December 30, 2023


Help Us Build Pathways from Youth Incarceration to Higher Education

Help Us Build Pathways from Youth Incarceration to Higher Education

Children and youth throughout the United States are too often mistreated by the systems that are supposed to protect and rehabilitate them. Instead, they are forgotten, neglected, criminalized, and dismissed.

But not at the Youth Law Center in San Francisco.

Since 1978, the Youth Law Center has won important victories for young people in these systems. At the same time, we work with young people, their families, and those closest to them to build better, positive child- and youth-focused systems based on their essential needs and developmental science and to build youth power to lead change.

Your support fuels projects such as the Student Leadership Fellowship to continue our advocacy to ensure every student has opportunities to reach their full potential.

Since 2015, the Youth Law Center’s Pathways from Youth Incarceration to Higher Education project has led the charge to create new college educational opportunities for justice-involved youth for the past seven years, which resulted in Governor Gavin Newsom including a historic investment of $15 million in funding to community colleges specifically for youth impacted by the juvenile justice system into the California budget in 2022 and in 2023 state requirements that all county probation departments offer in-person or online college courses in youth detention facilities.

Building on that victory, our Student Leadership Fellowship will invest in the power of students with lived experience in California’s juvenile justice system so they can become leaders in advocacy for expanded postsecondary education opportunities. These student leaders will become a force in the statewide implementation of the new $15 million ongoing California community college budget investment and new policies and will advocate to position community colleges as an alternative to incarceration. As all 52 counties in California have at least one community college, there are opportunities across the state to provide transformational alternatives to incarceration through pathways to college degrees and careers.

With your support, our Student Leadership Fellowship program will provide many more youth in the juvenile justice system with the keys to a different life.

Student Leadership Fellowship program member Yefry Samael shares his perspectives during our November 2023 webinar on our latest report examining California’s juvenile court schools.

If you make a gift to the Youth Law Center before Midnight on December 31, 2023, your gift will be matched, dollar for dollar, thanks to a $15,000 matching gift from two generous donors.

With your help, we will continue to achieve remarkable success improving the lives of thousands of children and youth in foster care and juvenile justice systems all over the country.