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Strategic Plan 2009-2011

Recipient of the 2008 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions
Juvenile Law Center

Board of Directors* Staff

Eric S. Koenig, Esq. Robert G. Schwartz, Esq.


President Executive Director
Claire A. Walker, Ph.D. Marsha L. Levick, Esq.
Vice President Deputy Director and Chief Counsel
Andrew Wesztergom Lourdes M. Rosado, Esq.
Treasurer Associate Director
Hon. John L. Braxton Jennifer Pokempner, Esq.
Secretary Supervising Attorney

Jonathan W. Cuneo, Esq. Jessica Feierman, Esq.


Anita L. DeFrantz Supervising Attorney
Peter B. Edelman, Esq. Neha Desai, Esq.
Vernon L. Francis, Esq. Riya S. Shah, Esq.
Frank F. Furstenberg, Jr.
Richard D. Holder Emily Keller, Esq.
Kathryn M. Markgraf Zubrow Fellow
Robert J. Reinstein, Esq. Sherry E. Orbach, Esq.
John A. Rich, M.D., M.P.H. Zubrow Fellow
Ann Rosewater
Joanna Darcus
Michael C. Ruger, Esq.
Autumn Dickman, MSS, MLSP
Lynn E. Rzonca, Esq.
Jeff Frankl
Daniel Segal, Esq.
Debbie A. Hollimon-Williams
Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D.
Rosie McNamara-Jones
Sheila R. Willard
Joann Viola
Juan Williams
Barry L. Zubrow

Director Emeritus
Sol E. Zubrow (1976-1993)

* Fall, 2008

Cover art by muralist


Eric Okdeh for the Mural Arts
Program of Philadelphia Mural,
Rights and Responsibilities.

February 2009
© Juvenile Law Center
Table of Contents

Executive Summary 1
Introduction and Overview 3

Substantive Areas of Work 6

Successful Transition to Adulthood by Youth in Foster Care 6


Access to Education by Youth in Foster Care 7
Developmentally Appropriate Juvenile and Criminal Justice Policies 9
Mental Health Needs of Youth in the Juvenile Justice System 11
Access to Education by Youth in the Juvenile Justice System 12
Access to Counsel for Youth in the Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Systems 13
Rational Confidentiality and Information Sharing Policies 15
Special Needs of Girls in the Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Systems 16

Major New Project Initiatives 17

National Policy Center 17


Academic Advisory Board 18
National Back-up and Training Center 19
Pro Bono Initiative 20

Measuring Success 21
Juvenile Law Center’s Vision for 2018 23
Executive Summary

Juvenile Law Center’s mission


Advancing the rights and well being of children in jeopardy

Founded in 1975, Juvenile Law Center (JLC) is the oldest multi-issue public interest law firm
for children in the United States. With an approach grounded in principles of adolescent
development, JLC uses the law on behalf of youth in the child welfare and criminal and juvenile
justice systems to promote fairness, prevent harm, ensure access to appropriate services and
create opportunities. JLC uses an array of legal and other advocacy strategies to ensure that
the child welfare, juvenile justice, and other public systems provide vulnerable children with
the protection and services they need to become healthy and productive adults.

Juvenile Law Center’s substantive areas of work

Juvenile Law Center’s substantive spotlight will continue to focus on reforming the child
welfare and juvenile justice systems for adolescents at the local, state and national levels. This
includes ensuring that those systems are aligned with principles of adolescent development
and respect for human rights, and that they provide for teens’ access to education, physical and
behavioral health care, and other supports youth need to become productive adults.
Juvenile Law Center will continue to work in both Pennsylvania and across the county. Our
Pennsylvania work will enable us to continue to prioritize our efforts, engaging in our most
in-depth work locally where our experienced staff can leverage its knowledge of current
executive, legislative and judicial leadership, and its experience and instincts about how best
to effect change in local and state systems. Nationally, we will work to achieve broad policy
reforms through involvement in selected cases either as co-counsel or amicus curiae; dissemi-
nation and distribution of JLC publications; training; consultation and advice to colleagues;
collaboration with other national organizations on policy analysis and advocacy; and the
development of a new and innovative national scorecard for rating state child welfare and
juvenile justice policies.

Juvenile Law Center will seek to advance its mission in 2009-2011


in the following eight substantive areas

Successful Transitions to Adulthood for Youth in Foster Care


JLC’s goal is to ensure that the child welfare system promotes the successful transition to
adulthood of teenagers in foster care.

Access to Education for Youth in Foster Care


JLC’s goal is to ensure that youth in foster care have access to education and an opportunity to
succeed in school.

Developmentally Appropriate Juvenile and Criminal Justice Policies


JLC’s goal is to ensure that juvenile and criminal justice policies and practices are aligned with
principles of adolescent development.

Mental Health Needs of Youth in the Juvenile Justice System


JLC’s goal is to ensure that juvenile justice policies and practices respond to youths’ mental
health needs.

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“ Founded in 1975, Juvenile Law
Center (JLC) is the oldest multi-issue
public interest law firm for children
in the United States.”

Access to Education by Youth in the Juvenile Justice System


JLC’s goal is to ensure that youth in the juvenile justice system have access to basic and special
education and the opportunity to succeed.

Access to Counsel for Youth in the Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Systems
JLC’s goal is to ensure that youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems have timely
access to quality counsel throughout their involvement with these systems.

Rational Confidentiality and Information-Sharing Policies


JLC’s goal is to ensure that sensitive information about youth in the child welfare and juvenile
justice systems is used and shared in ways that promote better outcomes for youth while
protecting their rights and respecting their privacy concerns.

Special Needs of Girls in the Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Systems
JLC’s goal is to ensure that the child welfare and juvenile justice systems have the capacity to
respond to the unique needs of adolescent girls.

Juvenile Law Center’s new project initiatives

JLC will undertake four new initiatives in 2009-2011 in support of achieving our goals
nationally in the substantive areas described above:

National Policy Center


JLC will create an in-house policy arm to research, identify and promote child welfare and
juvenile justice laws and policies that advance JLC’s mission.

Academic Advisory Board


JLC will establish an Academic Advisory Board to inform and enhance the use of research in
JLC’s legal advocacy and review model policies for the National Policy Center.

