NJDC Blueprints Report Highlights Juvenile Defense

Children across the country are routinely denied access to effective lawyers in juvenile court. But, in some places, defenders and advocates are finding creative solutions to ensure children’s rights are fulfilled.  A new report by the National Juvenile Defender Center, Defend Children: A Blueprint for Effective Juvenile Defender Services, highlights solutions to these problems.  Some of the suggested solutions have already been made law in California, and our statutory right to post-disposition representation is highlighted in the report.  But despite California’s outstanding achievements over the past several years, lawyers in many parts of California are under-resourced in terms of financial and professional support.  As we approach the 50th anniversary of In re Gault, which recognized children’s constitutional right to counsel, the NJDC report suggests next steps for our work.