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CLS's Youth Justice Project Nationally Recognized by the ABA

CLS's Youth Justice Project Nationally Recognized by the ABA

Community Legal Services of Philadelphia’s (CLS) Youth Justice Project (YJP) has just received national recognition by being named a model program by the American Bar Association Homeless Youth Legal Network. CLS’s YJP was one of twelve model programs across the country to receive this honor.

YJP, which CLS formally launched in 2016 and receives funding from the Samuel S. Fels Fund, provides legal representation, advocacy, and community education to help low-income young people ages 16-24. In order to help the most vulnerable youth, YJP staff members prioritize serving youth who have been involved in the child welfare, juvenile or criminal legal systems, or are experiencing homelessness. YJP has a particular focus on helping youth break out of the cycle of homelessness, and conducts monthly legal clinics on-site at Covenant House, a shelter for runaway, trafficked, and homeless youth.

Over the next year, YJP plans to increase the number of outreach sites to include new partners, including sites that serve homeless and/or LGTBQ+ youth. YJP staff members will increase their systemic advocacy work on preventing youth homelessness and removing barriers for youth to leave homelessness. Although these are both elements of the current program, YJP aims to have an even larger impact by expanding the scope of outreach and advocacy to reach more youth. This Fall, YJP will also welcome Whiquitta Tobar, a Stoneleigh Foundation Emerging Leader Fellow, to improve access to civil legal services for young people experiencing homelessness by directly representing these youth, advocating for policy change, and developing new legal practice tools.

The programs recognized by the American Bar Association will document best practices, serve as models for replication, provide technical assistance to emerging programs, and share data on legal barriers and improved outcomes resulting from legal advocacy.

About Community Legal Services, Inc.:

Founded in 1966 by the Philadelphia Bar Association, Community Legal Services (CLS) has provided free civil legal assistance to more than one million low-income Philadelphians. As the City’s oldest and largest legal services program, CLS represented approximately 10,000 clients in the past year. CLS assists clients when they face the threat of losing their homes, incomes, health care, and even their families. CLS attorneys and other staff provide a full range of legal services, from individual representation to administrative advocacy to class action litigation, as well as community education and social work. CLS is nationally recognized as a model legal services program. For more information, contact 215-981-3700 or visit