Careers >> Policy Associate - Youth Justice Team
Policy Associate - Youth Justice Team
Title:Policy Associate - Youth Justice Team
Department/State Office:California
Campaign Start Date:09/01/2020
Location:Los Angeles, CA


Job Title: Policy Associate – Youth Justice Team

Mission of the Children’s Defense Fund

The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.

CDF provides a strong, effective and independent voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby or speak for themselves. We pay particular attention to the needs of poor children, children of color and those with disabilities. CDF educates the nation about the needs of children and encourages preventive investments before they get sick, drop out of school, get into trouble or suffer family breakdown.

CDF began in 1973 and is a private, nonprofit organization supported by individual donations, foundation, corporate and government grants.

Mission of the Children's Defense Fund - CA

The Children’s Defense Fund-California (CDF-CA) is the state office of the Children’s Defense Fund, a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for more than 40 years to ensure a level playing field for all children. CDF-CA champions policies and programs that lift children out of poverty, protect them from abuse and neglect, and ensure their access to health care and a quality education. 

Position Summary

The Policy Associate, based in Los Angeles, serves as a member of the Youth Justice team responsible for supporting CDF-CA’s work on juvenile justice reform. The Policy Associate assists in developing and implementing coordinated state and local county-level youth justice policy strategies – in partnership with allies and stakeholders like advocates, youth, researchers, policymakers, other system actors, foundations, and researchers – to ultimately reduce the number of system-involved children and improve the opportunities and the quality of care in facilities for those already in the system. The strategies range from research, public education, policy development and advocacy, media and communications and partnership with organizing and community-based work.

Core Responsibilities

  • Conduct research and data analysis at the direction of the Youth Justice Policy Director to support CDF-CA’s Youth Justice team’s advocacy, coalition-building and leadership development.
  • Participate in the development of strategy and vision for the Youth Justice team and local and statewide coalitions.
  • Support monitoring of youth justice policy and practices at the state and local level and build support for reforms to reduce the number of system-involved youth with a particular focus on local coalitions and local and county agencies tasked with administering juvenile justice regulations and funding in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas, to leverage statewide advocacy and reform.
  • Document and advocate for promising practices and innovations that reduce the number of children in the juvenile justice system and improve outcomes for vulnerable youth, including system-involved youth.
  • Support the development of communications and messaging in collaboration with the Policy Director and relevant partners to advance the Youth Justice policy agenda, including developing op-eds, reports, toolkits, publications, fact sheets, speeches, web materials and events to raise awareness to stakeholders on violence prevention, juvenile justice, and other areas related to the Youth Justice team in partnership with the Communications Team.
  • Support engagement, development and coordination of key stakeholders to support juvenile justice reform, including juvenile justice and child welfare administrators, law enforcement officials, judges, educators, faith leaders, advocates and parents and youth.

Desired Qualifications:

  • Passion for social justice work that empowers youth and communities impacted by mass incarceration.
  • Demonstrated commitment to civil and human rights of children and the mission of CDF-CA.
  • Preference for at least two years of experience in public policy, organizing, or advocacy developing and executing advocacy and legislative campaigns at the local and state level on juvenile justice / mass incarceration issues.
  • An advanced graduate degree in a related field (i.e., social work, public policy, law) strongly preferred, or a BA with at least two years of relevant local and state policy experience.
  • Commitment to diversity; a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstance, and able to work with diverse individuals within the organization and broader community.
  • Excellent verbal and written skills and the ability to synthesize information quickly under pressure.
  • Strong research and analytical skills.
  • Ability to work as part of a collective team and exhibit strong, trauma-informed communication skills.
  • Ability to think strategically about long-term systems change and movement-building.

To apply please submit a cover letter, resume, and writing sample (no more than 10 pages).

The Children's Defense Fund is an Equal Opportunity Employer


This opening is closed and is no longer accepting applications