Amidst the COVID pandemic, the racial justice reckoning in our hearts and in our streets, and the increasingly toxic rhetoric of the 2020 elections, many of us are looking for ways we can step out of our usual routine, make connections despite our COVID precautions, and perhaps learn something new. Three lunchtime presentations by Juveniles for Justice and Youth Fostering Change conclude October 30, followed by five 45 Minute Lunchtime Conversations to Celebrate our 45th Anniversary beginning November 5th and running through December 10th. These provide an opportunity to spend your lunchtime engaging with us in our work on behalf…


Sue Mangold, CEO of Juvenile Law Center

Over the next four months, through a series of online events and blogs, we will look back on our 45 years of advocating for rights, dignity, equity and opportunity for youth in the child welfare and justice systems. Amidst COVID-19 and the racial reckoning underway in our country, it is challenging to celebrate (but we need to do so!) — and critical to reflect. I began my legal career right out of law school as a fellow at Juvenile Law Center and have thought a lot about our advocacy then and now. I look forward to coming together with you…


When the COVID crisis hit the United States, Juvenile Law Center sprang into action. We know from decades of experience that youth in the child welfare and justice systems are particularly vulnerable because they are in the shadows. During a pandemic, that can have dire — even deadly — consequences.

We quickly sought emergency relief from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to safely release youth back to their communities. The Court denied our petition, but directed all counties to ensure that the risks of the pandemic are considered in juvenile court cases. To date, approximately 100 youth have been released…


Unable to practice social distancing. Unsanitary conditions. Insufficient access to soap and water for handwashing. Isolated from family and community.

These are the daily realities for youth in the child welfare and justice systems during this pandemic. Residential facilities are breeding grounds for the contagion since youth share sleeping, living, bathroom, dining and recreational spaces. A substantial number of these youth have pre-existing conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Juvenile Law Center is fighting at the federal, state and local levels, alongside peers, to ensure that youth in the custody of public systems are protected.

In the justice…


Capitol Hill

According to the CDC, “social isolation” is the leading cause of child maltreatment. Yet social distancing is necessary to ensure the public’s health and safety during this pandemic. It can, however, put youth at a heightened risk of child abuse and neglect. Detention centers, group homes, and other institutional facilities are especially dangerous due to the highly contagious nature of the virus. To alleviate public health concerns, these facilities are suspending in-person visits, which further isolates youth from their support systems. How has Congress responded to assist stressed systems so they may properly care for the health and safety of…


JUVENILE LAW CENTER COVID-19 STATEMENT

During the global crisis that is COVID-19, we urge the protection of our country’s most vulnerable youth — particularly those in the child welfare and justice systems. States should:

-Ensure youth in foster care have a safe place to live, especially those at risk of homelessness;

-Remove children who can be returned to their communities from incarceration and institute safety measures to protect youth who remain; and

-Prohibit the collection of fees and fines for youth in the juvenile justice system.

At Juvenile Law Center, we fight for rights, dignity, equity and opportunity for youth in the child welfare and justice systems. We will continue that fight on behalf of young people at enormous risk in the current pandemic. Learn more: www.jlc.org


“My greatest fear was that they would forget I was in there.”

I keep replaying these words as I consider the urgent needs of youth in the justice and child welfare systems during this COVID-19 pandemic. These are the words of a colleague reflecting on his time in solitary confinement as a teenager. During the current national emergency, as we face health and economic challenges to every sector of society, it is critical that we do not forget children in the justice and child welfare systems. …


J. Scott Applewhite — AP

As we begin the week of Thanksgiving, I am grateful for introduction of the Justice for Juveniles Act by Congresswomen Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA) with bi-partisan support from co-sponsors Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), John Katko (R-NY) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA). The bill increases access to the courts for young people subjected to abuse while incarcerated in the juvenile or adult justice system. Bi-partisan action on the Justice for Juveniles Act is a positive step toward protecting vulnerable young people.

Teens are incarcerated across the country under conditions that include solitary confinement, strip searches, pepper spray and other abusive…


Logo for Youth Justice Action Month

As Youth Justice Action Month comes to a close, one experience really epitomized the spirit of the month-long effort to elevate and amplify work on youth justice for me. I am the co-editor of the law school casebook, Children and the Law, published by West Academic Publishing Company. My co-editor’s responsibilities include drafting the chapter on juvenile justice for the Seventh Edition. Recently, I was reading over his draft of that chapter to provide my edits and comments. I came across a passage where he cites to Broken Bridges, a publication of Juveniles for Justice, an initiative that is part…


For most kids, September marks the beginning of a new school year. Yellow buses are back in our neighborhoods. Children are filling their backpacks with books and new school supplies. Cars loaded with bedding and other dorm room essentials are heading back to colleges and universities across the country. But not all school age youth are a part of this annual ritual. To ensure that youth in the foster care and justice systems receive the high quality educational opportunities they deserve, we still have some homework to do. First, we must read and disseminate Operation: Education: An Action Kit to…

Susan Vivian Mangold

CEO, Juvenile Law Center

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