National Back-up and Training Center


JLC will establish a formal center to provide assistance and training to attorneys who represent
children in dependency and delinquency court proceedings.

Pro Bono Initiative


JLC will engage lawyers to do pro bono work that advances its mission and activities.

Measuring success

Juvenile Law Center measures progress through client and consumer feedback and data, as
well as changes in policies and practices. We examine outcomes in terms of impact (on indi-
vidual children and families); influence (the changes in policy and practice we create that will
have an impact on children’s lives); and leverage (getting others, such as advocates, lawyers,
parents and foundations to devote time and dollars to JLC’s goals).

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Introduction and Overview

This plan builds on work that was the focus of Juvenile Law Center’s 2002 and 2005 plans,
while embarking on several new or augmented initiatives.

Focusing on adolescents in child welfare and the justice system:


Juvenile Law Center focuses on the needs and rights of adolescents who are at risk of or have
spent time in the custody of the child welfare or juvenile or criminal justice systems. Nation-
wide, there are 600,000 children and youth in foster care, with more than 20,000 “aging out”
of foster care each year. There are more than 20,000 youth in foster care in Pennsylvania. Each
year, two million American youth are arrested; in Pennsylvania, juvenile courts hear over
40,000 delinquency cases each year.

Adolescents in the child welfare system:


The child welfare system is responsible for child protection-including protecting children in
their own homes or, if that isn’t possible, providing substitute care including foster care. In
order to be successful, adolescents and youth aging out of foster care need access to basic
and special education, as well as physical and behavioral health care. Those who are aging
out of the foster care system to independence also need housing, job training, and other
supports to succeed. While federal law provides some protections, the support youth receive
varies widely from state to state. In many, if not all states, older youth in care do not receive
the support they deserve to make a transition to a productive adulthood.

Adolescents in the juvenile and criminal justice systems:


The juvenile and criminal justice systems often fail to take account of principles of adolescent
development, and frequently violate the Constitution and other laws. Most youth charged
with crimes are processed in the juvenile justice system. A small percentage in every state
are tried and sentenced as adults. Youth who are tried as adults are generally subject to the
same sentencing schemes as adults. While the U.S. Constitution, to some extent, regulates
state justice systems (e.g., requiring that delinquent youth have counsel or barring execu-
tion of those who were under 18 at the time of their crimes), the federal government plays a
much smaller role in juvenile justice than it does in child welfare. In many states, youth in the
juvenile justice system fail to receive the education and treatment for physical and behavioral
health needs to which they are entitled. When youth are tried and/or sentenced as adults,
their access to treatment is severely limited, completely ignoring their developmental status.

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“ Each year, two million American
youth are arrested; in Pennsylvania,
juvenile courts hear over 40,000
delinquency cases each year.”

Juvenile Law Center’s substantive spotlight will remain on reforming the child welfare and
juvenile justice systems for adolescents. This includes ensuring that those systems are aligned
with principles of adolescent development, honor human rights, and ensure teens’ access to
education, physical and behavioral health care, and other supports they need to be produc-
tive adults. JLC will bring increased attention to promoting rational information-sharing and
juvenile record expungement policies, as we use the law to ensure that information supports
positive youth outcomes.

Creating the future:


Visions of the future are not self-actuating-they do not happen by wishing them to be so. JLC
and our colleagues have a history of anticipating the future and creating it. We have helped
turn nascent goals into ideas that are in wide currency around the country. Examples over the
last decade or so include our work on ending mandatory zero tolerance policies, addressing
the education of delinquent and dependent youth, helping to introduce adolescent develop-
ment into the jurisprudence of juvenile justice, and highlighting the overlap between the child
welfare and juvenile justice systems. Our work has led other professionals to pick up our issues
across the country, enabling us to play key supporting roles or leadership roles as needed, even
as we nurture new issues. For these reasons, the MacArthur Foundation honored JLC in 2008
with its Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.

Augmenting national work:


To accomplish its goals, JLC will significantly augment its national policy work. We will create a
national policy arm that will establish model policies against which state policies can be rated,
as well as a national back-up center for lawyers who represent children. We will dramatically
expand pro bono opportunities for lawyers in Pennsylvania and across the country who want
to join our effort to give youth opportunities, to see that youth are treated fairly, and to protect
youth from harm.

Building JLC’s capacity:


This plan also calls for JLC to carefully add staff to strengthen our infrastructure, including
adding to our development staff. We will invest most of the MacArthur Award for Creative
and Effective Institutions and use the rest in the short-term to promote JLC’s long-term via-
biity. JLC will have a stable, experienced staff that is disciplined, nimble, and creative. Staff
compensation and benefits will promote stability and ensure that staff members are healthy,
refreshed, and clear-thinking. Our revenue streams will match our ambitions. Communications,
marketing, and development will be integrated into JLC’s work.

JLC’s Board of Directors will continue to be comprised of leaders from academia, medicine,
law, business, communications, and other fields who are stewards of JLC’s future. The Board
will manage JLC’s endowment, assist with development, provide wisdom and guidance, and
ensure that JLC has the capacity to reach its goals and objectives.

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Substantive Areas of Work

Successful transition to adulthood by youth in foster care

Goal
Ensure that the child welfare system promotes the successful transition to adulthood of teenag-
ers in foster care.

Issues and Needs


Every year in the United States about 20,000 youth “age out” of the foster care system;
Pennsylvania accounts for more than 1,500 of those youth. Research has confirmed that these
youth face tremendous challenges when they leave the foster care system. They often struggle
to support themselves and to further their education and acquire skills they will need to obtain
and hold a job with a living wage and insurance.

In fall 2008, the federal “Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act”
was enacted. This new law expands funding for states to serve foster youth ages 18-21 and is
a critical tool that JLC and its national partners will use to reform state policies and practices to
better serve aging-out youth. JLC will work with national partners to urge more states to enact
legislation and policies that will ensure that: (1) older youth in care (ages 14-21) have sufficient
access to all permanency services so that they can spend as little time in the system as needed
and achieve permanency, either through reunification with their families or placement with
a new family; and (2) youth leaving foster care have a transition plan that encompasses their
basic needs, including housing, education, work, and health care as well as supportive
relationships that they can count on.

