Smart on Juvenile Justice: Enhancing Youth Access to Justice Initiative

The Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has awarded juvenile defense reform planning grants as part of its Smart on Juvenile Justice: Enhancing Youth Access to Justice Initiative. These awards were established to develop statewide strategies to ensure that every youth involved with the juvenile justice system has fair and equal access to quality legal representation.

Category 1 Awards

Under this Initiative, OJJDP awarded four Category 1, Youth Access to Justice State Reform Planning grants to encourage development of state plans for establishing effective systems of juvenile defense.  These four awards were received by:


Category 2 Award

The National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) received the Category 2, Youth Access to Justice Training and Technical Assistance grant to provide training technical assistance to Category 1 grantees, to coordinate efforts to create effective systems of juvenile defense, and to provide legal assistance to youth returning from out-of-home placement to eliminate barriers that impede their likelihood of success.

As part of this award, NJDC is coordinating a Juvenile Post-Disposition Reentry Fellowship Program designed to provide civil legal services post-disposition to address barriers youth face in community reintegration following a juvenile delinquency placement or commitment. Legal services may include juvenile record expungement, deregistration, securing a driver’s license, litigating inappropriate denials of housing or employment, educational advocacy, and other services that help youth successfully reenter the community. NJDC and the selected host sites are committed to helping young people overcome these obstacles by removing legal barriers to their successful transition into adulthood.

Category 3 Awards

Finally, OJJDP awarded two Category 3 grants for Youth Access to Justice State and Tribal Juvenile Defender Resource Centers to promote juvenile defense system improvements at the regional level. The regions selected for the awards are:

These Smart on Juvenile Justice: Enhancing Youth Access to Justice Initiative awards are part of the OJJDP portfolio of Smart on Juvenile Justice efforts. For more information please see: