About Us

The Juvenile Justice Center at Barry University School of Law was founded in 2007 through a generous grant from the Eckerd Family Foundation. The purpose of the Center is to improve the advocacy of children in delinquency court in Florida. We are here to assist lawyers across Florida with training, case law updates, practice guides and consultation services. Call or email us, we are here to help YOU!

The Juvenile Justice Center is committed to equality and justice through zealous advocacy for children in the delinquency system. The Center is devoted to improving the quality of representation through training, networking and consulting with law students, public defenders and those in the legal field that represent children. The Center works to create dramatic reform in the juvenile justice field in Florida with an emphasis on improvements in the quality of representation of children in the delinquency system, lasting positive impacts in legislation and a vision that juvenile delinquency representation is a specialized discipline.

The Center has been in existence for only 4 years.

  • The Center maintains a listserv of 330 Florida lawyers that serves as a forum to share experiences in representing children, ask questions, get legal advice and provide mentoring opportunities.
  • The Center maintains a website for lawyers that represent children to access motions, fact sheets and articles.
  • The Center creates bi-monthly newsletters that include juvenile case law updates, legislative updates and future seminar and workshop reminders.
  • The Center provides trainings to state employees that work with children.
    • 2 circuit judge trainings
    • 2 probation officer trainings
    • 8 live seminars for public defenders, guardian ad litem attorneys and regional conflict counsel
    • Monthly Learn @ Lunch conference calls with over hundreds served receiving continuing legal education
  • The Center provides consultation services to public defender offices to improve efficiency and quality of representation of children.

Outcomes

  • The Center has trained over 300 lawyers who work for the State of Florida on issues relating to the representation of children.
  • The Center has provided a service to 51 of the 67 counties in the State of Florida.
  • The Center has trained lawyers from every public defender office and most regional conflict counsel offices.
  • The Center has provided its consultation service in 6 judicial circuits that includes 24 counties observed with feedback primarily given to the elected public defender but also communicated with judges, prosecutors and Department of Juvenile Justice employees about best practices.
  • The Center was selected, along with the Miami Dade Public Defender, to represent the State of Florida as a Model for Change State by the MacArthur Foundation. The Center developed a pilot project that is now expanding to other parts of the state to ensure that children are receiving an opportunity to speak with a lawyer before the child waives his or her right to counsel.

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