Southern California Program

Children's Defense Fund - California

Civic and Community
Los Angeles, CA
June 2019

Children’s Defense Fund – California (CDF-CA) has been at the forefront of efforts to improve the well-being of youth involved in Los Angeles County’s juvenile justice system.  Since 2016, it has been the lead agency in building a coalition and other partnerships with community-based advocacy and organizing groups that have combined efforts to pursue critically needed reforms.  Specific goals have been established that include:  reducing youth contact with law enforcement; shrinking the probation system and its budget while also ensuring better outcomes for youth who remain involved; reinvesting funds in an expanded youth diversion and development system; and, increasing participation in probation and other juvenile justice oversight bodies.  A two-year W. M. Keck Foundation grant will support CDF-CA’s work to advance these goals through coalition building and training, research, and policy recommendations.  As many as 11,000 Los Angeles youth each year could be diverted prior to arrest and instead be directed to a community-based system of supports that builds on their strengths and develops competencies and connections they need for life and work.

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