Whether you're a kid, a parent, a teacher or a concerned community member, there are simple steps we can all take to demand greater justice for kids and families. Scroll down to learn more, including what to do if your child gets in trouble with the law.
KIDS & PARENTS
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.
Reconsider classroom discipline.
Many juvenile justice cases start with school referrals. Think about alternative approaches to disciplining unruly students, and consider the consequences of getting law enforcement involved.
Talk to school administrators.
Many schools have zero tolerance policies that funnel kids directly into the juvenile justice system. Talk to your administrators and school board about your concerns, and discuss alternate approaches that are more supportive of the health and well-being of students.
Join the movement.
There are advocacy organizations around the country that are actively working on state-based reform, and they need your voice. Check out our map to find a group you can support.
Understand the systemic solutions.
There are several key leverage points that can stimulate systems-wide reform. From diversion on the front end, to mental health screenings at intake, to ensuring proper legal representation, there are many reform areas that may be relevant to your field.
Discuss the issues with colleagues.
Download the free 12-minute video adapted from Kids for Cash that is designed to spark better understanding and action-oriented conversations within and across sectors. The video also has a specially created discussion guide. COMING SOON
Browse through the latest research.
A vast body of research studies, reports and publications are available through the Research Network on Adolescent Development & Juvenile Justice.
Host a screening of Kids for Cash.
If you’re actively involved in juvenile justice reform, the film can serve as a great tool to communicate the value of your work, recruit new allies and secure public support.