Welcome to the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC), Resource Center Partnership website. NJDC builds the capacity of the juvenile defense bar and improves access to counsel and quality of representation for children in the justice system. Through this Partnership, NJDC bolsters juvenile defense by replicating field-driven innovations, facilitating adoption of new juvenile justice defense standards, and developing a specialized corps of certified juvenile indigent defense trainers.
Dissemination and implementation of:
- National Juvenile Defense Standards
- Juvenile Training Immersion Program
- Field-driven Juvenile Defense Innovations
The National Juvenile Defense Standards (Standards)
The Standards represent a comprehensive set of best practice that guide and inform the ethical and professional performance of juvenile defense attorneys.
The Standards provide a framework for representation that is client-centered and anchored in the law, science, and professional codes of responsibility and present a national approach to systematizing competent and diligent juvenile defense practice. The Standards embrace juvenile defense as a highly specialized area of practice and elevate juvenile defense practice and policy and ultimately improve the delivery of legal service to indigent youth while acknowledging the vital role juvenile defenders must play in policy and justice system reform.
Juvenile Training Immersion Program (JTIP)
JTIP is a curriculum designed to develop a specialization in the practice of juvenile defense. JTIP aims to elevate the practice of juvenile law and is structured to help defenders meet their obligations at every stage of the delinquency system. JTIP reflects a core commitment to the unique role and critical importance of specialized defense counsel in juvenile courts across America, consistent with a young personís fundamental right to counsel.
JTIP is the only training curriculum focused on providing a substantive overview of juvenile and criminal law integrated with developing strong trial advocacy skills for juvenile defenders. JTIP is an intensive 40-lesson training program delivering instruction for effective practice ranging from the specialized role of juvenile defense counsel to representation at every stage of a case, from pre-trial to post-disposition. JTIP provides the foundation for high-quality, meaningful representation of youth.
Developed to meet the training needs of both national and local audiences, the JTIP curriculum was created with the intent that trainers will locate and incorporate key state and local statutes, court rules, and case law into each of the trainings so they are directly relevant to individual jurisdictions. JTIP also works best when sessions are co-facilitated by a local and a non-local presenter. The non-local trainer brings an outside perspective to the material and is often better able to challenge ingrained culture or practices in the local jurisdiction or suggest ways that participants might address those issues. Local trainers provide invaluable insight into the statutes, rules, practices, and case law that will be particular to the jurisdiction. This July, NJDC certified 48 participants from 33 states who are now armed and ready to deliver JTIP training.
Juvenile defenders continue to innovate strategies to improve the delivery of defense in the field. The following innovations, developed through the Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network, are ripe for implementation and replication.
- Collateral consequences information and materials
- Developmentally appropriate judicial colloquies
- Strategies for the early appointment of counsel
- Developing and implementing model contract for appointed counsel
- Caseload data and caseload reduction strategies
- Specialization and certification
Increased infrastructure and avenues for appeals and amicus work
- Creating juvenile defense law school clinics and externship programs
- Developing and utilizing evaluation tools based on the Standards
- Establishing a presumption of indigence for children
- Eliminate the indiscriminate use of mechanical restraints
- Develop innovative post disposition strategies
Contact NJDC for training, technical assistance, policy innovation, and research.
National Juvenile Defender Center
1350 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 304
Washington, DC 20036