Children and Family Justice Center

Children and Family Justice Center The Children and Family Justice Center (CFJC) is a comprehensive clinical children's law program, promoting justice for youth and their families.
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The Children and Family Justice Center is a center at the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University School of Law. The CFJC consists of students, lawyers, social workers, volunteers, and community partners who represent juvenile clients in a variety of cases, including representation in juvenile court, asylum, and youth charged as adults. We advocate for legal and policy reform in the juvenile justice system. See our blog for writing, photos, and video of what we do at www.cfjcblog.com.

Mission: The CFJC's mission is to promote justice for children and their families through legal representation, policy advocacy, and law reform. CFJC fulfills this mission in two key areas: 1. Providing high-quality representation to underrepresented communities 2. Training students to become reform-minded professional and lifelong advocates for youth justice

Operating as usual

Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton
10/08/2020

Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton

Justice can be loving, supportive, and understanding—especially towards our young people.

#WalkListenLearn with me and Julie Biehl, as we explore Illinois' Juvenile Justice System and why we're reforming it.

Listen Here👉🏾: https://anchor.fm/ltgovstratton

"You’re saying there are right reasons to send them back, but we have to ask ourselves, ‘Are there right reasons to die?...
03/14/2019
Northwestern Law

"You’re saying there are right reasons to send them back, but we have to ask ourselves, ‘Are there right reasons to die?’ Because at the end of the day, that’s what we’re deciding here.” Prof. Nzelibe's advocacy is indeed a beacon -- not only to her clients, but to her students and colleagues.

#NLawProud of this fantastic profile of Professor Uzoamaka Emeka Nzelibe and her work with young immigrants in Northwestern Magazine.

02/22/2019
www.law.northwestern.edu

In 1994, 17yo Anthony got in a fight with another teenager. He was sent to adult prison, where he might have served 3.5 years -- but due to inadequate care at IDOC and supermax solitary confinement conditions, Anthony was charged with many more offenses for institutional behavior that spiraled into a 108-year sentence.

This week, Director Julie Biehl circulated an interview with CFJC's Scott Main (who began representing Anthony in 2010) about the long legal road home for Anthony, who was released last year - including the advocacy he received from attorneys Alison Flaum and Jennifer Soble and social worker Marjorie Moss and her students.

Anthony's story is difficult - and so important. Please take a few moments to read:
http://www.law.northwestern.edu/legalclinic/cfjc/documents/scottmainanthonygay.pdf

What is the situation actually like for people seeking asylum at a port of entry on the US-Mexico border? Find out in th...
02/21/2019
CFJC Immigration Attorneys and Students Help Asylum-Seekers at the Border

What is the situation actually like for people seeking asylum at a port of entry on the US-Mexico border?

Find out in this new account of a winter break student volunteer trip led by CFJC's Uzoamaka Nzlibe, Amy Martin, and Laura Buttitta.

http://www.law.northwestern.edu/about/news/newsdisplay.cfm?ID=940&fbclid=IwAR0jza1HboHidVkYV40No6WjdlBDGFLvTTEMmVDoUJ-PBiWZVbny0UayIr4

In the final days of winter break, Children and Family Justice Center attorneys Uzoamaka Emeka Nzelibe, clinical associate professor of law, and Amy Martin, Immigration Law Fellow, led a dozen Northwestern Law students to Tijuana, Mexico where they spent three days volunteering with Al Otro Lado, a....

We're excited for next week...help us to plan for you - register today!  https://jhavsymposium.eventbrite.com/
10/22/2018

We're excited for next week...help us to plan for you - register today!

https://jhavsymposium.eventbrite.com/

We are proud to join Cabrini Green Legal Aid to present an all-day special event on October 30, discussing the criminalization of race, gender & youth! Please join us -- registration* is free: https://jhavsymposium.eventbrite.com/

* CLE/CEU fees, if any, will be nominal

We are proud to join Cabrini Green Legal Aid to present an all-day special event on October 30, discussing the criminali...
10/10/2018

We are proud to join Cabrini Green Legal Aid to present an all-day special event on October 30, discussing the criminalization of race, gender & youth! Please join us -- registration* is free: https://jhavsymposium.eventbrite.com/

* CLE/CEU fees, if any, will be nominal

Cabrini Green Legal Aid
09/20/2018

Cabrini Green Legal Aid

We are excited to announce CGLA, in partnership with Northwestern's Children and Family Justice Center will host our first symposium focused on race, gender & youth in the criminal justice system.
Register here: http://bit.ly/2NqycGB

08/30/2018
Northwestern Law

Northwestern Law

Immigration attorney and Professor Uzoamaka Nzelibe explains aslyum law, the refugee definition, and why there's so much misinformation about immigration.

08/20/2018
www.law.northwestern.edu

NEW: “Generations of young people in the City of Chicago have been subject to unconstitutional, undesirable, ineffective, and destabilizing police practices, many of which continue today."

NEW: insights from Prof. Uzoamaka Nzelibe into an urgent immigration crisis less visible to the public than family separ...
08/10/2018
Commentary: How White House is rewriting law to curb asylum seekers

NEW: insights from Prof. Uzoamaka Nzelibe into an urgent immigration crisis less visible to the public than family separation: the arbitrary denial of asylum claims made by Central Americans, primarily women and children facing extreme violence.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nzelibe-asylum-commentary/commentary-how-the-white-house-is-rewriting-the-law-to-curb-asylum-seekers-idUSKBN1KU26E

President Donald Trump wants to end asylum for Central Americans to keep his campaign promise of halting immigration along the southwest U.S. border. Yet that goal runs afoul of U.S. immigration law, which allows people to enter the United States to seek asylum if they are at a U.S. port of entry or...

➡️ IL young people tried as adults don't appear in front of a parole board for a release review based on rehabilitation....
06/04/2018
Danville murderer among those whose sentences are getting second look

➡️ IL young people tried as adults don't appear in front of a parole board for a release review based on rehabilitation. ⬅️

Shobha Mahadev contributes this important context to resentencing hearings: "When we sentence that person in what probably is the most awful, terrible moment in their life, we can't know what's going to happen to that person five, 10, 20 years later when they grow up. ... These cases represent an opportunity that hasn't existed in a long time — to look at someone later in life and ask, who did they become and have they done what we expect of children, which is to grow and mature."

In 1996, the judge who ordered then-17-year-old Brian Pruitt to spend life in prison without parole says he was never comfortable with the only sentencing available at the time. Now, following two Supreme Court rulings deeming that penalty too harsh, Pruitt awaits to be resentenced for the brutal mu...

In a new Sports Illustrated article, CFJC's Carolyn Frazier adds critical dimension to one of sports' most sensationaliz...
05/21/2018
He's one of college baseball's best pitchers. He's also an admitted juvenile sex offender.

In a new Sports Illustrated article, CFJC's Carolyn Frazier adds critical dimension to one of sports' most sensationalized stories: "[I]t's O.K. for us to ask, 'How do we think about a sexual offender who has been moving on?' It's O.K. to care about that kid too."

He's one of the best college pitchers, a first-round draft talent—and an admitted juvenile sex offender whose crime, if not for a legal glitch, may have stayed secret forever. Watching Luke Heimlich pitch stirs wonder and outrage—and questions about guilt, forgiveness and second chances.

We are all so proud of our dedicated colleagues, students, and alumni! Three cheers for Shobha and Scott!
05/03/2018

We are all so proud of our dedicated colleagues, students, and alumni! Three cheers for Shobha and Scott!

The Children and Family Justice Center's Shobha Mahadev and Scott Main were honored yesterday by the Clinical Legal Education Association for their years of work on the issue of juvenile life without parole. Congratulations to Shobha, Scott, and the CFJC!
http://www.law.northwestern.edu/legalclinic/cfjc/projects/advocacy/sentencing/

James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy
04/11/2018
James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy

James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy

A report released last month by Northwestern Law Bluhm Legal Clinic's Children and Family Justice Center: "Before spending a single dollar on education, mental health care, or substance abuse treatment for youth in prison, Illinois annually devotes $187,765 per youth to operate its five youth prisons. In Illinois, state tax dollars devoted to juvenile justice are primarily spent to incarcerate - not rehabilitate - young people... Youth incarceration is the costliest response to delinquency – in upfront costs, hidden costs, youth outcomes, and societal costs... Even for high-risk youth, the costs of the choice to imprison outstrip other, less damaging approaches.”

