National Juvenile Defender Center
Added Feb 2, 2009
1350 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20036
Phone (202) 452-0010
The mission of NJDC is to ensure excellence in juvenile defense and promote justice for all children. NJDC provides support to public defenders, appointed counsel, law school clinical programs and non-profit law centers to ensure quality representation in urban, suburban, rural and tribal areas and offers a wide range of integrated services to juvenile defenders, including training, technical assistance, advocacy, networking, collaboration, capacity building and coordination.
NJDC focuses on a wide range of issues, from juveniles’ access to effective counsel to their competency to stand trial with particular expertise in adolescent development and its implications for juvenile justice policies and practices. NJDC is instrumental in the development, testing, and dissemination of Juvenile Court Curriculum, and in Curriculum-based training.
The National Juvenile Defender Center develops and advocates policy reform in partnership with governments, philanthropic foundations, agencies, and advocacy organizations at local, state, and national levels. Much of our policy work is focused on implementing the reforms in access to counsel and quality of representation.
Areas of expertise
- Training and Professional Development
- Policy Development and Systemic Advocacy
- Resource and Capacity Building
Partners and clients
NJDC offers support to public defenders, appointed counsel, law school clinical programs, and non-profit support centers. While it focuses on the juvenile defense bar, the Center also provides professional development, along with training in adolescent development, to judges, prosecutors, probation officers, and other court personnel.
NJDC collaborates with nine Regional Juvenile Defender Centers to coordinate regional activities, including helping to compile and analyze juvenile indigent defense data, facilitating organizing and networking opportunities for juvenile defenders, offering targeted, state-based training and technical assistance, and providing case support specifically designed for complex or high profile cases.
Strategies and services
The Center’s activities include:
- Providing professional development and training of juvenile court personnel, using the MacArthur Juvenile Court Training Curriculum and other curricula and resource material designed to enhance juvenile defense work.
- Building the capacity of the defense bar through comprehensive assessments of juvenile indigent defense in the Models for Change states. Based on the findings and recommendations of these assessments, the Center will organize state and local leadership teams to develop strategies and produce work plans to implement the recommendations. Capacity-building activities include adopting standards of practice, ensuring adequate funding, and providing training.
- Responding to national requests for training and technical support. The Center continues to provide assistance to organizations and agencies interested in professional education and training on adolescent development.
- Managing the Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network (JIDAN)
- Policy & systemic reform.