Barry University’s Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law has announced receipt of a $778,000 three-year grant from the Eckerd Family Foundation to start a Juvenile Justice Center at its campus in Orlando.
The Center will train lawyers and law students to represent children accused of crimes in Florida’s juvenile delinquency system.
The partnership between Barry and the Eckerd Family Foundation was formed following a 2006 report by the National Juvenile Defender Center, which revealed that Florida’s delinquency system fails to provide children adequate legal representation. The report titled “An Assessment of Access to Counsel and Quality of Representation in Delinquency Proceedings in Florida” states that “Florida’s juvenile courts cannot guarantee due process and accountability for youth without the participation of well-trained, well-resourced defense counsel.” Barry and the Eckerd Family Foundation worked together to find ways to improve the representation of children, which resulted in the creation of the Juvenile Justice Center.
The Center will begin operations by the end of the summer and will partner with a public defender’s office that will work to create a model of best practices for the state. The Eckerd Family Foundation grant will be distributed over the course of three years; $350,000 the first year, $262,500 the second year and $175,000 the third year. The Juvenile Justice Center, which will be a part of the Law School’s clinical programs, will work with juvenile defenders around the state and provide continuous training and consultations with defenders’ offices to improve the representation of children.
The Eckerd Family Foundation, based in Clearwater, Florida, is committed to promoting meaningful and lasting change to transform the lives of vulnerable youth and their families. Its mission is to provide leadership and support for innovative educational, preventative, therapeutic and rehabilitative programs for children, youth and their families.