Be aware of what is happening in your state’s juvenile justice system.
Every state has different laws and policies – it is vitally important to understand how your state’s laws can affect your child. Check out the American Bar Association’s interactive map to learn more about the ins and outs in your state.
Know your rights.
Download this booklet to educate yourself about your basic rights before you come in contact with the system. It is extremely easy for any child or teen to get into trouble in today’s zero tolerant society. It is vitally important for every parent and child to understand these rights.
Get a good lawyer.
If your child is questioned by police or involved in the legal system in any way, always seek quality legal counsel – a good lawyer can make a world of difference in juvenile justice cases. If you’ve already come in contact with the system and can’t afford a lawyer, contact the National Juvenile Defender Center to find out about local resources.
Understand the role of law enforcement and school resource officers.
In the vast majority of juvenile justice cases, the gateway is police contact. Parents and schools should think twice before contacting police for minor issues, and kids should maintain composure when engaging with police.
Join the movement.
There are advocacy organizations around the country that are actively working on state-based reform, and they need your help. Check out our map to find a group you can support.