Youth Advocacy Project

Students will work as youth advocates to support juveniles who are currently, or were previously, incarcerated at Contra Costa County’s juvenile hall. Student work will support the public defenders who represent these juveniles in court.

Throughout the year, students will work one-on-one, or with a fellow Berkeley student, with 1-2 clients to help prepare them for release.  Students will meet with clients while in custody and will further support their clients by helping connect them with community resources that will enable clients to achieve success post-release. While each student’s experience is highly case specific, students can expect to: support the public defender by identifying case needs, help juveniles navigate in-custody education rights, provide re-entry planning, help clients navigate probation violations and provide support for any additional challenges juveniles face while in custody and reentering the community.

Students will develop client interviewing skills and gain valuable experience by spending time at the juvenile facility in Martinez and/or Brentwood. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to accompany their client(s) to their hearings at the Juvenile Court. Observing and testifying in juvenile court provides students with an opportunity to develop a significantly more nuanced understanding of the juvenile justice system in California.  Most importantly, students will have an opportunity to improve the lives of their clients.

Supervision: Students will provide services to clients through YAP under the supervision of attorneys at the Contra Costa County Office of the Public Defender.

Time Commitment: Approx. 15 hours during first semester and 30 hours during second semester.

  1. Early semester group trainings (3 hours)
  2. Bi-monthly (twice a month) client meetings at juvenile hall/Ranch/out of custody and brief memos regarding the meeting to be written and sent to the supervising attorney. Because of the security clearance process, the earliest these meetings will start is November.
  3. Monthly case conference meetings
  4. Attendance of court hearings highly encouraged
  5. Attendance at special events—attorney panel, film screening, juvenile hall tours

For more information, please contact the student leaders at


How To Apply




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