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Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network (JIDAN)

Improving access to and quality of counsel representing youth in delinquency proceedings

The need for highly competent, well-resourced defense counsel for every child accused of a crime has never been greater. Juvenile defense attorneys are a critical shield against unfairness and serve as a crucial counterweight in an adversarial system that can lead to harmful outcomes for young clients.  

The Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network (JIDAN) was launched in 2008 to engage leadership in targeted strategies to improve juvenile indigent defense policy and practice. The action network was an issue-focused forum for the development and exchange of ideas and strategies across states, and for sharing practical information and expertise in support of reform. The eight Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network states were: California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

Teams from each participating action network states collaborated on the “strategic innovation” areas of:

  1. improving access to counsel and
  2. creating juvenile defense resource centers to build capacity for juvenile attorney.


The Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network was coordinated by the National Juvenile Defender Center.

Supported by

Models for Change was a juvenile justice systems reform initiative supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, website operated by Justice Policy Institute.