Action Steps
• Develop model legislation and policies on permanency and transition planning for older
youth in the child welfare system. Rate current state statutes and policies against the models,
which will be considered “benchmarks.” (See discussion of National Policy Center and
Academic Advisory Board below in section on Major New Initiatives.)
• Advocate in Pennsylvania and selected states for new laws and policies in line with the JLC-
developed models.
• File appellate and amicus briefs in Pennsylvania and selected states in cases involving critical
legal issues affecting transitioning youth.
• Involve youth in advocacy by supporting their participation in Pennsylvania’s Youth Advisory
Board to child welfare agencies (mandated by federal legislation) and providing training on
their rights and the development of leadership skills.
• Promote media coverage of the challenges facing older youth in care and deficiencies in
existing state laws/policies as an advocacy tool to push for reform.

Outcome Measurement
Juvenile Law Center will monitor the impact of its work by tracking a number of measures,
including the following:

• Number of states that adopt JLC model legislation or policy.


• Number of favorable court rulings.
• Number of youth actively involved with Pennsylvania’s Youth Advisory Board.
• Amount of media coverage of the challenges facing older youth in care, deficiencies in exist-
ing state laws/policies, and recommendations for reform.

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“ Nationwide, there are 600,000 children
and youth in foster care, with more than
20,000 ‘aging out’ of foster care each year.”

Access to education by youth in foster care

Goal
Ensure that youth in foster care have access to education and an opportunity to succeed in
school.

Issues and Needs


When youth change living placements, they are often forced to move between schools.
Research shows that every time a child in foster care changes schools he or she loses four to
six months of educational progress. Once a child has changed schools, the child also faces a
new set of problems. New school districts often illegally bar the entry of youth in care for a
variety of reasons: because they fear that these youth have special education needs, behavior
problems and low test-scores, or simply because it’s hard to accommodate youth who arrive
mid-year or even mid-semester. When foster youth are admitted, new schools often decline
to transfer credits from the prior school, forcing youth to re-take classes and sometimes to
forfeit their diplomas. Foster youth who want to pursue higher education also face numerous
obstacles, including obtaining housing while in college and an array of supportive services to
help them cope.

Juvenile Law Center’s foster care and education project - in partnership with Education Law
Center-PA and the American Bar Association - addresses these issues in Pennsylvania and
across the country. Our joint Blueprint for Change publication sets forth JLC’s framework
for action both locally and nationally. JLC’s current work focuses on achieving the following
Blueprint goals for youth: school stability, seamless transitions between schools, and non-
discrimination and school supports for youth in care. JLC and its partners will continue to
work for successful implementation of the legal changes we’ve already accomplished in
Pennsylvania, push for additional legal reforms, and begin to work for system reforms on the
rest of the goals outlined in the Blueprint. JLC and its partners will use the recently enacted
“Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act” as leverage to push more
states to take affirmative steps to ensure greater school stability for youth in care.

Action Steps
• Train and communicate to the field in Pennsylvania on the new Department of Public
Welfare and Department of Education Bulletins, which reinforce each other by requiring
social workers and educators to promote educational stability for youth in care.
• Advocate for the adoption of Pennsylvania state law on school stability, credit transfer and
granting of diplomas.
• Provide support to youth on Pennsylvania’s Youth Advisory Board Youth (YAB) as they
advocate for state legislation that would provide a college tuition waiver for former and
current foster youth who attend in-state universities.
• Develop model state legislation and policies based on the Blueprint. Rate current state
statutes and policies against the models, which will be considered “benchmarks.” (See
discussion of National Policy Center and Academic Advisory Board below in section on
Major New Initiatives.)

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• Through our national collaborators - the Legal Center for Foster Care & Education and the
National Working Group on Foster Care & Education - provide technical support and legal
expertise to other state-level advocates across the country who are working to implement the
Blueprint framework and goals in their jurisdictions.
• Promote media coverage of the educational challenges facing youth in care and deficiencies
in existing state laws/policies as an advocacy tool to push for reform.

Outcome Measurement
Juvenile Law Center will monitor the impact of its work by tracking a number of measures,
including the following:

• Number of states that adopt JLC model legislation or policy.


• Amount of media coverage of the education challenges facing youth in care, deficiencies in
existing state laws/policies, and recommendations for reform.

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Developmentally appropriate juvenile and criminal justice policies

Goal
Ensure that juvenile and criminal justice policies and practices are aligned with research on
adolescent development.

Issues and Needs


The developmental characteristics of adolescents and their diminished capacities affect both
their decision-making in the system (e.g., competence to participate as trial defendants in the
criminal or juvenile justice system or to waive rights, such as Miranda rights or their right to
counsel) and their blameworthiness for the conduct with which they are charged. Develop-
mental psychology, which was the foundation of the United States Supreme Court’s opinion
ending the juvenile death penalty in Roper v. Simmons in 2005, has now been enhanced by the
emerging science of brain research. Neuroscientists, through brain imaging, are providing
visual evidence of the research findings of developmental psychologists: by showing that the
adolescent brain is continually developing throughout adolescence and how that affects teens’
abilities to govern their behavior, the images corroborate the developmental characteristics
that psychologists had previously identified. These findings have implications for treatment of
youth in either the juvenile or criminal justice system.

In the post-Roper era, juvenile and criminal justice policies and practices that take little or no
account of the developmental differences between adolescent and adult offenders are subject
to challenge. While Roper is not a silver bullet, it has opened new avenues and theories for
legal challenges to the ‘adultification’ of juvenile offenders as well as in right to counsel cases
and institutional litigation. The influx of juveniles into the adult system as a result of legislative
changes in the 1990’s has exposed juveniles to all of the harsh features of that system - lengthy
sentences with no consideration for rehabilitation, treatment or education.

Juvenile Law Center is among a small group of public interest law firms that concentrate on
challenges to transfer and sentencing laws for juveniles, heavily drawing on the adolescent
development scholarship and brain science. JLC was the co-author of the advocates’ amicus
brief in Roper; participated in the MacArthur Research Network that connected adolescent
development research with juvenile justice policy; and continues to be in the forefront of think-
ing and strategizing about legal challenges in this area. JLC Board member Larry Steinberg has
also been at the forefront of much of this research. Additionally, JLC has deep experience in
litigating other key juvenile justice issues. Because the Roper court also relied on international
law in its holding, JLC has begun incorporating international law and human rights arguments
into briefs.

