  — Sacramento County probation officials have proposed shutting down their two main youth jails for convicted juvenile offenders, a budget move that carries potentially drastic implications for public safety. The Probation Department’s proposal to close the Sacramento County Boys Ranch and the Warren […]

Signing on to Amicus

We have signed on to an amicus brief in a strip search case, Safford v. Redding, that is going before the Supreme Court.  The case has to do with a teenage girl being strip searched at school after another student said that she had prescription strength ibuprofen and it turned out that she did not. Safford v. […]

Santa Clara County Jails Youngest Child Ever

By Karen de Sa  |  Mercury News  —   One of the youngest children ever to be locked up in Santa Clara County spent five days in juvenile hall late last month, the Mercury News has learned, an unusual detention of a 10-year-old that has top officials scrambling to correct a case they describe as deeply disturbing. "In hindsight, […]

John and Marcia Goldman Foundation Grant

The John and Marcia Goldman Foundation has awarded the Youth Law Center and the Santa Clara University Law School a grant for leadership training.  The Youth Law Center will provide training and supervision to two to four Santa Clara University law students for ten weeks full-time this summer followed by part-time work during the academic […]

YLC Awarded Attorney Fees in L.H. v. Schwarzenegger

U.S. District Court Judge Karlton recognized the Youth Law Center and its co-counsel for their outstanding work in L.H. v. Schwarzenegger, in the attorneys’ fee award order he wrote today: “The resumes of both of the Youth Law Center attorneys demonstrate experience in litigation on behalf of juveniles…the quality of representation by plaintiffs’ counsel throughout […]

Hosptial for Young Inmates Urged

By Molly Hennessy-Fiske  |  L.A. Times  —   In a move to improve mental healthcare in the troubled juvenile justice system, Los Angeles County probation officials are asking that a 70-bed hospital in Sylmar be built to house and treat the most seriously ill youths in custody. The facility, which would cost an estimated $5 million to $10 million, […]

Law Review Article Just Published

By Sue Burrell, Corene Kendrick & Brian Blalock  |  Stanford Law & Policy Review  — Sue Burrell, Corene Kendrick and Brian Blalock’s article on incompetent youth in California’s juvenile justice system appears in the latest volume of the Stanford Law & Policy Review. Download article.        

Damon King New Skadden Fellow

The Youth Law Center is pleased to announce that Damon King has received a Skadden Fellowship to work at the Youth Law Center, beginning September 2009.  He will focus on enforcement of the rights of children in California’s group homes through direct representation, legal support for court-appointed attorneys, and collaboration with state agencies to resolve […]

Revised Juvenile Court Rules

The California Judicial Council has revised juvenile court rules governing the release of confidential records to provide additional protections for children and youth.  Working with Jack Daniel, an attorney with Central California Legal Services, the Youth Law Center recommended the change to clarify the court must make an individual determination of the best interest of […]

YLC Present at PJDC Roundtable

YLC Staff Attorneys Sue Burrell and Corene Kendrick were among the speakers at the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center’s annual roundtable for juvenile defenders, held November 7, 2008 in San Francisco.  Sue provided attendees with an update on juvenile justice-related legislation enacted by the California Legislature; and Corene spoke on a panel on competency to stand […]

Baby Elmo Project Presentation at CAPIA Training

Carole Shauffer and Jennifer Rodriguez with Dr. Rachel Barr and the staffs of participating counties presented a training on the Baby Elmo Project at the Southern Region California Association of Probation Institution Administrators on October 30th from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Orange County brought the youth who was the first participant/graduate of the program […]

JDAI Training in Houston

YLC Staff Attorneys Sue Burrell, Deborah Escobedo, and Corene Kendrick conducted a training on Oct. 7 and 8 at the Harris County Juvenile Justice Center (Texas) on how to assess the conditions of confinement at the juvenile detention facility.  The training was part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), which aims […]

Sacramento Bee Article re L.H. v. Schwarzenegger

Judge Orders Reforms for California Juvenile Parole Revocation By Denny Walsh  |  Sacramento Bee  — A Sacramento federal judge has ordered sweeping reforms to the parole revocation system for California juveniles, including an accelerated schedule of hearings to quickly determine whether revocation is merited. U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton earlier ruled the failure of state authorities to […]

