Jennifer Rodriguez interviewed for Great.com!

YLC’s Executive Director Jennifer Rodriguez spoke with Emil Ekvardt of Great.com for part of their ongoing podcast series on why the foster care system must prioritize love and strong childhood relationships and YLC’s efforts to use new research to drive positive change. Click here to listen to the full interview!

California Halts Use of Out of State Foster Care Facilities

Months of Youth Law Center advocacy with the Young Women’s Freedom Center demanding that the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) exercise its oversight and enforcement obligations to protect California youth from being placed in  dangerous out of state facilities that fail to comply with California standards has resulted in CDSS closing admissions to, and […]

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: […]

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, sweiss@ylc.org 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 […]

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 […]

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, sweiss@ylc.org, (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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

CECANF Works Toward Development of a National Strategy

The Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities (CECANF), established by the Protect Our Kids Act of 2012 (H.R. 6655 [112th]), is more than a year into its mission to study the current landscape and develop a national strategy and recommendations for reducing fatalities resulting from child abuse and neglect.  The Children’s Bureau Express, which covers […]

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 […]

Jennifer Rodriguez testifies on use of psychiatric meds.

YLC Executive Director Jennifer Rodriguez testified before the California Senate Human Services Committee on February 24th on the key role parenting and loving supportive relationships  play in preventing inappropriate use of psychotropic medications for youth in foster care.  Reforms around use of psychotropic medications for foster youth must include efforts to restrict use of congregate […]

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 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 […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

2013 Loren Warboys Unsung Heroes Photos and Article

The Youth Law Center held its annual Loren Warboys Unsung Heroes Reception on December 9, 2013 at the San Francisco law firm of Bingham McCutchen.  Each year, the Youth Law Center honors individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to improve the lives of children and youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems.  This […]

Jennifer Rodriguez Featured in California Health Report

Jennifer Rodriguez was profiled in the cover article of the California Health Report (Summer 2013).  The article highlights the Youth Law Center’s innovative work and unique approach to advocacy, as well as Jennifer’s own history and accomplishments. We are very proud of Jennifer and the work that she and our staff have accomplished. Community Healer […]

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 […]

Baby Elmo Program: Teen Dads Learn Parenting Skills

YOUTUBE VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhxkx7SVp-I Ohio juvenile detention offers dad program By: Dave Arnold, newsnet5.com 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 […]

Role of Carole Shauffer and QPI Highlighted in Article

The role of Carole Shauffer and QPI are highlighted in the following article about normalcy in foster care in Florida. WILKINS, DETERT TELL CONGRESS ABOUT FOSTER CARE REFORMS By MARGIE MENZEL THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, May 9, 2013……….Florida’s 2013 foster-care reforms shared the spotlight at the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Agencies Work to Unite Foster, Biological Parents

by KELLI KENNEDY, Associated Press When Angela Austin-Knight’s teenage son and daughter were placed in foster care in 2008, she was despondent and angry. Not only had she lost custody of her children because of her drug use, but now two strangers were raising them. She feared she would have no contact with the foster […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

NATIONAL: States Change How They Recruit Foster Parents

By Kelli Kennedy  |  AP  —   MIAMI (AP) – For decades, it was common for officials around the country to approve foster parents by room and board criteria: Did they pass a background check? Is their home clean? Are their dogs safe and vaccinated? Now several states including Florida, California and Wisconsin, are trying to find ones who […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

States Change How They Recruit Foster Parents

By Kelli Kennedy  |  The Miami Herald  —   For decades, it was common for officials around the country to approve foster parents by room and board criteria: Did they pass a background check? Is their home clean? Are their dogs safe and vaccinated? Now several states including Florida, California and Wisconsin are trying to find ones who they […]

Zeanah Shauffer Dozier Article Just Published

The Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry has just published an article entitled, Foster Care for Young Children: Why It Must Be Developmentally Informed, in their December issue. It was written by Youth Law Center’s Executive Director, Carole Shauffer, Dr. Charles H. Zeanah with the Institute of Infant and Early Childhood […]

YLC Board Member Interviewed on CNN

On November 11, 2011, Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment at the National Women’s Law Center and YLC Board member, was interviewed on CNN about sexual harassment of students in light of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) newly released report on sexual harassment in schools, titled “Crossing the Line.” Ms. […]

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 .