Why is youth incarceration so expensive? Because it drives resources to the demands of the prison structure itself, not ...
04/10/2018

Why is youth incarceration so expensive? Because it drives resources to the demands of the prison structure itself, not youth needs. Better outcomes and wiser investments are needed.

Learn more in the latest issue of our Community Safety series:http://www.law.northwestern.edu/legalclinic/cfjc/documents/communitysafetymarch.pdf

In a new Sun-Times op-ed, CFJC's Stephanie Kollmann explains the wide sweep of mislabeled legislation and demonstrates a...
03/16/2018
Rahm's anti-carjacking bill is unfair, being falsely sold and won't work

In a new Sun-Times op-ed, CFJC's Stephanie Kollmann explains the wide sweep of mislabeled legislation and demonstrates a few errors in assuming harsher penalties will slow violent crime.

State lawmakers should stop chasing rabbits whenever the mayor claims, without proof, that a particular crime requires a new “tool” for the police.

We LOVE this piece (featuring Prof  Uzoamaka Nzelibe) that makes complex immigration laws accessible and shows their imp...
02/02/2018
Who Would Trump's Wall Allegedly Prevent From Crossing The Border?

We LOVE this piece (featuring Prof Uzoamaka Nzelibe) that makes complex immigration laws accessible and shows their impact on real people, especially children. The written article is excellent, but we recommend the video for its helpful visuals...we learned a few things, and think you might too!

https://www.newsy.com/stories/who-are-the-migrants-crossing-the-southern-border/

While the number of thwarted crossings hit a 17-year low after President Donald Trump's inauguration, it has now increased for eight straight months.

The first issue of our new series is now out!   IL's youth prisons have made some big (and some not so big) changes sinc...
01/31/2018

The first issue of our new series is now out! IL's youth prisons have made some big (and some not so big) changes since the department was founded in 2006. Does the data support or debunk your pet theory about how things used to be vs. how they are now? Check it out and let us know! http://www.law.northwestern.edu/legalclinic/cfjc/documents/CFJC%20Youth%20Prison%20Brief%20Vol%201%20FINAL.pdf

Our hearts are with Jaime, his mother, and their family as they celebrate his return home! We are grateful to the Illino...
01/19/2018
Man convicted of double murder as juvenile is freed after 21 years in prison

Our hearts are with Jaime, his mother, and their family as they celebrate his return home! We are grateful to the Illinois Torture Relief Commission, the Conviction Integrity Unit of Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, and Judge Gamboney for their consideration of the evidence. We thank all of our students, alumni, and partners who have worked for Jaime's freedom, and with joy and relief, we return to the matter of clearing his name.

A man who was convicted as a juvenile of two murders was ordered freed from custody after spending more than half of his life in prison.

“The degree of involvement in criminal activities is not usually a factor of inclusion in these databases,” Kollmann say...
01/16/2018
How Gang Policing Is Criminalizing Whole Communities

“The degree of involvement in criminal activities is not usually a factor of inclusion in these databases,” Kollmann says, pointing out that inclusion in a database generally long outlasts criminal involvement, “because there’s no clear guidelines as to how someone gets put into the database..."

While the Ceasefire model of policing looks progressive, its reliance on gang indictments is anything but.

12/20/2017

Warmest holiday wishes to all of you. Thank you for the support you have shown young people this year!

It's not too late to brighten the holidays for youth locked away from their families...our two Amazon Wishlists are in the comments:

ICYMI, you can still tune in here to the discussion of Addolfo Davis' compelling case and hear all of Shobha Mahadev's e...
09/27/2017
Restore Justice Illinois

ICYMI, you can still tune in here to the discussion of Addolfo Davis' compelling case and hear all of Shobha Mahadev's excellent analysis (~8:30 mark) of where we are --and where we should be headed-- in terms of sentencing for young people.

What's next for juveniles serving extreme sentences in Illinois? WBEZ's Morning Shift discusses with Shobha Mahadev of the Children and Family Justice Center.

BREAKING: Reforms to Illinois juvenile expungement and record confidentiality were signed into law today! We are excited...
08/24/2017

BREAKING: Reforms to Illinois juvenile expungement and record confidentiality were signed into law today! We are excited to see how this will help our clients -- and many other young people around the state.