SB 1147 Signed

This week, Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law S.B. 1147 – Medi-Cal for Juveniles.  As a result of this bill, Medi-Cal children being released from public institutions will no longer be faced with re-applying for benefits.  Their benefits will be suspended when they go into custody, so services can be accessed immediately when children are no […]

Proposition 6’s Answer to Safety Issues: Jail, Jail and More Jail

By Sue Burrell  |  Daily Journal  —   FORUM COLUMN On this November's crowded initiative ballot, voters will encounter a reassuringly entitled measure, "The Safe Neighborhoods Act," Proposition 6. At first glance, it may seem a likely yes vote, as a large portion of California's law enforcement community supports it. But for those of us who regularly trek to […]

California Selected for MacArthur Foundation JIDAN

By Sue Burrell  | San Francisco, California (August 28, 2008):  California has been selected as one of four sites nationally to participate in the Models for Change Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network.  The initiative, supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, is aimed at developing innovative solutions and strategies to better address the […]

Facility Self-Inspections Prove Valuable in New Mexico

Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative News  —  Detention facility self-inspections test whether facilities are meeting constitutional standards and best practices; protecting juveniles’ rights; and providing the services to which juveniles are legally entitled. The initial facility self-inspection develops baseline data on conditions of confinement against which progress can be measured. It identifies ways that facility policies and operations […]

L.H. v. Schwarzenegger Task Force Meeting

As co-counsel in L.H. v. Schwarzenegger, we are bringing tegether juvenile defenders from around the state to meet with the defendants to work on policy and procedures. This meeting will take place Friday at 9:30 at DJJ Headquarters, 4241 Williamsbourgh Drive, Suite 209, Sacramento, CA 95823. The meeting will be chaired by Mike Brady, a […]

Corene Kendrick on NACC Conference Panel

On Monday, August 4, 2008, Corene Kendrick, YLC Staff Attorney, took part in a panel training entitled “Collaborative Advocacy: How Attorneys Can Put Words Into Action for System Reform at the annual conference of the National Association of Counsel for Children in Savannah Georgia. The panel was attended by over a hundred attorneys.

San Bernardino Starts Baby Elmo Project

San Bernardino Probation Department held the first session of the Baby Elmo Project, a hands on teen parenting program, on Saturday, July 19th, making it the fourth county to have the program. Here is what the Orange County Chief Probation Officer, Coleene Presiado, said about the Orange County program: “The staff and kids at the […]

Kids Count Data Book Available

The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 19th annual Kids Count Data Book is now available. The annual Data Book is a national and state-by-state profile of the well-being of America’s children that seeks to enrich discussions concerning ways to secure better futures for all kids. The Data Book ranks states on 10 key measures and provides […]

Herald Salinas Article re L.H. Settlement

Lawsuit Gives Paroled Youths New Set of Rules – Arrested Juvenile to Get Hearing in 13 Days By Julia Reynolds  |  Herald Salinas Bureau  — Youths facing a return to prison on parole violations will be awarded the same rights as adults after the state settled a landmark class-action lawsuit this week. “The juvenile system has always been […]

Prompt Juvenile Parolee Hearings to Be Held

By Bob Egelko  |  San Francisco Chronicle  —   The state agreed Wednesday to hold prompt hearings and protect the rights of juvenile parolees who are sometimes held for months while awaiting rulings on whether they violated their parole. The California Division of Juvenile Justice also agreed to limit sentences for juvenile parole violations to one year and to […]

Sacramento Bee Article re L.H. Settlement

California Settlement Extends Adult Parollee Rights to Juvenile Offenders By Andy Furillo  |  Sacramento Bee  — Inmates rights lawyers and the state settled a lawsuit Wednesday that will grant to juveniles parolee rights already extended to adults. Under terms of the federal court deal, youthful offenders will have the right to a lawyer during parole revocation proceedings, to […]

LA Times Article re L.H. Settlement

State OKs Changes for Juvenile Parole Violators -Settlement Promises Attorneys and Timely Hearings for Youths By Michael Rothfeld  |  Los Angeles Times  — SACRAMENTO — — The state has agreed to provide attorneys and timely hearings for juveniles accused of violating parole, in a settlement of a federal class-action lawsuit by youths who said prison officials infringed on […]

