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Ten Core Principles For Providing Quality Delinquency Representation Through Public Defense Delivery Systems (National Juvenile Defender Center, 2008) Created through a collaboration between the National Juvenile Defender Center and the American Council of Chief Defenders.


FAQs on the Role of Juvenile Defense Counsel (National Juvenile Defender Center, 2016)


National Juvenile Defense Standards (National Juvenile Defender Center, 2012) Rooted in the law, science, and professional codes of responsibility, these standards are intended to provide guidance, support, and direction to juvenile defense attorneys and other juvenile court stakeholders.


Defend Children: A Blueprint for Effective Juvenile Services (National Juvenile Defender Center, 2016) A path toward a comprehensive, adequately-resourced juvenile defender system that ensures the fundamental right to counsel for children, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, geography, or ability to pay.


Juvenile Defense Policy and Practice Career Resource Guide (National Juvenile Defender Center, 2019) For those contemplating a career in juvenile defense.


Enhanced juvenile Justice Guidelines: Improving Court Practice in Juvenile Justice Cases (National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, 2019) A comprehensive bench book for judges that provides support for many of the best practices advocated for by juvenile defenders.

Washington Judicial Colloquies Project: A Guide for Improving Communication and Understanding in Juvenile Court
(Team Child and the MacArthur Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network) Standard colloquies between the court and youth, including conditions of probation, are often in language far beyond the child’s comprehension. These developmentally-appropriate colloquies dramatically improved comprehension and compliance.

Defending Clients Who Have Been Searched and Interrogated at School: A Guide for Juvenile Defenders
(National Juvenile Defender Center, Barton Juvenile Defender Clinic - Emory Law, Youth Advocacy Project)

Audio-Video Appearances in Juvenile Court
(Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission, 2015) Report recommending against audio-video appearances for Illinois’ detained youth in lieu of transportation to court.


Reforming Juvenile Justice: A Develpmental Approach (National Research Council, 2013)

What Juvenile Defenders Should Know About the DSM-5
(National Juvenile Defender Center, 2014) A useful overview of the 2013 changes to the DSM and how a client’s diagnosis might affect the case.

Stemming the Tide: Diverting Youth with Mental Health Conditions from the Illinois Juvenile Justice System
(2018) This legislatively-mandated report from the Illinois Mental Health Opportunities for Youth Diversion Task Force recommends 14 action steps to deliver needed services and help keep youth with mental-health-conditions-out-of-jails-and-prisons.

Tips on Youth Trauma
(National Juvenile Defender Center, 2017) This issue briefly highlights the importance of defenders considering how trauma and mental illness might have affected their client’s behavior and culpability


Improving Illinois' Response to Sexual Offenses Committed by Youth (Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission, 2014)

An Examination of Juvenile Arrested, Detained, and Admitted to Corrections for Sex Offenses in Illinois
(Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, 2017)

Raised on the Registry: The Irreparable Harm of Placing Children on Sex Offender Registries in the US
(Human Rights Watch 2013)

Youth Who Commit Sex Offenses Research Update
(National Juvenile Justice Network, 2014) Three-page general summary of the relevant research.

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Resolution Regarding Sex Offender Registration Requirements for Youth Younger than Age 18
(Adopted March 16, 2019)



Juvenile Defender's Guide to Immigration Issues in Juvenile Proceedings (National Juvenile Defender Center, 2017

Noncitizen Youth in the Juvenile Justice System
(Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2014) Practice guide for juvenile justice stakeholders on ensuring the safe and fair treatment of noncitizen youth in detention

2018 Supplement


Trial and Sentencing of Youth As Adults in the Illinois Justice System: 2018 Transfer Data Report (Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission)

If Not the Adult System Then Where? Alternatives to Adult Incarceration for Youth Certified as Adults
(Campaign for Youth Justice, 2019) First report in a series on effective alternatives to incarceration for youth who were charged as if they were adults.

Trial Defense Guidelines: Representing a Child Client Facing a Possible Life Sentence
(Coalition for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, 2015) As with death penalty sentencing, defending children facing life sentences requires specialized knowledge and characteristics

Representing Juveniles Convicted of Homicide Post Miller
(Stephen K. Harper, The Champion, March 2014)


Juvenile Facilities Checklist for Defenders Advocating for the Safety and Well-being of Young People (National Juvenile Defender Center, 2019) A guide for juvenile defenders to educate judges, prosecutors, probation officers, and other stakeholders on the potential harm youth face in secure confinement facilities.

