Center for Juvenile Law and Policy
Loyola Law School
919 Albany St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Telephone: (213) 736-8339
100% Children’s Law
In 2004, the Center for Juvenile Law and Policy (CJLP) was founded by Cyn Yamashiro, a public defender, in order to tackle the injustices of the Los Angeles County juvenile court system, injustices rooted in inadequate funding, racial discrimination, a failing social welfare system, and a culture of over-incarceration. With seven law students, the Center provided state-of-the-art, holistic advocacy to 24 juvenile clients in Inglewood and Compton in the first year. Since then, the Center has expanded to three clinics with four full-time faculty, four staff, and about 30 students each year who have dedicated over 65,000 pro bono hours representing 475 children in 825 cases in L.A.’s neediest communities: Inglewood, Compton, and the San Gabriel Valley.
While providing exemplary legal advocacy to indigent children, the Center trains law students and prepares them for careers in child advocacy and the public interest. These students work with faculty and a social worker in a legal defense team that holistically represents a child’s stated interests, thereby tackling the often treatable root causes of delinquent behavior: mental health issues, learning disabilities, homelessness, drug abuse, domestic violence, and inadequate foster-
At the heart of the CJLP mission are its juvenile legal clinics, where law students with faculty represent live clients. In the Juvenile Justice Clinic (JJC), students and faculty mount a zealous defense of children in delinquency court that starts with the first client meeting and lasts until the child achieves majority. Alongside their legal advocates, the Center’s social worker provides mental health evaluations for all clients, crafts treatment plans, designs innovative disposition (sentencing) alternatives for the courts, and, with the legal team, monitors progress after dispositions. The second clinic, the Youth Justice Education Clinic (YJEC), stops the school-to-prison pipeline by advocating for the educational needs of at-risk students in LAUSD hearings, by securing their access to Regional Center services, and by assuring the systemic implementation of their education rights. The Juvenile Innocence and Fair Sentencing Clinic (JIFS Clinic) represents juveniles who were wrongfully convicted or sentenced to unconscionably long prison terms, in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.