Young Parolees Given Basic Rights

By Karen de Sa  |  Mercury News  —   A significant legal settlement announced Wednesday grants thousands of juvenile parolees fundamental due process rights for the first time in California history. Under the agreement reached in a Sacramento federal court between youth advocates and state officials, offenders who violate parole will soon be afforded the basic constitutional rights granted […]

California Settles Lawsuit Over Young Parolees’ Rights

By Don Thompson  |  AP National Story  —   SACRAMENTO, Calif.—California announced the settlement of a federal lawsuit Wednesday that accused the state of violating juvenile offenders' constitutional rights. The settlement requires the state to begin giving young offenders the same swift hearings that are given adults who are accused of violating their parole. U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton […]

L.H. v. Schwarzenegger Settles

A settlement was reached on June 4, 2008, between the California Division of Juvenile Justice and juvenile parolees in L.H. v. Schwarzenegger, a federal class action lawsuit alleging widespread violation of youths’ constitutional rights.  The suit was brought by two San Francisco law firms, Rosen, Bien & Galvan, LLP and Bingham McCutchen, and the Youth […]

Press Release re L.H. v. Schwarzenegger Settlement

Settlement Announced by Division of Juvenile Justice and Juvenile Parolees in Lawsuit over Lack of Due Process in Parole Proceedings California DJJ Agrees to Sweeping Overhaul of Parole System to Comply with Constitution. (San Francisco, CA – June 4, 2008) – Juvenile parolees today reached an agreement with the California Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) […]

Carole Shauffer on NPR

Carole Shauffer was on NPR's Nation – "A Closer Look: Kids in Court" May 23, 2008.  To listen to what she had to say, here is the link:

She Turned Her Life Around – Incarceration Spurs Change

By Jennifer Gentile  |  The Reporter  —   Amanda Bell's life as a young adult was on a downward spiral. Now almost 27, the Vaca- ville resident was candid about past mistakes and her subsequent turnaround. She also openly acknowledged coming from a dysfunctional family and being a victim of molestation. "I was just always extremely angry," she said. […]

Youth Law Center Profiled in Final Haigh-Scatena Report

The Youth Law Center is one of the grantees profiled in the final Haigh-Scatena Foundation report, "40 Years of Funding Social Change."  The report captures the essence of what the Haigh-Scatena Foundation was trying to achieve through grants in the last forty years.

Article on Juvenile Delinquency Courts

Court System for Juveniles in Disarray:  Study Says State Has Too Many Cases, Not Enough Resources By Karen de Sa  |  Mercury News  — California juvenile delinquency courts are plagued by too many cases, too few services for troubled youth and a total bewilderment among many families involved, a two-year study by the state court system has found. […]

Ohio Lawsuit Settles

S.H. v. Stickrath has settled. The settlement is a comprehensive commitment by Ohio to move the state’s juvenile correctional model away from large institutions to a regional small facility delivery system.In the short term the settlement restricts population to the rated facility capacity, increases staffing, implements new staff training, revises use of force, restraints, isolation […]

Support for SB 1147 – Medi-Cal Coverage for Juveniles

The Youth Law Center is sponsoring S.B. 1147, which would require the Department of Health Care Services to adopt protocols and policies to ensure that Medi-Cal eligible youth are not terminated from coverage, solely on the basis that they are inmates of a public institution.  The practical effect of this would be to ensure that […]

Press Release re Ohio Conditions Lawsuit Settlement

Juvenile Justice Reform on Track in Ohio – Class Action Settlement Filed COLUMBUS, OH – A comprehensive class action settlement has been filed today in federal court in Columbus, Ohio outlining reforms for the Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS). The system-wide scope of this agreement creates a long-term investment in Ohio youth by infusing […]

13,000 Abuse Claims in Juvie Centers

By HOLBROOK MOHR, Associated Press Writer  |  AP National Story  — COLUMBIA, Miss. – The Columbia Training School – pleasant on the outside, austere on the inside – has been home to 37 of the most troubled young women in Mississippi. If some of those girls and their advocates are to be believed, it is also a cruel […]

Three Counties Implementing Baby Elmo Parenting Program

Orange, Fresno and Yolo Counties are implementing the Baby Elmo Parenting Program, which is designed to support visit between incarcerated teens and their young children by providing basic parenting education and encouraging preliteracy skills through the use of the Sesame Street Beginnings DVDs.  

