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Saturday 19th of September 2020


DC Lawyers for Youth


North America

TypeCountry of origin

Not-for-profit Association (AISBL) United States


Justice, Juvenile, Minors, Public policies, Reform, Rights



DC Lawyers for Youth seeks to improve the DC juvenile justice system by advocating for reforms that promote positive youth development, effective legal representation, and supportive relationships between the community and DC’s youth.



Our Approach

We believe that true positive change cannot occur if we limit our view of the juvenile justice system to the time when a child gets arrested to the time he gets released from the custody of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) or completes his or her probation. As a result, we take a holistic approach to improving the juvenile justice system organizing our efforts by the three phases of the system: prevention, representation, and rehabilitation.

1. Prevention

Investing early in our youth will make it less likely that they will get arrested. This is the best outcome for our youth and all the system’s stakeholders.

Lowering arrest rates will reduce the volume that the courts and social services have to process, freeing up resources and enabling our courts and social service programs to focus on those youth most in need.

2. Representation

Improving the quality of representation for youth begins with a recognition that the juvenile defender is both attorney and social worker and ensuring that all juvenile defenders receive the support necessary to effectively play both roles.

Focusing on this dual role of effective juvenile defenders will not only protect the constitutional rights of our youth recognized in In re Gault, but also ensure that those youth most in need will receive a plan for services that is tailored to the unique needs of the individual.

3. Rehabilitation

Improving the services provided to our youth who are subject to court or DYRS supervision will ensure that the rehabilitative goal of the juvenile justice system is realized.

Investing in effective re-entry programs will help rehabilitated youth from falling back into the grasp of the court system.


DC Lawyers for Youth was founded by alumni of the Georgetown Juvenile Justice Clinic in 2007. Since then, our Board has expanded to include lawyers, teachers, social workers, mentors and non-profit managers.

Contact details

1220 L Street NW Suite 605, 20005, Washington DC, United States
Telephone: 202.386.7104


  • International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO). Belgian Public Utility Foundation

    All rights reserved

  • Head Office: Rue Armand Campenhout, nº 72 bte 10. 1050. Brussels. Belgium

    Phone: 00 32 262 988 90. Fax: 00 32 262 988 99. oijj@oijj.org

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