Juvenile Law Center

For the last 3 1/2 decades, Juvenile Law Center has been a leading voice for fairness in our justice system ... by drawing on every possible tool—litigation, legislation, regulation, training, research and engagement—to assist and empower young people. I have seen first hand the many ways that Juvenile Law Center attorneys help protect children across the country.

Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General, commenting on Juvenile Law Center's 35th anniversary in 2010

Strategic Plan, 2015-2017

Read Juvenile Law Center's 2015-2017 Strategic Plan >>

Celebrating 40 years of successful advocacy, Juvenile Law Center is the oldest non-profit, public interest law firm for children in the country. Established in 1975, Juvenile Law Center initially represented individual youth in a wide range of proceedings in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Over time, Juvenile Law Center expanded its advocacy for children across Pennsylvania and, by the early 1990s, was addressing child welfare and justice system reform nationwide. Over the last 15 years, we have focused exclusively on legal issues affecting adolescents and older youth in those systems.

With increasing success, demand for our expertise and assistance has grown substantially in recent years. At the same time, we continue to refine and sharpen our strategies to have a greater impact for more children. As a result, Juvenile Law Center’s reach and influence now extends across the nation and around the world. Rigorous strategic planning efforts allow us to remain at the cutting edge of legal advocacy, anticipate the next wave of threats, identify emerging trends, and recognizing new opportunities to give vulnerable youth a better chance to succeed.

Juvenile Law Center is, in its 40th year, a 20-person (12-lawyer) public interest law firm with a $2.9 million budget. Our staff has cultivated a distinctive competence in child welfare, juvenile and criminal justice, and a robust body of research on adolescent development and youth transitioning to adulthood. Juvenile Law Center has a national Board with diverse experience. We have also dramatically increased our investment in strategic communications. While our budget has grown, we have also built a rainy day fund. 

Juvenile Law Center works towards a vision of a society in which all children at risk and who come into contact with the child welfare and justice systems have equal rights and opportunities to succeed. 


Juvenile Law Center strives to ensure that:

  • Laws, policies and practices affecting youth in the child welfare and justice systems are grounded in principles of adolescent development and other relevant research;
  • The United States legal system recognizes and incorporates international human rights principles in providing greater protections to youth in the child welfare and justice systems;
  • Justice and child welfare systems respond appropriately to the impact of trauma on youths’ behavior; and
  • Justice and child welfare systems address economic opportunity and minimize disproportionality along race and class lines.

Read more about our goals for 2015-2017 in our Strategic Plan.

Support Juvenile Law Center

One of the most important lessons from our 40 years of experience is that children involved with the justice and foster care systems need zealous legal advocates. Your support for our work is more important now than ever before. Support