“ In 1975, four ambitious law graduates established the Juvenile Law Center – and
they’ve been leading the way in child advocacy ever since. Over the years, JLC
has demonstrated flexibility in its approaches and focus, while remaining true to
the experiences and convictions of the young people it represents.”
~Emily Buss, Director of Chicago Policy Initiatives at The University of Chicago
Law School

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Action Steps
• Research and author briefs in key juvenile and criminal justice appeals in federal and state
courts to align law with adolescent development scholarship and brain research, as well as
with international law and human rights principles. JLC will focus its appellate work on the
following issues:
• Jurisdictional issues (whether youth should be tried in juvenile or adult court);
• Sentencing, including lengthy mandatory adult sentences and Juvenile Life Without the
Possibility of Parole (JLWOP);
• Right to counsel;
• Admissibility of youth confessions; and
• Competency of youth to be trial defendants.
• Bring affirmative conditions of confinement litigation as needed in Pennsylvania and selected
other states.
• Develop model legislation in the areas listed above. Rate current state statutes and policies
against the models, which will be considered “benchmarks.” (See discussion below of Major
New Initiatives.)
• With the National Juvenile Defender Center, produce the second edition of the Understand-
ing Adolescents training curriculum.
• Promote media coverage of issues listed above, as an advocacy tool to push for reform of
state laws in these areas.
• Engage youth who are in the juvenile justice system in policy reform efforts.

Outcome Measurement
Juvenile Law Center will monitor the impact of its work by tracking a number of measures,
including the following:

• Number of states that adopt JLC model legislation or policy.


• Number of favorable court rulings and settlements.
• Number of trainings of juvenile justice personnel using the Understanding Adolescents
training curriculum.

“ A lot of foster kids feel like the child welfare system is ‘as good as it gets’ and they
shouldn’t expect much more out of life. Juvenile Law Center helps kids find their
voice, helps them understand that they have a right to be treated fairly, that they
can have dreams and productive lives beyond the system. My foster parents and
Juvenile Law Center have inspired me to not only help myself, but to help others
and that’s what I intend to do with my life.”
~Shaheed Days, Juvenile Law Center Intern and 17 year veteran of the foster
care system

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Mental health needs of youth in the juvenile justice system

Goal
Ensure that juvenile justice policies and practices respond to youths’ mental health needs.

Issues and Needs


The high prevalence of mental disabilities among youth in the juvenile justice system has
been well documented. Large scale studies show that as many as 65%-75% of youth in the
juvenile justice system have one or more diagnosable psychiatric disorders. Unless appro-
priately identified and treated, these youth will pose a safety risk to themselves and others in
institutions and sink deeper and deeper into the juvenile justice system as they are unable to
meet their rehabilitation goals.

The mental health needs of this population have spawned a number of initiatives around the
country for earlier and more comprehensive screening, assessment and treatment. However,
defense attorneys are often not involved in developing and monitoring these initiatives, which
can often result in negative collateral consequences for youth as defendants in court. Moreover,
most youth are still directed into interventions and placements that are not evidence-based;
there is still much work to be done to convince policymakers and juvenile justice stakeholders
to direct funds into evidence-based programming. Finally, we know that family involvement is
critical in the treatment of youth with mental health disorders; however, the juvenile justice sys-
tem, which is a non-voluntary, adversarial system, does not currently work well with families.

Juvenile Law Center plays a leading role in Pennsylvania’s effort to implement the policy goals
set forth in the state Mental Health/Juvenile Justice work group’s Joint Position Statement for
Models for Change. JLC will continue to lead the Pennsylvania delegation to the Models for
Change Mental Health/Juvenile Justice Action Network.

Action Steps
• Promote the adoption in Pennsylvania of statewide policy and practice standards for the
diversion of youth with mental health disorders and other special needs from the juvenile
justice system.
• Provide technical assistance to selected counties in Pennsylvania in the development and
implementation of diversion programs aimed at youth with mental health disorders and
other special needs.
• Support the development and implementation in Pennsylvania of a white paper on family
involvement of youth with mental health disorders in the juvenile justice system.
• Provide technical assistance to other states, including other Models For Change jurisdictions,
to develop and enact legislation that protects youth from self-incrimination in screening,
assessment and treatment for mental health disorders. (See also section below on Rational
Confidentiality and Information Policies.

Outcome Measurement
Juvenile Law Center will monitor the impact of its work by tracking a number of measures,
including the following:

• Adoption in Pennsylvania of statewide standards regarding diversion of youth with mental


health disorders.
• Adoption in Pennsylvania of statewide standards regarding family involvement in the juve-
nile justice system.
• Number of new diversion programs in Pennsylvania counties targeting youth with mental
health disorders.
• Number of states that adopt JLC model legislation with regard to self-incrimination in mental
health screening, assessment and treatment.
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Access to education by youth in the juvenile justice system

Goal
Ensure that youth in the juvenile justice system have access to education and the opportunity to
succeed.

Issues and Needs


In the late 1990s, in the wake of the Columbine shootings outside Denver, Colorado, most
school districts in the United States promulgated rigid, arbitrary and mandatory school
discipline policies that caught in their nets many students for whom the policies were never
intended. Many students found themselves suspended, expelled or arrested for minor mis-
behavior. Juvenile Law Center led a national effort to be rational about student misbehavior.
JLC helped organize the movement against mandatory zero tolerance policies that required
suspension, expulsion or arrest for normative misbehavior. At the same time, JLC, with Educa-
tion Law Center-PA, worked to ensure that youth in the juvenile and criminal justice systems
received appropriate education. JLC’s 1996 lawsuit against local school districts and county
jails in Pennsylvania, for example, led to improvement of education for youth of compulsory
school age who were awaiting trial in criminal court. In 2002, JLC and ELC successfully sued
to overturn a Pennsylvania law that prohibited Philadelphia delinquent youth from being in the
public schools.

