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Cook County Education Advocacy Program: Enhancing Holistic Representation in Public Defense

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $353,770)

The Enhancements for Juvenile Defense program supports states and localities in developing and implementing tools and strategies to ensure that youth involved with the juvenile justice system have fair and equal access to high-quality legal representation and to resources that address the collateral consequences of justice system involvement. Category 1 under this program provides funding to states and localities to enhance juvenile defense in one or more of the following areas: staff training, data collection and analysis, juvenile defense delivery system analyses, and/or addressing a specific need(s) identified by the state or locality related to juvenile defense services delivery.

The Cook County Juvenile Defender (CCPD) Educational Advocacy Program will provide a critical bridge between juvenile justice and civil representation for minors and will enable the Cook County Public Defender’s Office to provide its young clients with coordinated advocacy at every stage of their justice system involvement. The Cook County Juvenile Defender Educational Advocacy Program will provide indigent youth with the civil legal services necessary to reenroll in school, obtain needed services and avoid unnecessary or unfair suspensions and expulsions. The program will build the infrastructure necessary to integrate education advocacy services into the operations of the Juvenile Justice Division’s multidisciplinary teams of lawyers, case managers, and support staff. The primary goal of this program is to reduce the educational collateral consequences of juvenile adjudication on low-income youth in Cook County. Central to the achievement of this program’s goals is the creation of a new, full-time position in the Juvenile Justice Division (JJD) of the CCPD, the Education Attorney. Completing the civil legal services side of JJD’s multidisciplinary representation teams, the education attorney will: 1) represent CCPD juvenile clients at school disciplinary hearings; 2) obtain IEPs and other needed – and often legally mandated – services for minors; 3) assist minors and their families with school reentry. Finally, the Program will develop an Educational Advocacy for Public Defenders Toolkit to extend lessons learned beyond Cook County. CA/NCF

Date Created: September 20, 2019