For 25 years, the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights has fought to keep children out of the criminal legal system so they can thrive in their own homes and communities. Our current work began when the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana and Juvenile Regional Services joined forces and resources to continue their policy advocacy and direct representation work collaboratively. In that same light, LCCR is proud to announce we are moving forward with an organizational restructuring that we are certain will help strengthen and ensure the viability of the organization into the future.
In a new appointment, JLWOP Legal Representation Director, Kristen Rome, will elevate to the role of Co-Executive Director, sharing responsibility with Aaron Clark-Rizzio who has led the organization for the past six years. The Co-ED model allows LCCR the benefit of leadership with complementing professional experience and diverse gender, racial and cultural backgrounds from incredible leaders. It also gives each leader the ability to focus on their core strengths, capacities and expertise, while working collaboratively and supporting one another in service to young people.
Aaron Clark-Rizzio will focus more on direct representation of our clients who are being prosecuted or who are currently in the criminal legal system. Since becoming LCCR’s executive director, Aaron has been committed to leading the way for a wide array of policy initiatives and changes. He remains dedicated to the mission of this organization and is purposeful in making necessary decisions to strengthen our impact and help LCCR sustain itself into the future. The new leadership model will support the growth of the organization and serves to enhance Aaron’s capacity to focus on where his strengths and passion lies: the clients.
Kristen Rome will focus primarily on much of our external-facing work, which includes policy advocacy and communications. At LCCR, Kristen has led our team of staff attorneys representing young people who face the most serious sentence any child can receive– Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP). She is not only a defense attorney, she is a mother and New Orleans native who is deeply rooted in this community and dedicated to expanding possibilities for Louisiana families. She has a history of continuously taking concrete steps to protect the rights of children, helping families navigate interwoven systems that – from conception – define young people’s life outcomes.
“I am thrilled to welcome Kristen Rome as a Co-Executive Director for the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights,” said LCCR Board Chair David A. Burks. “Having worked with Kristen for years, I know that she brings a creative, strategic, and compassionate homegrown perspective, steeped in equity and justice, to the leadership of the organization. The change in leadership structure increases our capacity and allows LCCR to be best prepared for the myriad of opportunities and challenges that are on our horizon. I look forward to working alongside her for years to come.”
“I am proud and excited to welcome Kristen Rome to the LCCR expanded leadership position, Co-Executive Director,” said LCCR Board Vice Chair Troy Bell. “Kristen will bring to this role passion for the work that we do, a stellar litigation track record on the behalf of our youth, and the experience needed to foster an excellent working relationship between LCCR and the local communities it serves.” Our restructuring plan will strengthen core operations, and increase our impact as well as diversify the ways we create that impact. With these changes, LCCR will be poised to further our mission and will have the diverse leadership to sustain it. We have great hope for the way this redesign will prepare this incredible organization for a new era and lead the way for our vision of a Louisiana where every child, no matter their race or class, is free to be a kid and supported in becoming a healthy adult.