Mission & Vision Statement
To promote justice for all children by ensuring excellence in juvenile defense.
Statement of Beliefs
The National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) believes that a strong juvenile defense delivery system is a vital mechanism for ensuring that:
- All children in the justice system have ready and timely access to skilled, well-resourced, well-trained lawyers;
- All children are afforded full protection of their constitutional, statutory, and human rights;
- All children receive legal representation that is client centered, individualized, developmentally and age appropriate, and free of bias; and
- All children have opportunities to attain their potential to become productive members of society.
For these reasons, NJDC believes that the juvenile defense bar must:
- Enhance its skill, capacity, and commitment to professionalism;
- Cultivate leadership to promote accountability and bring about reform in the juvenile justice system; and
- Build collaborations, partnerships, and community involvement to advance the juvenile defense delivery system.
NJDC works to create a strong juvenile defense delivery system where:
- The representation of children is specialized and resources and opportunities exist for juvenile defenders to fully exercise and enhance their legal, management, leadership, and advocacy skills;
- All children are treated with respect, dignity, and fairness;
- Juvenile courts are knowledgeable, sensitive, and responsive to the needs of children;
- Juvenile defenders have parity of resources, compensation, and opportunity for advancement with adult defenders and prosecutors; and
- Excellence is routine.