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Youth Law Center

Added Aug 7, 2009

200 Pine Street
Suite 300
San Francisco, CA 94104

Phone (415) 543-3379

The Youth Law Center is a San Francisco-based public interest law firm that provides national leadership on child welfare and juvenile justice law and system reform issues.  Since 1978, Center attorneys have worked across the United States to reduce the use of incarceration and out-of-home placement; ensure safe and humane conditions in institutional care; keep children out of adult jails; assure adequate legal representation; and secure equitable treatment for children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.  The Center’s efforts have also focused on strengthening families, and advocacy to secure education, medical and mental health, and transition services needed to assure children's well-being and success in the community. The Center fights for increased accountability of the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, and champions professional and public education.

Strategies and services

The Center pursues its mission employing a broad range of strategies with a variety of partners:

Litigation. Over the past three decades, the Youth Law Center has been involved in dozens of cases on behalf of tens of thousands of children around the country to bring about system reform and redress harm to children in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.

Education.   The Center provides information to policy makers, service providers, public officials, system personnel, advocates, youth, families, and communities regarding the rights of children in state custody; areas where changes in policy or treatment of children are needed: and how those changes may be realized.

Training.  The Youth Law Center regularly trains and provides technical assistance to juvenile system professionals on a range of juvenile law issues; conditions of confinement law; federal funding; educational, medical and mental health care for children in the system; and legislative policy issues.

Collaboration.  The Center works with public agencies, private providers, legislators, advocates, juvenile defense counsel, academic researchers, and other stakeholders to improve child welfare and justice system policy and practice.  Center attorneys are frequently involved in agency task forces and policy committees involved in system improvement. The Youth Law Center serves as the Team Leader for California’s Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network Team.

Dissemination.  The Youth Law Center disseminates articles, monographs, fact sheets, training curricula, pleadings, briefs, and other resources developed in its advocacy, training and public education efforts.

Advocacy:  The Center works at the local, state, and national level to ensure that child welfare and juvenile justice systems protect and support the children they serve.