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 […]

Alice Bussiere’s Article on Adoption Assistance

“Adoption Assistance: An Introduction” by Alice Bussiere has been published in the July-August 2011 issue of Clearinghouse Review. Adoption assistance programs provide crucial support for families adopting children with special needs. However, such federal and state programs can be difficult for both parents and their advocates to navigate. Adoption advocates need to familiarize themselves with […]

Funding for At-Risk Youth Lacks Oversight, Advocates Say

By Kendall Taggart  |  California Watch  —   More than a dozen civil rights and education organizations are contending that the California Department of Education unlawfully stopped monitoring millions of dollars in funding for low-income and minority students. The Asian Pacific American Legal Center, along with other advocates, filed a friend of the court brief Friday claiming the Department […]

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 […]

Foster Children Routinely Housed in Office Waiting Room

By Garrett Therolf  |  Los Angeles Times  — Supervising Social Worker Lincoln Saul says Department of Children and Family Services officials have grown defensive about their inability to cope with the problem and take steps to hide it. The agency’s acting deputy director denies Saul’s allegations. A Los Angeles County social worker has accused his managers of routinely […]

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 […]

Foster Connections Article Update

The Clearinghouse Review has published an update on The Fostering Connections Act written by YLC staff attorneys Jennifer Rodriguez and Alice Bussiere with Jennifer Pokempner, a supervising attorney at the Juvenile Law Center. The News and Notes item, available at 44 Clearinghouse Review 582-584 (March-April 2011), discusses policy guidance on the extension of foster care […]

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 […]

Caseworkers Dispirited Over Charges in Girl’s Death

By Cara Buckley and Mosi Secret  |  The New York Times  —   The faces looked commanding, soulful and, above all, streetwise, as they began staring out at New Yorkers three years ago from posters blanketing subway cars. The intent was to recruit top-flight talent to the city’s beleaguered Administration of Children’s Services after the death of 7-year-old Nixzmary […]

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 […]

Article About Rhode Island’s Children Shelters

Carole Shauffer is quoted in an article about Rhode Island’s children shelters. Here is the quote: “The length of the stay worries Carole B. Shauffer, executive director of the Youth Law Center, a nonprofit based in San Francisco, which has sued California for overusing shelters for children age 6 and under. No matter how well […]

R.I. Children’s Shelters Get Short Reprieve from Budget Ax

By Lynn Arditi, Journal Staff Writer  |  The Providence Journal  —   He arrived at the Washington Park Children’s Shelter shortly before midnight, coughing and wheezy, his buttocks raw from diaper rash. Nearly 14 months old, he hadn’t yet learned to walk and moved on his hands and feet like a spider. For his first meal at the children’s […]

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 […]

Local Youth Advocate Wins National ‘Unsung Hero’ Award

By Donna Tam  |  The Times-Standard  —   When Rochelle Trochtenberg criticized the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Service’s approach to group homes two years ago, she didn’t know she would end up being employed by the department. A former foster youth, Trochtenberg felt compelled to voice her opinion about the group home system at a July […]

Jennifer Rodriguez Quoted in Article about 2010 Unsung Hero

The Times-Standard in Eureka published an article about one of the 2010 Loren Warboys Unsung Heroes, Rochelle Trochtenberg, a lead organizer of the Humboldt County Transition Age Youth Collaboration (HCTAYC). Jennifer Rodriguez, YLC Staff Attorney, is quoted as saying “Trochtenberg is an example of how youth can help change the system when they are given […]

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 […]

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, […]

Carole Shauffer Quoted in Article Re Lack of Foster Homes

The Connecticut Mirror printed an article today about a new report by the Connecticut Voices for Children. The report says that hundreds of foster children continue to be placed into costly congregate homes instead of family settings because of a lack in foster homes. Carole Shauffer is quoted as saying that other states, including Maryland, […]

State Still Lacks Foster Homes

By Jacqueline Rabe  |  The Connecticutt Mirror  —   Despite efforts to reverse the trend, hundreds of foster children continue to be funneled into costly congregate homes instead of being placed in family settings, a new report says. About a quarter of some 4,000 abused or neglected children in the custody of the state Department of Children and Families […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Don’t Neglect our Foster Children

By Chronicle Editorial  |  San Francisco Chronicle  —   The last two years have brought a tremendous amount of pain to all of those who depend on government services, and California’s foster children are no exception. Last year, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger used his line-item veto power to cut $80 million in funding for Child Welfare Services. His staff insists […]

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 […]

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 — […]

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 […]

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 […]

Letter to the NY Times – A Look at Children and Orphanages

By Joan Kaufman, Mary Dozier and Carole Shauffer  |  New York Times  — To the Editor: Re “Study Suggests Orphanages Are Not So Bad” (news article, Dec. 18): The article describing the study of 6- to 12-year-olds suggested that orphanages are not so bad. As the authors of the study noted, institutional care is detrimental for infants and […]

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

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 […]

Fostering Connections to Success

By Alice Bussiere, Jennifer Pokempner, Jennifer Rodriguez  | YLC staff attorneys Jennifer Rodriguez and Alice Bussiere co-authored an article with Juvenile Law Center Attorney Jennifer Pokempner, entitled “Fostering Connections to Success: Extending a Social Safety Net for Youths Facing Homelessness and Poverty.”  The article discusses provisions of a new federal law that affect older youth in […]

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: […]

Corene Kendrick on ABC Channel 7 May 10, 2009

Corene Kendrick will be on “Beyond the Headlines” at 10:00 a.m. this Sunday, May 10th, on ABC Channel 7 to talk about A.B. 12, the California Fostering Connections to Success Act, and transition-aged foster youth.

