Casey Funds Career Opportunities for Young People With Justice System Experience
The Annie E. Casey Foundation has awarded three $100,000 grants to help create paid positions for emerging professionals with juvenile justice experience.
Three youth justice organizations will receive one grant each. They are:
- the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.;
- Impact Justice in Oakland, California; and
- Kentucky Youth Advocates in Louisville, Kentucky.
As part of the solicitation and selection process, Casey partnered with alumni from its Juvenile Justice Youth Advisory Council as well as representatives from Youthprise and Restorative Response Baltimore. The group’s efforts netted 75 strong proposals.
“These grants enable young professionals affected by the juvenile justice system to gain meaningful experience with some of the premier organizations within the field — all while being compensated at a competitive level,” says Imhotep Simba, a program associate with the Foundation’s Juvenile Justice Strategy Group.
Burgundi Allison, the Foundation’s associate director for diversion and prevention, also notes the grants encourage organizations to create and sustain paid career opportunities for youth with direct justice system experience.
At the conclusion of the grant period, the young professionals may remain with their respective organizations independent of Casey funding or seek career opportunities elsewhere.
Meet Casey’s Juvenile Justice Reform Grantees
The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform
The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform is using the grant to hire program coordinator Amiyah Davis, an alumna of Casey’s Juvenile Justice Youth Advisory Council. As program coordinator, Davis will administer certificate programs for juvenile justice practitioners and partners; promote the voices of youth and families; and cultivate partnerships with young people and the organizations that serve them.
Impact Justice is adding research analyst Devontae Springer to its Research and Action Center team.
“I want to help youth deepen their understanding of themselves, their communities and the policies and practices that govern them,” says Springer, who notes that his new role will allow him to grow professionally and personally while applying his skills to make an impact in the world.
As a member of the organization’s Research and Action Center, Springer will work to promote safe and thriving communities by:
- creating fair, safe and effective alternatives that help to reduce the number of people in the formal legal system;
- elevating the standard of care for people in custody; and
- expanding opportunities for people with justice system involvement.
Springer is no stranger to Impact Justice, which developed the first AmeriCorps program exclusively for individuals who were formerly incarcerated. As a mentor for the program, Springer leveraged his experiences to support young people who were returning to their communities from juvenile facilities.
Kentucky Youth Advocates
Kentucky Youth Advocates is welcoming Edward LaGantta, who will gather information and ideas from young people with juvenile justice system experience. This advocacy role will see LaGantta focus on reducing incarceration as well as racial and ethnic disparities to evolve juvenile justice policy.
Kentucky Youth Advocates is part of the Foundation’s KIDS COUNT® network of state-level organizations that provide a community-by-community picture of the well-being of children and families.