Ensuring adequate education for delinquent youth is a part of JLC’s aftercare project in the
MacArther Foundation’s Models for Change initiative in Pennsylvania. Our work with Models
For Change has allowed us to create sustained attention to the way residential facilities in the
juvenile justice system, and Pennsylvania’s 501 school districts, address credit transfer, voca-
tional training, and school re-entry. Each year, thousands of youth enter juvenile detention
and treatment facilities in Pennsylvania. All but a few eventually return to their schools and

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communities. Although many are still under Pennsylvania’s compulsory school age of 17,
they find re-enrolling in school is particularly challenging. Court-involved youth are unwel-
come at regular public schools, which have adopted policies and procedures to exclude them.
Delinquent youth also have high rates of attrition from school, and those few who manage to
complete their high school studies often earn a General Equivalency Degree (GED) rather than
a high school diploma. The problem of re-entry and school drop-out is not limited to Pennsyl-
vania, but is a national dilemma.

Action Steps
• Ensure that youth in juvenile justice placements in Pennsylvania receive appropriate educa-
tion, for which they receive credit when they return to community schools.
• Ensure that youth returning from delinquency placements have access to education, thereby
building on the aftercare work of the Models For Change initiative in Pennsylvania.
• Address inappropriate referrals to Pennsylvania juvenile courts of students with serious
disabilities (such as autism), whose offenses are minor and an obvious reflection of their dis-
abilities, by publishing manuals for non-lawyer advocates, families and attorneys.

Outcome Measurement
Juvenile Law Center will monitor the impact of its work by tracking a number of measures,
including the following:

• Number of youth returning from juvenile justice placements whom JLC assists with school
re-enrollment in Pennsylvania.
• Number of youth who successfully re-enroll in school upon leaving juvenile justice place-
ments as evidenced by having received a high school diploma or its equivalent or by contin-
ued school enrollment six months after probation ends.
• Number of youth who receive a high school diploma or its equivalent while in juvenile justice
placement.
• Number of youth with serious disabilities whose cases are diverted from juvenile court, or
who receive court interventions short of a finding of guilt for minor offenses that are obvious
reflections of their disabilities.

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Access to counsel for youth in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems

Goal
Ensure that youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems have access to quality coun-
sel at all stages of delinquency and dependency court proceedings.

Issues and Needs


Counsel for youth alert the court to factual issues, developmental considerations, service needs,
and statutory and constitutional issues. Counsel act as both sword and shield, ensuring that
youth get the services they need to become productive adults, and protecting them from harm.
Youths’ lawyers promote fairness, ensure appropriate participation of youths in decisions that
affect their lives, and build youths’ allegiance to the rule of law. On the delinquency side, assess-
ments of indigent juvenile defense in over a dozen states have led to improved representation of
youth, pointing reform in the right direction. On the dependency side, there is no constitutional
right to counsel, and the field is more confused. Some states are looking to improve advocacy
for youth, but they have not yet given youth a right to counsel-instead they have created discre-
tionary systems of lay advocates, such as Court Appointed Special Advocates or Guardians ad
Litem.

“ I can’t say enough good things about Juvenile Law Center. Juvenile law Center
saved our lives. We felt like we were at the bottom, and had lost all hope. Juvenile
Law Center helped us get through a difficult and painful situation with friendship,
compassion and support.”
~ Mother of a JLC client who watched her daughter, an honor roll student, get
handcuffed and taken away to a detention center for 90 days for an innocuous
internet parody.

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Action Steps
• Develop model legislation and policies on counsel for youth in the child welfare and juvenile
justice systems. Rate current state statutes and policies against the models, which will be
considered “benchmarks.” (See discussion of National Policy Center and Academic Advisory
Board below in section on Major New Initiatives.
• Challenge the unlawful waiver of the right to counsel in delinquency proceedings in appel-
late courts.
• Advocate for adequate state funding of public defenders and other lawyers for children to
reduce too-high caseloads that prevent them from providing quality representation to their
child clients.

Outcome Measurement
Juvenile Law Center will monitor the impact of its work by tracking a number of measures,
including the following:

• Number of states that adopt JLC model legislation or policy.


• Number of favorable court rulings in challenges to waiver of counsel.
• Number of states that increase funding for public defenders and other lawyers for
children.

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Rational confidentiality and information sharing policies

Goal
Ensure that sensitive information about youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems
is used and shared in ways that promote better outcomes for youth while protecting their
rights and respecting their privacy concerns.

Issues and Needs


Issues with regard to minors’ rights to confidentiality, the sharing of sensitive information, and
the expungement of records, affect every youth who becomes involved in the juvenile justice
and/or child welfare systems. These systems collect and maintain records that contain sensi-
tive, potentially damaging and often inaccurate information about youth and their families
There is a great deal of misunderstanding of the laws that regulate the sharing of information,
which results in both the under-sharing of information (and consequently missed opportuni-
ties for coordinated case management) as well as over-sharing of information (when informa-
tion is shared and then used in a manner detrimental to the child.). Stakeholders often “blame”
confidentiality laws for their failures to do integrated case management for youth who straddle
multiple systems and call for the elimination of important protections for our clients’ records.
Moreover, juvenile delinquency records can impede youths’ access to employment and educa-
tion; we need to increase the number of juvenile delinquency records eligible for expungement
and actually expunged. Finally, as described above in the section on mental health needs, youth
risk self-incrimination and further prosecution unless adequate protections are in place in
state statutes or court rules during screening, assessment and treatment in the juvenile justice
system.

Action Steps
• Develop model legislation regarding expungement of juvenile court records. Rate current
state statutes and policies against the models, which will be considered “benchmarks.” (See
discussion of the National Policy Center and Academic Advisory Board below in section on
Major New Initiatives.)
• Increase expungement of juvenile delinquency records by recruiting pro bono attorneys
nationally to take on cases. (See discussion below of Pro Bono Initiatives.)
• Promote responsible information sharing for court-involved youth by publishing, with the
Child Welfare League of America, the Models for Change Information Sharing Toolkit, and
providing direct technical assistance to other Models for Change sites.
• Provide technical assistance to Models for Change sites and other states on enacting legisla-
tion that protects youth from self-incrimination when undergoing screening, assessment or
treatment for behavioral health problems, building on JLC’s success in passing such law in
Pennsylvania.
• Train juvenile justice and child welfare professionals in Pennsylvania on confidentiality and
mandated abuse reporting laws.