Addressing Trauma: Eliminating Strip Searches
(Juvenile Law Center) A defender guide for determining if and how strip searches are used in local and state facilities housing youth and strategies for challenging suspicionless strip searches.

No Place for Kids: The Case for Reducing Juvenile Incarceration
(Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2011) Data-driven report with six key strategies for reform.

Arrested Development: Confinement Can Negatively Affect Youth Maturation
(National Juvenile Justice Network, 2013) Rather than causing youth to grow up and grow out of their behavior, the rigid rules and expectations of immediate obedience in secure confinement significantly slows the normal maturation of youth.

The Costliest Choice: Economic Impact of Youth Incarceration
(Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Bluhm Legal Clinic, 2018) The cost of incarcerating youth in Illinois and effective alternatives to incarceration.

Smart, Safe, and Fair Strategies to Reduce Youth Violence, Heal Victims of Crime, and Reduce Racial Inequality
(Justice Policy Institute and The National Center for Victims of Crime, 2018) A thought-provoking report on the commonalities between juvenile advocates and many crime victims when it comes to addressing racial disparities in the system and favoring rehabilitation in the community over incarceration.

Illinois Juvenile Detention Data Report
(Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission, 2016)


Transforming Probation: A Vision for Getting it Right (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2018) (National Juvenile Defender Center, 2016)



The Cost of Justice: The Impact of Criminal Justice Financial Obligations on Individuals and Families (Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, 2018) (National Juvenile Defender Center) Illinois is in the minority of states to assess probation fees for youth. Indiana in particular provides a model for securing the waiver of probation fees in most cases.


Racial and Ethnic Disparities Reduction Practice Manual (Center for Children’s Law and Policy, 2015) An overview of RED in the juvenile justice system and strategies for reducing them in local systems.

Addressing Persistent Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Juvenile Justice Detention in Illinois
(Voices for Illinois Children, 2017)

Repairing the Breach: A Brief History of Youth of Color in the Justice System
(Haywood Burns Institute, 2016) RED reform in the juvenile justice system can’t occur without first understanding how we got here.

The Keeper and the Kept
(Haywood Burns Institute, 2013) A report on the causes of racial and ethnic disparities among youth in secure confinement, local obstacles that keep these inequities in place, and successful strategies to combat the problem.

Stemming the Rising Tide: Racial & Ethnic Disparities in Youth Incarceration & Strategies for Change
(Haywood Burns Institute, 2016)

"Children Are Different": Implicit Bias, Rehabilitation, and the "New" Juvenile Jurisprudence
(Robin Walker Sterling, 46 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 1019 (2013)) Approaches for mitigating the effects of implicit bias in proceedings where children are facing life sentences.


LGBT Youth in Juvenile Court: Practice Tips for Juvenile Defenders (National Juvenile Defender Center, 2011)

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth in the Juvenile Justice System
(Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2015) Practice guide summarizing the relevant research, identifying appropriate policies, and providing guidance on the safety and well-being of LGBTQ youth in detention. 

Hidden Injustice: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth in Juvenile Courts
(The Equity Project, 2009) Comprehensive primer on LGBTQ youth in the juvenile justice system.



Illinois' Incarcerated Girls and LGBTQ YouthI (Bluhm Legal Clinic – Pritzker Northwestern School of Law, 2018)

A Guide to Juvenile Detention Reform: Making Detention Reform Work for Girls (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2013)

Girls Matter: Centring Gender in Status Offense Reform Efforts (Vera Institute, 2019)


Juvenile Defense Attorneys and Faamily Engagement: Same Team, Different Roles (National Juvenile Defender Center, 2014) Practical tips for engaging families that make them assets to their children in the juvenile court process.

The Juvenile Justice System: A Guide for Families in Illinois
(Children and Family Justice Center, Northwestern University School of Law & The Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership.


Parents as Partners: Family Connection and Youth Incarceration  (Children and Family Justice Center, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, 2018)