Youth Represent

Youth Represent

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Youth Represent’s mission is to ensure that young people affected by the criminal justice system are afforded every opportunity to reclaim lives of dignity, self-fulfillment, and engagement in their communities. They provide first-rate legal representation and free legal services to young people. They represent families at risk of losing their homes because of criminal accusations and youth facing the threat of being “permanently excluded,” barred from ever returning to their family’s apartment, even just to visit. They also represent the youth who have faced unlawful discrimination at work, as well as those who have had their privacy wrongfully violated by companies conducting criminal background reports. They also represent students at suspension hearings to ensure their rights are protected—and to prevent them from being funneled into the school-to-prison pipeline. They also help youth pursuing college education by providing guidance on application questions about criminal histories, and by counseling them on financial aid eligibility. They provide legal services to young people who themselves are parents so that they and their children can maintain a loving presence in each other’s lives. In order to make sure that young parents are able to manage their financial responsibilities, they also represent them in child support proceedings. Youth represent is able to obtain RAP (Record of arrests and prosecutions) sheets directly from New York State, so that young people avoid the potential trauma of having to go to a local police precinct to be fingerprinted.  They would then counsel youth on how to speak about their criminal history accurately and effectively. They also correct mistakes on RAP sheets caused by administrative oversights that can jeopardize access to housing, jobs, and other opportunities youth need for successful reentry. If a young person has been given a criminal summons or has missed a court date or community service in the past, and is afraid or unsure of what to do next.  Their attorneys use both legal and youth development principles to get the best possible outcomes for their clients.

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