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 […]

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, […]

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.        

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 […]

Oregonian Article re Oregon Adoption Assistance Lawsuit

An Overdue Settlement – The State Rightfully Agrees to Pay $ 1.7 Million to Families of Former Foster Children The Oregonian  — In February 2003, during the darkest days of Oregon’s budget crisis, forced school closures got the state some negative national publicity in the comic strip “Doonesbury.” That same month, however, schoolchildren weren’t the only […]

Settlement to Repay Adoptive Families

By Karen McCowan  |  Register-Guard  —  The state of Oregon has agreed to pay a combined $1.7 million to thousands of families who adopted Oregon foster children and then saw their promised state assistance abruptly reduced during a 2003 state budget shortfall. The payments to the families of more than 6,688 former foster children are part of a class […]

Boy’s Abuse Was No Secret

By Ari B. Bllomekatz  |  Los Angeles Times  —  Friends and family say they suspected that Starkeisha Brown beat her 5-year-old son — but nobody called authorities. Such inaction has its roots in distrust of police and child-protection workers. In Starkeisha Brown’s small circle of South Los Angeles, it was no secret that her 5-year-old son was the victim […]

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 […]

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 […]

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:  http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90776359

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. […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

DCF has the will, but needs the tools

Miami Herald  —   A headline in the Jan. 19 Metro Section — Report: Abuse workers in Miami overloaded — may explain the ''why'' behind a Jan. 22 headline in the same section — Report: DCF inept in handling 2 rape cases. The first article cited a new report that specified problems in child protection provided by […]

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 […]

DCF abuse investigators overloaded, report finds

By CAROL MARBIN MILLER  |  Miami Herald  —   A new report on Miami-Dade's troubled child welfare program finds child abuse investigators are dedicated but overworked and insufficiently trained. Miami child abuse investigators who juggle as many as 40 new cases a month — more than double the national standard — are poorly trained, don't have enough Spanish and […]

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, […]

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. […]

The Incompletion Rule

San Francisco Chronicle  — JOSHUA LEONARD, executive director of an East Bay nonprofit agency that serves foster children, has filed a lawsuit alleging that California discriminates against foster children with disabilities. The current “completion rule” states that foster children who have not completed high school by the age of 18, but have a strong possibility of […]

Foster Care Policy Unfair, Groups Say

By Alexa Hyland  |  Daily Journal  —   Three nonprofit advocacy groups are claiming the California Department of Social Services' policy requiring foster children to show whether they will complete their high school education by age 19 violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and state anti-disability laws. The Public Interest Law Project of Oakland, Youth Law Center in San […]

Article re Leonard v. Wagner

Suit Demands California Stop Forcing Children with Disabilities Out of Foster Care at Age 18 (San Francisco, CA – July 25, 2007) – A lawsuit filed in state court today in San Francisco charges state officials with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and state anti-disability laws by refusing to allow foster children with disabilities […]

California Foster Children with Disabilities Lawsuit

Legal action taken against the California Department of Social Services by three nonprofit advocacy groups. (San Francisco, CA – July 25, 2007) – A lawsuit filed in state court today in San Francisco charges state officials  with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and state anti-disability laws by refusing to allow foster children with disabilities […]

Article re Clark County Child Welfare System

Outlook Improves for Child Welfare System Overload in Child Welfare Has a Brutal Backlash. By Lisa Kim Bach  |  Las Vegas Review-Journal  — Infants born exposed to illegal drugs begin stacking up in local hospital nurseries when Clark County runs out of foster homes and shelter space. Juvenile victims of neglect end up sleeping on cots in Child […]

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 […]

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 […]

Article Re State Judge Rules Against Florida DCF

State Judge Rules Against Florida Department of Children and Families and in Favor of Foster Children Who Lived in Office Conference Rooms (Tallahassee, FL – November 9, 2006) – State Circuit Judge Janet Ferris has issued a permanent order on behalf of foster children in the Florida Panhandle area in a lawsuit against the Florida […]

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 […]

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 […]

Lawsuit Filed Against Florida DCFS and Big Bend

Legal Action Taken Against the Florida Department of Children and Family Services and Private Contractor Big Bend Community Based Care. (Tallahassee, FL – April 4, 2006) – A class action lawsuit filed in Florida state court today charges the Department of Children and Family Services (“DCF”) and a private contract foster care agency, Big Bend […]

Class Action Lawsuit Filed for N. Florida Foster Children

Legal action taken against  the Florida Department of Children and Family Services and private contractor Big Bend Community Based Care. (Tallahassee, FL – April 4, 2006) – A class action lawsuit filed in Florida state court today charges the Department of Children and Family Services (“DCF”) and a private contract foster care agency, Big Bend […]