Youth Justice

Philadelphia’s youth experience high rates of poverty, unemployment, and negative physical and mental health outcomes, including high rates of depression and domestic violence. The Youth Justice Project, a collaboration between Philadelphia Legal Assistance and Community Legal Services, has come together to offer resources and legal services to improve outcomes for our most vulnerable youth.

Download the Young Adult Resource Guide to get help with the following issues: Child care and early learning, domestic violence, drop-in centers, drug and alcohol treatment, education/career, family planning/reproductive health, food resources, general health services, housing/shelter, legal services, mental health services, parenting education, teen parent resources, other resources.

Research on adolescent brain development has shown that although youth transitioning to adulthood share many competencies and attributes of fully formed adults, they remain fundamentally different. Yet, this recognition is not reflected in policies that treat youth and adults the same. Read our issue primer to learn more about the unique problems that youth face.

Based on these findings, Community Legal Services prepared a policy report, Youth Justice: Ensuring Vulnerable Youth Successfully Transition Into Adulthood and out of Poverty, which can be downloaded from CLS's web site.

Read our fact sheets below for information on important issues that impact youth.

Fact Sheets

Due to funding cuts, the UC Service Centers are currently operating with 50% of their normal staff.  Claimants are experiencing busy signals and long wait times when they try to call the Service Center (888-313-7284).

Starting May 13, 2015, employees who work at least 40 hours a year within the City of Philadelphia limits will be eligible to earn paid/unpaid sick leave.

The subsidized child care program pays for part of the cost of child care for eligible families.

Minors can file for and receive child support for their own children without adult help.

If the family court has not entered a custody order for a child, the mother and father both have the right to have a child in their care, and to make decisions for that child, even if one or both of the parents are under 18.

Employers are NOT legally allowed to consider certain kinds of juvenile and criminal records.

Expungement means that your juvenile record is erased and no one can see it. You can ask the court for an expungement.

LIHEAP provides grants to help with a heating bill.

You may be able to get a Protection From Abuse Order if you have experienced particular types of abuse.

Even if you are under 18, you have a lot of control over your reproductive health.

SNAP, or food stamps, provides assistance for low-income people to buy food.

SSI provides cash assistance and Medicaid to low-income children and adults with disabilities.

You can stay in care until you are 21, if you are doing certain activities.

TANF gives cash assistance to low-income people living with minor children.

Explains your rights when DHS comes to check on you and your kids.

Teen parents “in care” are young mothers and fathers who are placed by DHS in foster care, a mother/baby placement, or other placement.

When you are approached by the police, remember that you have rights.

Explains what happens to youth who get prosecuted as adults in Philadelphia.

You can also download all fact sheets as a single PDF file.

YJP News

January 25, 2016 — Community Legal Services and Philadelphia Legal Assistance Launch Youth Justice Project