The Juvenile Law Center is the oldest non-profit, public interest law firm for children in the country. The Juvenile Law Center uses an array of legal strategies and legislative advocacy to promote fairness, prevent harm, ensure access to appropriate services, and create opportunities for success for youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. Widely published and internationally recognized as thought leaders in the field, the Juvenile Law Center’s impact on the development of law and policy on behalf of children is substantial.
The Juvenile Law Center plays a leadership role nationally and in Pennsylvania in shaping and using the law on behalf of children in the child welfare and justice systems to promote fairness, prevent harm, secure access to appropriate services, and ensure a smooth transition from adolescence to adulthood. Most of the youth on whose behalf we work are between 10 and 21 years of age and are among society’s most vulnerable—most likely to be mislabeled, ignored, harmed, or scarred for life by systems that are supposed to help them.
They work to protect and advance children’s rights in courts, legislatures, and executive agencies. Their strategies include litigation, appellate advocacy and submission of amicus (friend-of-the-court) briefs, policy reform, public education, training, and strategic communications. They strive to ensure that laws, policies, and practices affecting youth are rooted in research, consistent with children’s unique developmental characteristics, as well as reflective of international human rights values.
Contact: (215) 625-0551
Location: Philadelphia Building, 1315 Walnut St # 4, Philadelphia, PA 19107
The number of teenagers under the age of 18 who are held in adult jails and prisons in Pennsylvania has increased drastically over the last fifteen years. The Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project (YASP) is building a youth-led movement to stop this trend by ending the practice of automatically trying and incarcerating young people as adults. Through its work in the Philadelphia jails, YASP provides space for incarcerated young people to express themselves creatively and to develop as leaders both within and beyond the prison walls. Young people who have been through the adult court system are at the forefront of YASP, leading the movement to keep teenagers out of adult prisons and to create new possibilities for youth around the city.
What We Do
YASP conducts art, poetry, music, and empowerment workshops at the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center (P.I.C.C.) and Riverside Correctional Facility (R.F.C.) every Saturday with young people under 18 who are being tried as adults. We also show our documentary and do leadership building workshops at schools and colleges to teach youth about the flaws of the criminal justice system and how to avoid a a life of crime.
YASP’s work with young people continues even after their time in the adult prison system. On Thursdays, YASP has “open hours” from 4:00pm-7:00pm to provide these teens help with finding employment, writing resumés and cover letters, continuing education, homework, college applications, etc.
YASP participates in rallies and demonstrations, and conducts door knocking campaigns for our petition to repeal or amend Act 33, the law that allows youth to be automatically charged as adults in PA.
Contact: 267-571-YASP, Yasproject@gmail.com
Location: 2231 North Broad St., Suite 200, Philadelphia, PA 19132
*This site is accessible via public transportation from the Bryn Mawr campus.