The Youth Law Center (YLC) is excited to announce that we are seeking a full-time staff attorney to help drive our work on behalf of youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Candidates for this position should have one to eight (1-8) years of experience as a practicing attorney, a current active California bar license or willingness to gain bar admission in California, and an interest in leading a project to improve housing stability and prevent homelessness among vulnerable children and youth impacted by the foster care and juvenile justice systems. Advocacy areas within this position include a variety of issues that impact housing stability, including but not limited to: access to supports and services, including health and mental health, education and work, economic benefits, disability entitlements, connection with family and supportive adults, and overall quality of care concerns.
The staff attorney will be part of a team of attorneys and advocates working in a variety of substantive areas, such as protecting children and youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems from abuse and dangerous conditions in out-of-home care; ensuring that government and other agencies provide support and services (e.g., health, mental health, education) to enable system-involved youth to become healthy and productive adults; and ensuring youth in both systems have individualized, developmentally appropriate parenting as well as connections to families and to their communities.
About YLC’s Advocacy
Attorneys at YLC utilize a variety of traditional and creative advocacy strategies, including policy advocacy; litigation; legislative and administrative/regulatory work; collaborative systems-reform campaigns; public education and media advocacy; legal and non-legal writing; training; and technical assistance. YLC’s advocacy approach is grounded in the belief that those most directly impacted by systems are best positioned to transform them. As advocates, we seek out the spaces and places where we can hear from those young people and their families and offer them the support they need to lift up the vision they have for change. We believe that change comes from deeply listening to young people and the organizations that support them, from helping them to translate their ideas into practice and policy change, and from working in partnership to move forward a new narrative about what’s needed to transform systems.
Our advocacy goals include:
- Ending incarceration of youth in juvenile justice and reimagining new approaches to youth justice
- Ending use of congregate care for youth in foster care and juvenile justice and ensuring youth receive excellent parenting
- Improving access to education, including postsecondary education, for system-involved youth
- Ensuring healthy transitions to adulthood for system-involved youth
- Advocating for improved conditions in foster care and juvenile justice
Attorneys on our legal team also engage in strategic collaboration with our non-attorney advocacy staff who work on a variety of systems-reform efforts, including YLC’s national Quality Parenting Initiative, Just Beginnings program, and California Juvenile Justice Higher Education Project.
Who We’re Looking For
We want to hear from attorneys with a strong commitment to justice for youth in foster care and juvenile justice, experience with foster care, juvenile justice, youth homelessness or a related area, and excitement about a movement-based lawyering approach. More specifically, we’re looking for team members who are able to develop advocacy strategies, communicate effectively within and outside of the YLC team, build partnerships, create high-quality written products, and exercise their advocacy skills in areas including litigation, policy, and training.
People of color and individuals who have lived experience in the child welfare, juvenile justice, or youth homelessness systems are strongly encouraged to apply.
Skills & Experience
The list below represents what we believe to be the most important skills and experience needed for someone to be successful in this position. However, we recognize that women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ folks, and other historically economically marginalized people tend to self-select out of applying for positions if they don’t meet 100% of the listed qualifications. We encourage you to apply if you’re enthusiastic about this role, even if you don’t meet every single criterion on this list:
- California bar licensure or willingness to obtain California bar admission
- One to eight years of experience practicing law, utilizing a variety of advocacy strategies
- Demonstrated ability as an advocate in juvenile justice, child welfare, youth homelessness, or a closely-related field
- Substantive experience and knowledge of civil legal practices impacting youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness, including public benefits, health access (especially legal entitlements related to behavioral health services), housing, foster care entries and extended care, and others.
- Creativity, passion, and vision to challenge the status quo
- Ability to think strategically and analytically and identify policy issues
- Excellent interpersonal, listening, and communication skills, including the ability to facilitate, write persuasively and clearly, communicate effectively with diverse populations, and to build strong partnerships and coalitions
- Experience with and ability to work well with diverse groups of people including families and youth (especially older youth with lived experience) and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace
- Deep commitment to elevating the voices of young people impacted by the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, and the voices of the organizations that work on their behalf
- Capacity to take initiative on identified goals, manage multiple tasks simultaneously, work independently, and meet deadlines
- Desire to be flexible, adapt to varied environments, and work as part of a team
- When public health orders and safety considerations permit, ability to travel regularly for a variety of meetings, events, and other activities
Employment & Benefit Details
- Desired Start Date: Between December 1, 2022 and February 1, 2023
- Status: Full-time, exempt; permanent, depending on continued availability of position funding
- Salary: The approximate salary range for this position is $69,800 to $94,000 annually, commensurate with experience and other relevant factors. All YLC staff are paid using an equitable pay structure which includes regular, planned increases.
- Paid Time Off: YLC offers flexible, unlimited paid vacation to its employees as well as generous accrued paid sick time and 11+ paid holidays annually.
- Benefits: Comprehensive health benefits package (medical, dental, vision, long- and short-term disability, life), plus FSA, Commuter Check, and 401k with employer match options. Health plan premiums are 100% employer-paid for employees and dependents.
- Location: This is a remote, California-based position. If located in the Bay Area, occasional travel to our San Francisco office for team meetings is expected, and reservable work and meeting space in our office will be available. If located outside the Bay Area, infrequent travel to San Francisco for YLC events may be required.
Please submit an application including all of the following required documents:
- Cover letter, explaining your interest in this position, what you believe you bring to YLC’s work, and how your interests and experience are compatible with YLC’s mission and model
- Writing sample
- List of at least three professional references.
Please submit all required documents (either as a single PDF or as separate Word or PDF document attachments) at the time of application. Incomplete applications will not be considered for this position.
Applications should be submitted via email to email@example.com.
Timeline: Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis as received; position is open until filled.
If you have questions about this position or the application process, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that due to the volume of applications we receive, we may not be able to respond to every inquiry. No phone calls about the position, please.
About the Youth Law Center
YLC’s mission is to transform foster care and juvenile justice systems across the nation so every child and youth can thrive. Our goal is to ensure that, whenever a system must intervene in the life of a child, that child will receive the supports, services, and excellent parenting they need to become a flourishing adult. YLC’s specific, actionable, and sustainable advocacy strategies are shaped by the voices of youth and families most impacted by these systems and are informed by research in child development, psychology, behavioral economics, marketing and branding, and adult learning. The YLC team reflects the diverse backgrounds, experiences, and skills needed to make our creative approach to advocacy successful. Find out more about us at ylc.org and qpi4kids.org.