Casey Funds Career Opportunities for Young People With Justice System Experience

Posted January 18, 2023, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Black man in dress shirt shakes the hands of another man sittingn across the table from him in an office setting.

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:

  1. the Cen­ter for Juve­nile Jus­tice Reform at George­town Uni­ver­si­ty in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.;
  2. Impact Jus­tice in Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia; and
  3. 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

2023 Juvenile Justice 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

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.

Learn about youth-led juve­nile jus­tice reform projects

Read about a for­mer Casey youth coun­cil member

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