Juvenile Law Center

International Activities

In addition to working nationwide on behalf of youth in the child welfare and justice systems, Juvenile Law Center also serves as an international thoughtleader.

In October 2015, the Temple Law Review and Juvenile Law Center hosted a symposium entitled Court-Involved Youth in the 21st Century: Empowerment vs. Protection, in honor of Juvenile Law Center’s 40th Anniversary. The Symposium brought together leading experts from around the globe to discuss contemporary legal issues facing court-involved youth. Three of the speakers – Professor Ursula Kilkelly, Dean of Law at the University College Cork in Ireland; Professor Ton Liefaard, the UNICEF Chair in Children’s Rights at Leiden University Law School in the Netherlands; and Professor Ann Skelton, the Director of the Centre for Child Law at the University of Pretoria in South Africa – traveled from overseas and provided a valuable international perspective on avenues for reform. All three will also be publishing articles in the forthcoming symposium issue of the Temple Law Review. 

In late June-early July 2013, Deputy Director and Chief Counsel Marsha Levick traveled to Okinawa and Tokyo, Japan to teach trial advocacy, and lecture on both the American juvenile justice system and the "kids-for-cash" scandal in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. (Read more about that trip here.)

In January of 2011, Ms. Levick helped launch the Child Law Clinic at the Faculty of Law, University College Cork, Ireland. The Child Law Clinic, directed by Dr. Ursula Kilkelly, is modeled after Juvenile Law Center and aims to promote children’s rights by improving the quality of children’s representation and advancing evidence-based reform in all areas of child law. During her stay in Ireland, Levick also presented a seminar organized by Irish Penal Reform Trust and Public Interest Law Alliance.

In August, 2010, Executive Director Robert Schwartz was invited to China by Yale’s China Law Center to speak to jurists, academics and others about building a legal system for children. Joined by Pennsylvania Judge Arthur Grim, Schwartz spoke in Chongqing to a symposium on “Comparative Research in Sino-U.S. Juvenile Pre-Sentencing Procedures.” Schwartz made the argument that pre-sentence reports can influence how the criminal justice system thinks about juveniles in China—such reports can encourage individualized treatment that may some day lead to creation of a juvenile justice system. Schwartz also spoke in Beijing to the Beijing Children’s Legal Aid & Research Center about how children’s lawyers can be advocates for change in the context of China’s legal system.

In October, 1993, six months before elections that brought the ANC to power in South Africa, Schwartz joined four other Americans at a gathering in Cape Town, South Africa, to develop a legal system for children in trouble with the law. The conference was sponsored by the Community Law Centre of the University of the Western Cape. CLC was a political and legal think tank of the African National Congress, and over the prior two years had developed a youth advocacy clinic, staffed by UWC law students, and had taken the lead in developing a Children's Charter for the new South Africa. Schwartz joined 150 lawyers, social workers, judges, police and policy makers gathered in Cape Town for the conference. A dozen members of the group were "international resources"—five from the U.S., one from Canada, two from Sweden, one from Barbados, and three from other African countries.

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