California DJJ Must Appoint Attorneys for all Youth

(Sacramento, CA – January 29, 2008) – A federal judge ruled today that the California Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) appoint attorneys to represent “each and every” DJJ parolee in parole revocation proceedings beginning no later than February 15, 2008.  The case, L.H. v. Schwarzenegger, Civ. No. 2:06-cv-02042, is a class action suit filed in […]

State Must Appoint Counsel for Juvenile Parolees, Judge Rules

By Linda Rapattoni  |  Daily Journal  —   SACRAMENTO – Attorneys for 3,000 juvenile offenders who sued the state for refusing them counsel said Wednesday they could not understand why state officials stalled on the matter until forced to act by a judge's order. Ruling in a class action, U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton of Sacramento issued a […]

Article re Closure of Two DJJ Facilities

January 5, 2008 Two Youth Prisons to Close – Division of Juvenile Justice says this shows the state is working to comply with a court-ordered overhaul. By Andy Furillo  |  Sacramento Bee  — The announced closures Friday of two California youth prisons provide concrete evidence that the state is working to comply with a court-ordered, top-to-bottom overhaul of its […]

Press Release re Reforms of Ohio’s Juvenile Justice System

Ohio Announces the Release of Fact-finding Report, Prompting Continued Reforms of Ohio’s Juvenile Justice System COLUMBUS, December 31, 2007 – A fact-finding report released today by nationally recognized independent consultant Fred Cohen outlines a foundation for future reforms of Ohio’s juvenile corrections system. As a result of a class-action lawsuit that originated in December 2004, […]

Loren Warboys Unsung Heroes 2007

Each year, the Youth Law Center presents the Loren Warboys Unsung Hero Award to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to improve the lives of at-risk youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.  This year’s awardees are: RON CLEMENT Ron Clement was the CEO and sole staff of the “spent-out” and recently dissolved […]

Federal Judge Favors Juvenile Parolees in Due Process Suit

By Linda Rapattoni  |  Daily Journal  —   SACRAMENTO – A federal judge ruled Wednesday the state's parole revocation system for juveniles unconstitutionally denies them their due process rights, and he ordered the state to come up with a new plan within 30 days. U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton granted a partial summary judgment motion in a class action […]

Visitors to Juvenile Hall Feel Stuck Too

By Susannah Rosenblatt  |  The Los Angeles Times  —   On a typical Sunday morning in an industrial patch of the northern San Fernando Valley, a couple of dozen mothers and fathers huddle together a few hours after sunrise. Armed with camp chairs, snacks and magazines, the early-bird crowd, eager to visit their sons and daughters at Barry J. […]

Young Offender Camp a Possibility for Area

By EMILIE RAGUSO  |  Sacramento Bee  — Stanislaus and neighboring counties will keep more youthful offenders closer to home if a monumental change to the state’s juvenile justice system is approved with this year’s budget. “I’ve been in this business for 34 years, and this has been the biggest thing I’ve seen happen,” said Brian L. Cooley, Merced […]

CJJRP Press Release

California Juvenile Reentry Partnership Aims To Improve Outcomes For Youth FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 21, 2007 Contact: Laurie Kappe i.e. communications, LLC (415) 616-3930 Privately funded $780,000 initiative for policy and practice reform San Francisco (CA) – The California Juvenile Justice Reentry Partnership (CJJRP), a collaborative effort to improve outcomes for youth released from juvenile […]

Sue Burrell Honored by the SF Public Defender’s Office

At the San Francisco Public Defender’s 4th Annual Juvenile Justice Summit, “Youth Justice: School, Gangs & Leadership”, Sue Burrell received an award for her steadfast commitment and advocacy of youth within the juvenile justice system. Books Not Bars were also honored for for their advocacy for youth and families.