Outcome Measurement
Juvenile Law Center will monitor the impact of its work by tracking a number of measures,
including the following:

• Number of states that adopt JLC model legislation or policy.


• Number of pro bono attorneys trained nationwide to handle expungements.
• Number of Models for Change jurisdictions that apply the principles and guidelines of the
Information Sharing Tool Kit to their information sharing projects.

15
Special needs of girls in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems

Goal
Ensure that the juvenile justice and child welfare systems have the capacity to respond to the
unique needs of adolescent girls.

Issues and Needs


Girls are the fastest growing population in the juvenile justice system, currently making up
approximately 30% of all juvenile arrests. The juvenile justice system, which was designed for
boys, often fails to provide girls with the services they need. Additionally, girls in the juvenile
justice system face high rates of medical problems, including sexually transmitted infections,
HIV, and drug and alcohol abuse.

Juvenile Law Center has been a partner in the National Girls Health Screen Project with In
Our Daughters’ Hands, directed by Leslie Acoca, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. For
the past three years, JLC has been the fiscal agent for the project, which has been validating a
health screen to change the standard of care in juvenile detention centers in the country. Our
goal is to improve the quality of health care screening, assessment and services to girls who
enter the juvenile justice system. (We expect that in future years the Girls Health Screen will
also have utility in the child welfare system.) In the coming year, we will be completing the
validation phase of the Girls Health Screen Project. JLC will thereafter support the principal
investigator, Leslie Acoca, as she develops a National Girls Health and Justice Institute. The
Institute will disseminate the Girls Health Screen, develop a user’s manual, conduct training,
troubleshoot, and collect data. JLC will serve as the legal arm by writing and training on issues
of consent, confidentiality, child abuse reporting, and other legal issues.

Action Steps
• Transition from being the grantee agency that manages dollars and foundation reports to a
sub-contractor of a larger girls’ health project - the Girls Health and Justice Institute - that
Leslie Acoca will manage.
• Serve as the legal advisor to the Girls Health and Justice Institute on issues of consent, confi-
dentiality, child abuse reporting, and as a link to the larger juvenile justice community.

Outcome Measurement
Juvenile Law Center will monitor the impact of its work by tracking a number of measures,
including the following:

• Number of juvenile justice facilities that use the Girls Health Screen.
• Number of states that require specialized health screening for delinquent girls.
• Development of state and local responses to urgent and chronic health care needs of
delinquent girls.
• Creation of a national data base on health care needs of delinquent girls.

16
Major New Project Initiatives

National Policy Center

Goal
Create an in-house policy arm to identify and promote child welfare and juvenile justice laws
and policies that advance Juvenile Law Center’s mission.

Description
JLC employs multiple strategies - including publications, proposed legislation and regula-
tions, lawsuits, and work through coalitions and task forces - to promote laws and policies
that provide vulnerable children with the protection and services they need to become healthy
and productive adults. JLC’s objective is to advance laws that are grounded in principles of
adolescent development, promote fairness, prevent harm, and create opportunities. Through
the establishment of a National Policy Center, JLC will add yet another strategy to its arsenal.

Specifically, JLC will showcase model legislation and model policies that advance JLC’s strate-
gic themes. We propose to develop a Juvenile Justice Reform Index and Child Welfare Reform
Index that will rate states in terms of their alignment with JLC’s view of appropriate public
policy. To further these model policies, JLC will develop or showcase model legislation address-
ing developing issues in child welfare and juvenile justice. The indices will also highlight
ways in which legislation and other state policies take account of developmental research on
adolescents as well as conform to applicable international laws and principles.

This will be the first center of its kind in the country- no one with JLC’s experience and
advocacy background has promulgated model policies. These policies, with state ratings and
accompanying communications approaches, will lead to improvements in state policies, chang-
es in practices, and better outcomes for youth. Local advocates will have models with which to
compare their own state policies, as well as background material supporting JLC’s proposed
approaches. Legislative staff and national organizations, such as the National Conference of
State Legislatures, will have new tools with which to promote change. JLC’s policy center will
inform the work of state and local foundations, as they sharpen their interest in improved
child welfare and juvenile justice outcomes for youth.

Action Steps
• In the first year, compile state statutes and regulations in at least four areas - two in the child
welfare system and two in the juvenile justice system - and rank these against our proposed
model laws.
• Develop a methodology of rating state policies against JLC models.
• Publish model policies and ratings on JLC’s web site.
• Develop and implement a communications strategy around announcements of model policies
and state ratings.
• Develop internal system to publish new model policies and ratings, and update existing ones.

Outcome Measurement
Juvenile Law Center will monitor the impact of its work by tracking a number of measures,
including the following:

• Establishment of a rating system for JLC reform indices.


• Number of states that adopt JLC model legislation or policy.
• References to JLC reform indices in other media.

17
“ JLC will continue to focus on reforming the
child welfare and juvenile justice systems for
adolescents at the local, state and national
levels.”

Academic Advisory Board

Goal
Establish an Academic Advisory Board to expand and enhance the use of research in JLC’s
legal advocacy and review model policies for the National Policy Center.

Description
In recent years, JLC’s legal advocacy has been connected to research. We propose creating an
Academic Advisory Board to strengthen that connection. The Academic Advisory Board will
serve many objectives including: 1) linking JLC staff and Board to the latest research on ado-
lescent development, health, education, juvenile justice, youth aging out of care, etc.- including
through an annual briefing to the Board- so that our advocacy efforts will be stronger; 2) link-
ing JLC to experts in international law and human rights; 3) convening a group of academics
who can connect us to policy makers, potential clients, and media; 4) providing a pathway for
advisory board members to become members of JLC’s governing board; 5) receiving feedback
from leading scholars on proposed model policies for the National Policy Center; 6) enhancing
the field, and as a by-product, JLC’s prestige and visibility by bringing together the country’s
leading thinkers in JLC’s substantive areas of work and giving them the opportunity to learn
from each other and share their work in a non-academic environment.

Action Steps
• Assemble the Academic Advisory Board, to be chaired by current JLC Board member and
staffed by JLC Policy Director.
• Convene an annual meeting of the Academic Advisory Board in conjunction with a JLC
Board meeting, to share with JLC staff ideas as to how JLC’s work can be better shaped by
the latest knowledge.
• Offer an honorarium to a member of the Academic Advisory Board each year to present a
paper in a public forum on issues relevant to our work.