(Image: excerpt, Illinois Justice Project press release https://goo.gl/QHFES)

Happy Friday, friends -- with apologies for the pun, we're pleased to share this week's Common sense: “What we need is a...
08/18/2017
Common: Our criminal justice system needs an overhaul

Happy Friday, friends -- with apologies for the pun, we're pleased to share this week's Common sense:

“What we need is a criminal justice reform that eliminates life without parole sentences for juveniles and includes bail reform and reductions in harsh sentences for juveniles, and gives kids the chance to expunge their criminal records.”

Time to look at prisoners as human beings and eliminate life sentences for young offenders

ICYMI: CFJC alum Heather Renwick, Legal Director at the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, has a fantastic guest...
08/09/2017
Sentencing Law and Policy: Guest post: "It’s Time to End Life without Parole for Children in the United States"

ICYMI: CFJC alum Heather Renwick, Legal Director at the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, has a fantastic guest post about ending juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) over at the Sentencing Law and Policy blog (co-authored with Harvard's Fair Punishment Project's Rob Smith)!

I recently received a kind request to publish here a commentary authored by Rob Smith and Heather Renwick. Rob is the Executive Director of the Fair Punishment Project at Harvard Law School, and Heather is Legal Director at the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth in Washington DC. Here is wh...

Northwestern Law
06/20/2017
Northwestern Law

Northwestern Law

Professor Uzoamaka Nzelibe fights for youth who've been forced to flee their home countries. She shares her story and how we can all stand #WithRefugees. #WorldRefugeeDay

In the Chicago Sun-Times, CFJC Director Julie Biehl explains the urgency of current legislation expanding juvenile recor...
06/07/2017
How to make sure those stupid teenage antics don't follow you for life

In the Chicago Sun-Times, CFJC Director Julie Biehl explains the urgency of current legislation expanding juvenile record protections in Illinois - where only 3 of every 1,000 juvenile arrests are being expunged. http://chicago.suntimes.com/columnists/how-to-make-sure-those-stupid-teenage-antics-dont-follow-you-for-life/

Illinois has one of the worst track records in the country for keeping juvenile justice records private and for helping youth clear their records.

In today's Chicago Sun-Times, CFJC's Stephanie Kollmann explains that the "heat list" being used to justify harsher pena...
05/17/2017
An enormous list of names does nothing to combat Chicago crime

In today's Chicago Sun-Times, CFJC's Stephanie Kollmann explains that the "heat list" being used to justify harsher penalties seems to assign elevated risk scores to 30% of Chicago men under 50 - a fact which should concern us all. http://chicago.suntimes.com/columnists/an-enormous-list-of-names-does-nothing-to-combat-chicago-crime/

There are ways we can do better, and they include using public money to build up the people of Chicago, not the systems that surveil them.

We were honored to host today's announcement of new legislation offering additional confidentiality and expungement prot...
03/13/2017
Proposed Bill Looks To Reform Juvenile Justice System

We were honored to host today's announcement of new legislation offering additional confidentiality and expungement protections for juvenile records! In the attached story, CFJC's Carolyn Frazier discusses the importance of the issue to young people in Illinois, where only 3 of every 1,000 youth arrests are expunged.

A new bill, expected to be introduced in the next couple weeks can make it easier to get juvenile arrest records expunged in Illinois.

36 HOURS left to buy discount tickets and come out a winner* -- we're looking forward to celebrating with you! http://cf...
02/27/2017

36 HOURS left to buy discount tickets and come out a winner* -- we're looking forward to celebrating with you! http://cfjcanniversarybenefit.bpt.me/

* Those savings can score you a raffle ticket for Hamilton seats!

We are excited to invite you to our 25th Anniversary celebration! If you haven't received your save-the-date yet, please let us know that you would like to join our email list.

Specially-priced early bird tickets are now available, for a limited time: http://cfjcanniversarybenefit.bpt.me/

Address

375 E Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL
60611-3069

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00
Saturday 09:00 - 17:00
Sunday 09:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(312) 503-8576

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Comments

You know I put you on my page,because I am praying that by hearing somwe of what you do will really make a change. Anyone with a heart can see more then 10,000 children a year a removed. Those of us who cannot afford ten grand before a lwyer will look at an affidavit ,loose by default . Default of having that kind of money. So please i pray you help us,and we can help othersd.