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Mid-Atlantic Juvenile Defender Center - Enhancing Youth Access to Justice

Award Information

Award #
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $451,839)

The OJJDP FY 2015 Smart on Juvenile Justice: Enhancing Youth Access to Justice Initiative will provide funding to (1) develop effective, statewide, well-resourced model juvenile indigent defense legal delivery systems; (2) develop and implement standards of practice and policy for the effective management of such delivery systems; and (3) develop state or regional resource centers to help state, tribal, and local juvenile defense systems enhance the quality of legal representation, leverage resources, and collect and analyze data to measure the effectiveness of specific initiatives. This initiative will provide cost-effective and innovative training for the juvenile indigent defense bar, including public defenders and court-appointed counsel working on behalf of juvenile indigent defendants, particularly in traditionally underserved locations, including rural areas.

Category 3: Youth Access to Justice State and Tribal Juvenile Defender Resource Center grants will support state and tribal juvenile defenders to leverage local resources that address challenges around juvenile defense in rural, tribal, remote, and underserved populations. The Mid-Atlantic Juvenile Defender Center (MAJDC) at Georgetown Law is one of nine regional centers of the National Juvenile Defender Center. MAJDC seeks to ensure that every youth has access to a skilled attorney throughout the juvenile justice process by assessing barriers to quality representation, training attorneys, developing resource materials for attorneys, and supporting policy change. To improve the knowledge and skills of juvenile defenders in rural areas, MAJDC will establish the Rural Ambassadors Program, allowing five rural attorneys per year to participate in a year-long intensive juvenile-defense training program. Additionally, MAJDC will host several trainings for juvenile defenders in rural areas throughout the project and assess the District of Columbia (DC) juvenile defense delivery system to document innovative practices, identify systemic barriers to quality representation for all youth in DC, and outline recommendations for reform. MAJDC will also produce resources for juvenile defenders such as practice manuals, including a manual on juvenile defense ethics, and will address policies in the region that preclude juvenile defenders from offering quality representation, including Virginia’s low compensation rate for court-appointed juvenile defenders and Maryland’s policies surrounding access to counsel for committed youth. Throughout this project, MAJDC will partner with regional public defender’s offices and non-profit organizations. CA/NCF

Date Created: September 27, 2015