Juvenile Law Center

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

John Quincy Adams

Juvenile Law Center Leadership Prize

Juvenile Law Center’s annual Leadership Prize is awarded to outstanding advocates working to advance the rights and well-being of youth in the child welfare and justice systems.

Recipients of the Leadership Prize are leading lights in the field whose inspirational careers have served as beacons for the next generation of advocates. Their work has substantially improved the lives of our most vulnerable youth. Awardees are advocates who have changed the field of children’s rights through a lifetime of work on behalf of youth in the child welfare or justice systems or through a landmark contribution with enduring significance. 

The inaugural recipient, Juvenile Law Center Co-Founder Robert Schwartz, not only brought Juvenile Law Center to national and international prominence over the course of his 40 years of leadership, he also helped develop the nascent field of children’s law, inspiring thousands of children’s rights advocates working nationwide. Today, Juvenile Law Center is recognized both nationally and internationally for its expertise as a trailblazer in the field of children’s rights law.

Our 2018 Leadership Prize Celebration will be held on May 9, 2018 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Check this site frequently or sign up for our email list to get updates about the event.

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2018 Leadership Prize Selection Committee:  

  • James Bell, W. Haywood Burns Institute, Chair 
  • Mary Lee Allen, Children’s Defense Fund, 2017 Leadership Prize Recipient for Child Welfare 
  • James Forman, Jr., Yale Law School
  • Vernon Francis, Dechert, LLP 
  • Riya Saha Shah, Juvenile Law Center 

Congratulations to the 2018 Leadership Prize Winners!

We are pleased to present the recipients of the 2018 Juvenile Law Center Leadership Prize: Francis "Frankie" V. Guzman, Judge Steven C. Teske, and Teen Vogue.

Attorney Francis (“Frankie”) V. Guzman is a juvenile justice attorney at the National Center for Youth Law. He is working to eliminate the practice of prosecuting and incarcerating children in California’s adult criminal justice system and advocates for alternative sentencing and local treatment for youth charged with serious offenses statewide.Through partnerships with community organizations and advocacy groups, Guzman has helped lead the effort to reduce the number of youth prosecuted as adults and serving time in adult prisons. Recent successes include California SB 260 (2013) & SB 261 (2015) Youth Offender Parole Hearings, and SB 382 (2015) Juvenile Fitness Hearings. Even more recently, Guzman played a significant role in developing the youth justice portion of the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 in partnership with the Office of California Governor Jerry Brown.


Judge Steven C. Teske is the Chief Judge of the Juvenile Court of Clayton County, GA. He was appointed juvenile court judge in 1999 and serves as a Superior Court Judge by designation. Teske has testified before Congress on four occasions and several state legislatures on detention reform and zero tolerance policies in schools. Georgia’s Governor has appointed Judge Teske to the Children and Youth Coordinating Council, Governor’s Office for Children and Families, DJJ Judicial Advisory Council, JDAI Statewide Steering Committee, Georgia Commission on Family Violence, and the Georgia Criminal Justice Reform Commission. He served two terms on the Federal Advisory Committee for Juvenile Justice and is the National Chair of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice.

Part of Condé Nast’s collection of brands, Teen Vogue launched in February 2003 and is now led by chief content officer Phillip Picardi alongside a robust team of editors. In October 2017, it's News + Politics vertical focused on youth incarceration throughout Juvenile Justice Awareness Month in a series called Kids Incarcerated, which spanned nearly 30 stories which covered topics like immigration and youth detention, the school-to-prison pipeline, bail reform, and solitary confinement, many written from a first-person perspective. Allison Maloney (left), news and politics editor for the brand, conceptualized and produced the Kids Incarcerated series.

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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