Every child can reach their potential, but children of color and poor children are routinely denied the resources and opportunities they need to do so. Instead, many are funneled into a justice system that only makes it harder to succeed.
The Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights is a nonprofit law office that stands with kids in the justice system no matter what. We provide holistic legal defense to address children’s needs both inside and outside the courtroom. And we tackle the systemic issues that criminalize mostly poor, Black youth in the first place. Our goal is to keep kids out of a harmful system so that they can thrive where they belong: at home, at school, and in our communities.
As the juvenile public defender in New Orleans, we represent over 90% of children in the city who come into contact with the juvenile justice system. We provide each child with a holistic team – a lawyer, social worker, investigator, and youth advocate – to address both the causes and consequences of an arrest.
We also represent the majority of children in Louisiana who are facing life without parole sentences, which the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional in all but the rarest cases. We know that children can and do change for the better, so we fight to ensure that they may one day have an opportunity for a second chance.
We advocate for local and statewide policies that reduce the number of children in the justice system and provide better alternatives to arrest and incarceration. For the kids who do enter the system, we support policies that keep them safe, protect their rights, and get them home as soon as possible.