This Fact Sheet reports on a study sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and conducted by the American Bar Association (ABA) that involved a nationwide survey of juvenile legal defense services and the development of training and technical assistance to increase the availability and quality of counsel for juvenile offenders.
The survey found that legal representation for juveniles was neither widespread nor common, with many problems impeding public defenders from meeting the demand for the representation of juveniles. In addition to heavy caseloads, there are serious gaps in training for defenders of juveniles. Those public defenders found to provide effective representation for juveniles worked in offices with the following features: supportive structural features, including limited caseloads and the ability to enter a case early; comprehensive training; non-lawyer support and resources; hands-on supervision of attorneys; and a work environment that values juvenile court practice. The ABA is currently providing training and technical assistance tailored to each jurisdiction's needs, so as to improve access to and the quality of juvenile representation. Features of the ABA training and technical assistance are described. 5 endnotes
Date Published: January 1, 1997
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