YOUTH ADVOCACY FOUNDATION
The mission of the Youth Advocacy Foundation (YAF) is to end the school-to-prison pipeline in Massachusetts by ensuring that our state's most vulnerable children receive a quality education through expert legal advocacy. By envisioning a future in which all youth enjoy the full rights and protections of a fair and equitable justice system, YAF works to decrease the risk of chronic court involvement and to increase the chance that young people grow into healthy, thriving adults through zealous legal representation, vibrant community-based services, and equitable access to quality education. YAF's EdLaw Project has been in existence since 2001 and has provided direct representation to over 1,800 children.
The EdLaw Project exists to ensure that the most vulnerable children in Massachusetts - court-involved youth from low-income families, often with disabilities, and predominantly children of color -- have equitable access to a quality education by providing legal representation in matters of school discipline, academic failure and unmet special education needs. EdLaw offers training and support to court-appointed attorneys across the state to help them incorporate education advocacy into their practice. EdLaw attorneys are organized by region and support the 1,000 person statewide juvenile bar that represents the 20-25,000 kids involved in the child welfare or juvenile justice systems. By advancing education advocacy, the EdLaw Project seeks to address one of the root causes of the school-to-prison pipeline: children being pushed out of or failing in school. As a result of the work of the EdLaw attorneys, many children are remaining in school with the services they need to thrive.