The National Center for Youth Law was established in 1970 under the name Youth Law Center. The Center worked with the National Juvenile Law Center in St. Louis to represent the interests of poor children, adolescents, and their families. The two organizations merged in 1978 as the National Center for Youth Law; in 1982, the Board of Directors consolidated the two offices in San Francisco.
From the early 1980s until 1996, the Center was funded by the Legal Services Corporation to assist programs that offered free legal assistance to low-income people.
In the beginning, the Youth Law Center focused primarily on criminal procedures and confinement standards for youth. The Center participated in lawsuits that set basic standards of treatment for confined juveniles (Morales v. Turman) and that extended the constitutional bans on double jeopardy (Breed v. Jones) and the right to preliminary probable cause hearings (RWT v. Dalton) to juveniles. In the following years, the Center helped to end shocking and inhumane treatment of youth in detention centers in Oregon, Oklahoma, Idaho, and Arizona.
In 1978, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention funded the Center to help implement the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. The resulting project became what is now known as the Youth Law Center in San Francisco.
Over time, the focus of the Center's activities has steadily broadened to include major issues like adolescent health and mental health, foster care, the special problems facing children in institutions, public benefits for children, and child abuse and neglect.
The Center continues to fulfill its commitment to providing services to attorneys and advocates who work on behalf of poor children. The Center now receives the bulk of its funding from private foundations, individual donors, and the California Legal Trust Fund Program.
You can participate in NCYL's work to help low-income children and families by making a charitable gift.
405 14th St., 15th Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
tel: (510) 835-8098
fax: (510) 835-8099
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