Outcome Measurement
Juvenile Law Center will monitor the impact of its work by tracking a number of measures,
including the following:

• Establishment of an Academic Advisory Board.


• Academic Advisory Board members present papers on issues related to JLC’s mission.

18
National Back-up and Training Center

Goal
Establish a formal center to provide assistance and training to attorneys who represent
children in dependency and delinquency court proceedings.

Description
Attorneys around the country regularly seek our help for interesting and difficult cases. Most
of our work thus far has been in support of challenges to juvenile justice /criminal justice
laws, policies and practices. We have also assisted in Pennsylvania cases of foster youth who
seek housing help while they attend college. JLC will provide back-up services to lawyers for
children, by assisting in more appeals and providing more amicus assistance on key cases.

Action Steps
See Action Steps in section above on Developmentally Appropriate Juvenile and Criminal
Justice Policies.

• Become an accredited Continuing Legal Education (CLE) provider.


• Convert current training curricula into web-based training programs.

Outcome Measurement
Juvenile Law Center will monitor the impact of its work by tracking a number of measures,
including the following:

• Number of training programs created and accredited for CLE credits.


• Number of web-based training programs.
Also, see Outcome Measurements in section above on Developmentally Appropriate Juvenile
and Criminal Justice Policies.

“ When you’re trying to be smart about what you do, you always look for opportu-
nities for public and private partnerships. You look for the strongest people you
can find out there, the strongest organizations. And what you’re going to find in
this area is the Juvenile Law Center.”
~Shay Bilchik, Director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform and Systems
Integration at Georgetown Public Policy Institute.

19
Pro Bono Initiative

Goal
Engage lawyers to do pro bono work to advance Juvenile Law Center’s mission and
activities.

Description
Pro bono work is the delivery of free legal services to persons of limited means, as well as
work on behalf of the charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational
organizations that serve them. Engaging lawyers to do pro bono work has many virtues. It
creates champions for JLC’s issues, builds an infrastructure of people with skills to assist youth,
and builds a potential donor base. The challenges include identifying concrete, discrete legal
issues for attorneys to undertake, as ideal pro bono projects are time-limited (i.e., have clear
entry and exit points), transactional, can be done at any time, and have clear outcomes. Ad-
ditional challenges include developing JLC’s staff capacity to recruit, train, and supervise pro
bono attorneys.

In 2007 and 2008, Philadelphia area law firms responded to several ad hoc pro bono requests
from JLC. These included representing a family who had religious objections to a school dis-
trict’s drug testing policy (Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin); taking on cases of uncounseled
youth in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania (Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll; Galasso, Kimler &
Muir); and assisting with incorporation of a non-profit to house the Girls Health Screen project
(Dechert). JLC is in discussions with , Piper around pro bono projects on expungement and
Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP) issues.

Traditionally, pro bono work has meant recruiting private lawyers to work on discreet cases
and appeals. In recent years law firms also have partnered with nonprofit organizations and
other organizations to develop “signature projects” that offer innovative solutions to vexing
social problems and help the most vulnerable members of our society. JLC aims to undertake
a major pro bono initiative in 2008-2011 by partnering with a law firm on a “signature project.”

Action Steps
• Recruit law firms to provide assistance on specific cases and projects on an as-needed basis.
• Identify and collaborate with a national law firm(s) on a “signature project” that contains the
following elements:
• Provides high-quality legal representation to low-income children in the juvenile justice
system;
• identifies and addresses an important juvenile justice policy issue affecting children and
families;
• Provides attorneys, particularly more junior attorneys, with hands-on opportunities to
develop their legal skills; and
• Increases the target law firm’s pro bono involvement.

Outcome Measurement
Juvenile Law Center will monitor the impact of its work by tracking a number of measures,
including the following:

• Number of pro bono attorneys providing assistance to JLC on specific cases or projects.
• Establishment of a collaborative with private law firm on “signature project.”

20
Measuring Success

Juvenile Law Center has adopted several methods of monitoring our work. The approaches to
measuring outcomes that are summarized below collectively give JLC a robust sense of wheth-
er it is meeting its substantive and organizational goals.

• The staff meets bi-weekly and reviews a portion of our strategic plan at every staff meeting.
Is JLC’s logic model still intact? What are the prospects for success? What are the barriers?
JLC is constantly refining its approaches.
• The Board meets thrice yearly, at which time the staff reports on progress towards meeting
the substantive goals of the strategic plan. Staff and Board members also report on progress
towards meeting organizational goals, which are easily measured (e.g., goals related to hiring
or financial development). Staff also reports monthly to the Board’s Executive Committee. As
part of the approval of the 2009-2011 strategic plan, the Board also committed to undertak-
ing a mid-course progress review.
• Historically, JLC has used many informal feedback loops which work together and separately
to let JLC know whether its work is effective. The self-evaluation process requires JLC to test
its assumptions constantly about whether its approaches are logically leading to reducing
harms to youth, promoting fairness in the way youth are treated, and increasing their oppor-
tunities to succeed. JLC uses:

“ Juvenile Law Center has demonstrated a consistent standard of excellence on


some of the most novel and challenging legal issues of our times. Their commit-
ment to the protection of children’s rights and to the rule of law reminds us all
of what can and should be done, even when faced by seemingly insurmountable
obstacles. They are an impressive organization to work with and have been an
indispensable ally. I am glad to see they have received this much deserved
recognition.”
~Lieutenant Commander William Kuebler, United States Navy Office of Military
Commissions and Chief Counsel to Omar Khadr, the youngest person ever de-
tained at Guantanamo at the age of 15.