Press Release on Juvenile Justice Data Project

Unprecedented Collaborative Effort Provides Data on County & State Programs The Juvenile Justice Data Project (JJDP) today released the results of the first ever statewide survey of California’s juvenile justice system, providing a snapshot of 100,000 youth under the jurisdiction of both county probation departments and the state Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). “Investing in […]

Fire at L.A. Juvenile Hall Signals Wider Issue for Youth Lockups

By Susan McRae  |  The San Francisco Daily Journal  —   LOS ANGELES – Despite federal monitoring of Los Angeles County's three juvenile halls, critics say a recent fire that sent one youth to the hospital in critical condition reveals some disturbing oversights. In its report, city fire officials noted that 14 of the 18 locked living units at […]

Press Release re L.H. v. Schwarzennegger

Judge Denies State’s Motion To Dismiss Federal Lawsuit Challenging California’s Unconstitutional Juvenile Parole System Sacramento, CA – February 28, 2007 – Federal district Judge Lawrence Karlton today denied the State of California’s attempt to have the court throw out a lawsuit challenging the state’s unconstitutional parole system. The opinion also certified a class of 4000 […]

Loren Warboys Unsung Heroes 2006

Each year, the Youth Law Center presents the Loren Warboys Unsung Hero award to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to improve the lives of at-risk youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. This year’s awardees are EIDE ALAWANEide Alawan has spent his life doing interfaith activities and explaining Islam to the American […]

L.H. v. Schwarzenegger Press Release

(Sacramento, CA – June 21, 2006) – A class action lawsuit filed today in federal district court in Sacramento charges that the California Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and Board of Parole systematically violate the constitutional rights of juvenile parolees in revocation proceedings. Attorneys from three law firms, Rosen, Bien & Asaro, LLP, Youth Law […]

YLC & BALA Settle Lawsuit Challenging Housing Authority

The Youth Law Center (YLC) and the Contra Costa County office of Bay Area Legal Aid (Bay Legal) successfully completed a unique collaborative effort to restore a disabled tenant’s Section 8 housing voucher through litigation in federal court challenging the housing authority’s improper use of confidential juvenile court record information in the termination decision. The […]

Violence-Prone YA Still Fails Its Children, Its Taxpayers

By Sue Burrell and Jonathan Laba  |  SF Daily Journal – Forum Column  — Beginning in 2000, the California Youth Authority, the state’s institutional system for our most serious juvenile offenders, occupied the headlines on a regular basis. Local and national media reported rampant violence, staff-on-ward beatings, canine attacks, multiple suicides, extended 23-hour lockdowns, and kids going to […]

Gang Label Removed in Santa Cruz County

A Special-Education Student Gets Gang Label Removed in Santa Cruz County By George B. Sanchez  |  Monterey County Herald  —  In Santa Cruz County, the mother of a special-education student took the Pajaro Valley Unified School District and the Sheriff’s Office to court after they identified her son as a gang member. Though the student was not placed on […]

Agreement to Overhaul New Mexico’s Juvenile Justice System

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, February 17, 2006 CONTACT: Peter Simonson, Executive Director, ACLU of New Mexico, 505-266-5915 or (cell) 505-620-0775 Daniel Yohalem, ACLU-NM Cooperating Attorney, 983-9433 Albuquerque – Civil rights groups have agreed to hold off on a major class action lawsuit against New Mexico’s Children Youth and Families Department in return for promises of […]

Housing Authority Sued Re Sec. 8 Housing Subsidy Termination

The Youth Law Center and Bay Area Legal Aid have filed a lawsuit against the Housing Authority of the County of Contra Costa for terminating the Plaintiff’s Section 8 housing subsidy. The Housing Authority terminated Plaintiff’s Section 8 housing subsidy by using the release of information purportedly relating to her son’s juvenile criminal record, but […]

YLC Hires Two Staff Attorneys For San Francisco Office

Profiles of the new staff attorneys: Corene Kendrick Corene Kendrick joined the Youth Law Center in October 2005 as a Staff Attorney. Before joining the Youth Law Center, she was a Skadden Fellow Staff Attorney at Children’s Rights in New York, where her Skadden fellowship project focused on articulating legal strategies to fight the growing […]

Loren Warboys Unsung Heroes 2005

Each year, the Youth Law Center presents the Loren Warboys Unsung Hero award to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to improve the lives of at-risk youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. This year’s awardees are: REVEREND NORMAN COPELANDReverend Copeland is the Presiding Elder of the Southern California Los Angeles District of […]

Press Release re Ohio Conditions Lawsuit

Children’s Advocates File Suit against Ohio over Abuse of Girls at Scioto Lawsuit cites abysmal state record of civil rights violations, abusive and inhumane treatment Cincinnati, Ohio – Today, the Children’s Law Center, the Youth Law Center, and the firm of Sirkin, Pinales & Schwartz LLP of Cincinnati filed a civil rights class action lawsuit […]