The Youth Justice Work Group comprises regional and national grantmakers who support policies, practices, programs and advocacy that promote fair, effective and age-appropriate treatment and interventions for youth involved in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. We work across the intersections of justice, education, foster care, human services, workforce development, and health. Our goal is to help nonprofits and governments at the federal, state and local levels improve young people’s chances of becoming successful and productive adults, thereby improving community safety.


From the Field

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The High Cost of Fines and Fees in the Juvenile Justice System

by Jessica Feierman Associate Director, Juvenile Law Center Approximately one million youth appear in juvenile court each year. In every state, youth and families face juvenile justice costs, fees, fines, or restitution. Youth who can’t afford to pay for their freedom often face serious consequences, including incarceration, extended probation, or denial of treatment—they are unfairlyRead More

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New Report on the Health Impacts of Charging Youth as Adults

Human Impact Partners has released a new health impact assessment report entitled, Juvenile InJustice: Charging Youth as Adults is Ineffective, Biased and Harmful. The findings show that: Charging youth as adults doesn’t protect community safety — in fact, it doubles recidivism. The adult court system ignores developmental science and environmental contexts — the context of aRead More

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Guest Blog: Fines and Fees for Court-Involved Youth

by Stephanie Campos-Bui, Policy Advocacy Clinic, U.C. Berkeley Law, and Kate Weisburd, East Bay Community Law Center. U.C. Berkeley Law Note: The authors will be our guests for a conference call on March 2nd. Click here to learn more and to RSVP. The End of Juvenile Fees in Alameda County, California: Pairing Practice and PolicyRead More

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The Impact of Fines and Fees on Youth and Their Families

The Juvenile Law Center released Debtors’ Prison for Kids? The High Cost of Fines and Fees in the Juvenile Justice System, a groundbreaking report on the impact of juvenile court costs on youth and their families.  The report includes a companion microsite featuring interactive maps. Click here to access the report.

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NJDC Report on Defense Representation

The National Juvenile Defender Center has released a new report, Defend Children: A Blueprint for Effective Juvenile Defender Services, which details how children are arrested, prosecuted, and too often incarcerated without attorneys at their side.  Click here to access the report.

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Member News

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Addressing the Intersections of Juvenile Justice Involvement and Youth Homelessness: Principles for Change

A young person’s involvement with the justice system can increase their likelihood of later experiencing homelessness for many reasons, including the fact that educational disruptions and juvenile delinquency records can make it harder to obtain employment. Youth experiencing homelessness may also be swept into the juvenile justice system through laws that prohibit simply being inRead More

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Leveling the Playing Field: Inside a Low Profile Anti-Poverty Foundation

Inside Philanthropy interviews Pinkerton Foundation President Rick Smith and Senior Program Officer Julie Peterson. Click here to read the article.

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Andrus Family Fund Podcast: Realizing Youth Justice

The latest episode of the Andrus Family Fund‘s podcast series is entitled “Realizing Youth Justice.”  AFF President Leticia Peguero interviews Liz Ryan of Youth First about their advocacy work to close youth prisons and realize justice for America’s incarcerated children. Click here to listen to the podcast. 

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Now Recruiting Stoneleigh Emerging Leader Fellows for Fall 2017!

The Stoneleigh Foundation is currently seeking applications for its 2017-2019 Emerging Leader Fellowship opportunities, which provide hands-on experience for early career professionals interested in addressing the needs of Greater Philadelphia’s most vulnerable youth through policy analysis, research, or advocacy.  Each Fellowship is full-time for two years and provides salary, benefits, and a stipend for professionalRead More

Open Society Foundations

Open Society Foundations Announce Rapid Response Grant Making Initiative

The Open Society Foundations’ U.S. Programs has announced a special initiative to support frontline communities and organizations in the U.S. in their efforts to deescalate and head off future incidents of hate based on race, religion, national origin, gender and sexual orientation. OSF has allocated up to $3 million and plans to accept applications through February 15,Read More

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Policy Updates

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The President’s Role in Advancing Criminal Justice Reform

Commentary by Barack Obama Harvard Law Review Former President Barack Obama has authored an article for the Harvard Law Review, detailing his personal commitment to justice reform, and providing an overview of his Administration’s efforts and accomplishments. He also shares his insights regarding the methods of influence at a President’s disposal, as well as reflectionsRead More

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DOJ Proposes New Juvenile Justice Rules

by John Kelly The Chronicle of Social Change The Justice Department has published proposed new rules related to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) that will require most states to make significant improvements or face the loss of federal funds at a time when the appropriation has dropped significantly. Click here to read theRead More

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New KIDS COUNT Policy Report

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has released a new KIDS COUNT Policy Report entitled, A Shared Sentence – The Devastating Toll of Parental Incarceration on Kids, Families and Communities. Download the report here.  

New York Times

States Move Toward Treating 17-Year-Old Offenders as Juveniles, Not Adults

by Erik Eckholm The New York Times Louisiana is among a dwindling number of states where 17-year-olds are automatically treated as adults, and among a growing number that are looking at revising those laws. Read the full story here.  

LA Times

L.A. County Severely Restricts Solitary Confinement for Juveniles

by Abby Sewell and Garrett Therolf Los Angeles Times May 3, 2016 Los Angeles County on Tuesday approved sweeping restrictions on the use of solitary confinement for juvenile detainees, joining a larger movement against a practice that some consider cruel and unproductive. The Board of Supervisors’ action bans solitary confinement at youth camps and hallsRead More

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YTFG Publications

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A Blueprint for Youth Justice Reform

 “For these are all our children. We will all profit by, or pay for, whatever they become.” – James Baldwin, Writer The Blueprint for Youth Justice Reform is a call to action to funders, policymakers, community leaders, system stakeholders, advocates, youth and families. We seek your bold leadership, your commitment and your voices as we workRead More

Investing in Well-Being

Investing to Improve the Well-Being of Vulnerable Youth and Young Adults: Recommendations for Policy and Practice

This publication explores the important role and responsibility of each youth-serving system in supporting well-being for youth and young adults and presents a new framework for well-being for young people, highlighting the various domains of well-being and the role of families, communities, and public systems in supporting well-being. It also includes a series of concrete and actionableRead More

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Small Foundations, Big Wins: A Guide to Making Smart Choices About Grantmaking for Vulnerable Youth (2013)

This guide gives leaders of small foundations tried-and-true tools for building a strategic and effective grantmaking program. It also contains tips and examples to help you consider ways to leverage your investments. Download Publication

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Juvenile Justice Reform: A Blueprint

Throughout the country, there is movement away from punitive policies and practices, and a desire to reduce the number of incarcerated youth and preserve public funding without jeopardizing public safety. Many factors, explored below leading the Juvenile Justice Work Group to conclude that the time is ripe to fundamentally change the juvenile justice landscape. This Blueprint, now in its third printing,Read More

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Checklist for Funders: Investing in Youth Transtioning From Foster Care (2011)

This checklist is intended to support the decision making process of new as well as veteran funders who are seeking to invest in supports and services for youth transitioning from foster care. This checklist goes beyond traditional questions of due diligence to focus on ways to leverage the learning of previous investors, to identify potential partnerships, and toRead More

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