Levin College of Law

Juvenile Justice Project

  • Degree Programs
  • Curriculum Roadmaps
  • Experiential Learning
  • Areas of Concentration
  • Centers
  • Institutes & Related Programs
  • Mission Statement

    News & Events

    Kids Not Inmates

    Reforming Juvenile Justice
    September 23 at 5:30 pm
    180 Holland Hall College of Law

    Burning Down the House

    The End of Juvenile Prison

    New Publications:

    Juvenile Justice Handbook

    The Shackling of Juvenile Offenders: The Debate in Juvenile Justice Policy

    The Juvenile Justice Project of the Center for Children and Families is an effort to engage with others for the benefit of children locally, statewide, and nationally.

    Our goals are:

    • to improve outcomes for children in order to avoid their involvement in the juvenile justice system and maximize their opportunity to become productive, healthy adult citizens;
    • to intervene and rehabilitate children at their earliest intersection with the juvenile justice system, consistent with a model of therapeutic jurisprudence and the goal of preventing deeper or continued involvement with the juvenile justice system; and
    • to insure adequate representation and due process throughout all stages of the juvenile justice system in order to preserve the integrity of the legal process in the eyes of children.

    We are committed to achieving the goal of justice for all children. The project will explore issues through the lens of race, gender, class, and disability, singly and in operation with each other.

    We are committed to interdisciplinary research, advocacy, and partnership among academics, practitioners, and policy makers.

    We are committed to encouraging the input of, and listening to the voices of, children and youth.

    Projects and Programs

    The heart of the project will be information-gathering; legal and empirical research; disseminating ideas, models and evidence; and encouraging discourse among those who seek justice for juveniles. Our focus is interdisciplinary as well as aimed at bridging the perspectives of academics, practitioners and policy makers. Our goal is to include the children most involved and affected by, or within, the juvenile justice system, as participants and voices in our research and analysis.


    The project plans to hold national conferences to bring together academics, practitioners and policy makers. The first conference was held February 2010 and focused on prevention and diversion from the juvenile justice system.

    The second national conference will focus on the current operation of juvenile justice system, critiques and proposals for reforms, and tentatively is scheduled for the spring of 2013.


    Annual workshops will be held between the larger national conferences to focus on targeted issues (for example, trying children as adults, representation of children, specific diversion programs, earlier efforts to strengthen children and their families). These workshops will be roundtable sessions that will permit experts in the area to share ideas, brainstorm, and consider specific policy proposals or model programs/best practices.


    CCF annually leads the Youth Summit, an opportunity to engage with local youth on a topic of interest to them. This project has worked with both middle school and high school students. A second project currently under development is the creation of a website for youth to discuss and advocate on issues important to them. The Juvenile Justice Project will continue to support innovative projects like these to bring stakeholders into dialogue and insure that the voices of children and youth are heard.


    The project will be a repository for information, empirical research, and links to other organizations with research on juvenile justice issues. Papers from conferences and workshops will be available either on the project website and/or to conference participants. Conference and workshop papers may be published in a variety of forums including law reviews or under contract with a specific publisher.


    The project, through the Center for Children and Families, will engage in advocacy for juveniles on issues of policy consistent with the role of CCF. This may include amicus briefs, drafting model legislation, or other projects approved by CCF.

    Grants/Empirical Research

    The project will develop grant proposals that will support research to gather data that is helpful to those engaged in achieving best outcomes for juveniles.