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Juveniles for Justice, Youth Engagement at Juvenile Law Center

Juvenile Law Center works with an annual “class” of youth who have been involved in the juvenile justice system and facilitates their efforts to become advocates for other justice-involved youth. The group meets weekly and works on an annual project of their choosing. Staff assists the youth in research, putting together publications, videos, and presentations. The youth are also connected to important policymakers who can implement changes to the system. Some projects concentrate on educating other young people about their rights and the opportunities available to them.

For their 2015-2016 project, Juveniles for Justice youth advocates focused on access to higher education for justice-involved youth. From their personal experiences in the juvenile justice system, the advocates knew that there are few opportunities and not enough support for youth in the system to pursue college. The advocates address those needs in their document A Change for Our Future: Higher Education Planning for Juvenile Justice-Involved Youth. This document is laid out in the form of a workshop for juvenile placement facility staff. The workshop includes a set of recommendations for juvenile justice facilities to help youth prepare for and attend college, skits based on personal experiences, and a tool for youth and staff to use to create individualized education plans.