Juvenile justice: HOLISTIC LEGAL ADVOCACY
Legal Counsel for Youth and Children provides holistic legal advocacy to youth in King County juvenile offender matters. LCYC's advocacy goes beyond what is provided through traditional public defense by meeting all of the youth's civil legal needs. For example, we assist youth with education, housing, immigration, and public benefits. We gather and share information with each youth at the appropriate developmental level, helping them to understand the legal system, issues, and options. LCYC helps youth to understand and engage in a complicated and often frightening legal processes.
LCYC staff attorneys also collaborate with the youth, family, and community supports to identify and address the youth's non-legal needs. We strive to help youth strengthen and build natural support systems, which will outlast the duration of our advocacy.
LCYC represents around 75 youth in juvenile offender matters each year, ranging from misdemeanors to Class A felonies. A few youth are also represented by LCYC in open child welfare matters.
LCYC also works closely with Juvenile Court professionals and service providers to decrease the number of youth exiting the juvenile justice system into homelessness. For example, LCYC is often called when a youth is set to be released from detention, but the youth has no where to go upon his/her/their release and the parent(s) are unwilling to pick up the youth or welcome the youth at home. Youth, ages 12 -24 years, who are or are at risk of experiencing homelessness are eligible for services at LCYC through our homeless youth program.
To learn more about the intersection of juvenile justice, child welfare, and homelessness, read up on LCYC's October 2017 systems report Empty Promises: Homeless Minors, Our Communities Failure to Adequately Serve Them, And Hope for a Way Forward.