21
“ Juvenile Law Center and our
colleagues have a history of anti-
cipating the future and creating
it. We have helped turn nascent
goals into ideas that are in wide
currency around the country. “

• Consumer feedback
• We hear directly from young clients and their families, who have opinions about
the quality of representation. JLC also has interns who are foster youth and receives
advice from youth in the juvenile justice system.
• We hear directly from consumers, such as lawyers trained by JLC, through post-
training evaluations and indirect measures, such as repeat requests for training.
• We hear from non-profit juvenile justice agencies, who inform JLC, for example,
as to whether barriers to health care and education remain or have been removed.
• Data
• JLC measures results by reviewing data, such as those on institutional populations
(in cases involving institutional overcrowding), the number of youth who are
represented by counsel (in jurisdictions in which JLC has worked to increase repre-
sentation), or the number of days it takes foster youth to be admitted to school when
they change school districts (through data that JLC’s education-foster care project
has prompted the Pennsylvania Department of Education to collect).
• JLC examines data provided by the state as a result of JLC’s litigation, e.g., regard-
ing health care screens and treatment for children in delinquency placements in
Pennsylvania, or the number of delinquent youth who are represented by counsel.
• Policies and practices
• JLC notes changes in state regulations, statutes and case law.
• JLC tracks instances in which JLC has, publicly or “off the record,” prevented imple-
mentation of harmful policies or practices.
• JLC tracks the rulings - favorable or unfavorable rulings - in cases we have
brought, including cases for which we have written amici briefs. JLC also has ad-
opted an approach to outcome measurement that the Annie E. Casey Foundation
(AECF) and other foundations use. Foundations, like public interest law firms (and
unlike, for example, pediatricians in neo-natal units) are some steps removed from
outcomes that are measured through child well-being indices. Thus, AECF’s use of
impact, influence and leverage is apt. JLC thinks of outcomes in terms of impact
(on individual children and families); influence (the changes in policy and practice
we create that will have an impact on children’s lives); and leverage (getting other
advocates, lawyers, parents, foundations, etc. to devote time and dollars to JLC’s
goals).

This approach reflects the reality of an advocacy organization-there are multiple steps (and
many allies) between the work JLC does and direct outcomes for youth. This framework also
helps JLC think creatively about the geographic mix of its work. For example, in Philadelphia,
JLC will have impact, influence and leverage. JLC represents some individual children and has
a direct impact on their lives; JLC’s litigation, as another example, has an immediate impact on
thousands of children who would otherwise be excluded from school. Litigation can also be
considered as influence, since it changes policies and practices. Leverage happens when other
advocates join JLC’s campaigns and promote JLC’s issues. The farther away JLC gets from
Philadelphia, the less direct impact it has, because JLC does little direct service outside of the
city and state. On the other hand, outside of Philadelphia (and Pennsylvania), JLC’s influence
and leverage is large.

22
Juvenile Law Center’s Vision for 2018

While this strategic plan has concrete goals and outcomes, it is also aspirational. The next three
years are a down payment on a vision of the future. It is a vision of better outcomes for foster
youth and youth involved with the justice system. It is a vision of a changing climate in the
United States that will enable advocates and policy makers to create better outcomes for those
youth. And it is a vision of Juvenile Law Center’s role in getting from here to there. This is what
Juvenile Law Center hopes to see as a result of our work and the work of others by 2018:
• The needs of adolescents in our child welfare and juvenile justice systems will be addressed
by systems that are grounded in principles of adolescent development and other relevant
research. There will be more attention to human rights and international law-including the
possibility that the U.S. will have ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of
the Child-and the U.S. and will further conform its policies and practices to more advanced
developments in international law. Fewer youth will be incarcerated or transferred to adult
court. Foster youth in need of continued support will be in care beyond the age of 18. There
will be changes in federal law that will support both trends; there will be corresponding
changes in state laws in all fifty states.
• More states will have laws and policies that support foster youth past the age of 18; there
will be an increase in supportive housing, in career and technical education, and in assis-
tance for higher education. States will make it easier for foster youth to change residence
without having to change schools; and if they do have to change schools, state policies will
ensure that foster youth receive credit for the work they have done and ensure timely re-
enrollment.
• More states will have laws that give a preference for keeping youth in the juvenile justice
system, even for serious offenses. State juvenile justice systems will have the capacity to pro-
tect the public, hold youth accountable and give youths the skills they need to be productive
adults. State laws governing adult sentencing of juveniles will provide for mitigation based
on age, and will ensure that adult sentences for juveniles are reviewed periodically.
• More states will have systems in place for diverting youth with mental health problems
from the juvenile justice system.
• States will guarantee youths’ right to counsel-this right will extend to youth in the justice
system, from arrest to the time the case is closed, and to adolescents in the child welfare
system. More state laws will balance the need to share information with the need to protect
confidentiality and honor privacy. Youth will not be forced to incriminate themselves to
receive mental health screening, assessment or treatment. State laws will increase oppor-
tunities for delinquent youth to have records expunged so they can have a fresh start in life.
• Fewer foster youth will enter the juvenile justice system, while more child welfare services
will be available to delinquent youth.
• All states will require that girls who are arrested receive a state-of-the-art physical and
behavioral health screen that identifies and prioritizes their health care needs.
• States will have policies and practices that result in fewer students being referred to the
juvenile justice system and increase access of delinquent youth to education, including
career and technical education.
• Domestic law will be shaped by commonly accepted principles of human rights that are
embedded in U.S. constitutional law, international conventions, and treaties.

23
Juvenile Law Center
Strategic Planning Committee, 2008

Ann Rosewater, Chair


Hon. John L. Braxton
Jonathan W. Cuneo, Esq.
Vernon L. Francis, Esq.
Lynn Rzonca, Esq.
Daniel Segal, Esq.
Larry Steinberg, Ph.D.

About the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions

On April 10, 2008, Juvenile Law Center was one of eight organizations in six
countries to receive the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Award for
Creative and Effective Institutions. The award honors non-profit organizations that
have made an extraordinary impact in their fields and are helping to address some of
the world’s most challenging problems.

“From its founding, the MacArthur Foundation has sought out people and organi-
zations that have the creativity, energy and breadth of vision to change the world
for the better. These imaginative and influential small organizations have an
impact altogether disproportionate to their size. They are addressing problems
and injustices, finding fresh solutions, and proving themselves as leaders and
innovators.”
- MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton announcing the 2008 awardees.
Advancing the rights and
well-being of children in
jeopardy

Juvenile Law Center


The Philadelphia Building
1315 Walnut Street, 4th Floor
Philadelphia, Pa 19107
215.625.0551 / 800.875.8887
215.625.2808 fax
www.JLC.org