Promising Approaches

While substantial deficiencies in access to counsel and the quality of representation exist in juvenile court, it would be incorrect to conclude that effective representation of young people cannot and does not exist. High-quality defender-based programs that deliver first-rate legal services to juveniles usually have one or more of the following characteristics:

bullet Ability to limit or control caseloads.
bullet Support for entering cases early and the flexibility to represent, or refer, clients in related collateral matters such as special education.
bullet Comprehensive initial and ongoing training and available resource materials.
bullet Adequate nonlawyer support and resources.
bullet Hands-on supervision of attorneys.
bullet Work environments that value and nurture juvenile court practice.

These characteristics are evident in the initiatives profiled below, which are exciting, innovative, and worthy of closer examination and replication.

Innovative Approaches to Juvenile Indigent Defense Juvenile Justice Bulletin   ·  December 1998