Massachusetts State Agencies

Boston Public Schools

Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee
The Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee is a group of juvenile justice professionals and knowledgeable private citizens appointed by the Governor of Massachusetts in accordance with the requirements of the Federal Juvenile Justice Deliquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). The JJDPA requires a JJAC to set a juvenile justice policy and advise the state on how to meet federal mandates and spend federal moneys in accordance.

Massachusetts Department of Education

Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH)
The mission of the Department of Mental Health is to improve the quality of life for adults with serious and persistent mental illness and children with serious mental illness or severe emotional disturbance.

Massachusetts Department of Social Services (DSS)
The Department of Social Services (DSS) is dedicated to the permanent safety and well-being of children who have been abused or neglected in a family setting.

Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS)
The Department of Youth Services is the juvenile justice agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Their mission is to protect the public, prevent crime by promote positive opportunities for juvenile offenders in DYS custody.


Legal Resources

Boston Bar Association
The BBA works to advance the highest standards of excellence for the legal profession, to facilitate access to justice, and to serve the community at large.

Juvenile Law Center
This Center "insures that child welfare, juvenile justice and other public systems provide vulnerable children with the protection and services they need to become happy, healthy and productive adults." The Center has a special focus on the impact of school-based zero-tolerance policies on children and offers strategies and materials for challenging them.

Massachusetts Bar Association
The Massachusetts Bar Association exists to serve the legal profession and the public by promoting the administration of justice, legal education, professional excellence and respect for the law....

Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services
The Committee for Public Counsel Services is a fifteen-member body established by Chapter 211D of the Massachusetts General Laws to oversee the provision of legal representation to indigent persons in the Commonwealth.

Parents, advocates, educators, and attorneys come to Wrightslaw for accurate, up-to-date information about special education law and advocacy for children with disabilities.

Youth Law Center
This is a non-profit, public interest law office that works to protect abused and at-risk children. Over the course of its history, the Youth Law Center has brought about extensive changes and improvements in conditions and services for hundreds of thousands of children throughout the country. The Center's staff attorneys are widely recognized as leading legal advocates in children's law. Staff attorneys work with legal services attorneys, children's advocates, service providers and private lawyers serving the indigent to support their work on behalf of poor children. Our services include consultation, technical assistance, the provision of written materials and co-counseling selected cases affecting large numbers of children.

Massachusetts Advocacy Organizations

The Center for Law and Education
The Center for Law and Education (CLE) strives to make the right of all students to quality education a reality throughout the nation and to help enable communities to address their own public education problems effectively, with an emphasis on assistance to low-income students and communities.

Citizens For Juvenile Justice
An organization that helps improve the Massachusetts juvenile justice system through advocacy, public education and by promoting public safety with evidence-based interventions.

Massachusetts Advocates for Children
The Masssachusetts Advocacy Center's (MAC's) mission is to improve living conditions and life opportunities for the children of the Commonwealth.

Alternative Programming Options for Youth

The Center for Young Women's Development
This organization is committed to the development of young women who are dedicated to becoming upstanding members of their communities.

National Resources

American Bar Association Juvenile Justice Center The goal of the Juvenile Justice Center is to advance the juvenile defense bar through training, technical assistance, information dissemination and advocacy.

Amnesty International Amnesty International (AI) is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights. The JJC has linked "The Rest of their Lives: Life without Parole for Child Offenders in the U.S." to our site to raise awareness for the use of the sentence of life without parole in Massachusetts and elsewhere in the U.S. According to this report, 60 people in Massachusetts are serving life terms for offenses committed as juveniles. 

The Annie E. Casey Foundation The Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) has worked to build better futures for disadvantaged children and their families in the United States. The primary mission of the Foundation is to foster public policies, human service reforms, and community supports that more effectively meet the needs of today's vulnerable children and families.

Building Blocks for Youth Building Blocks for Youth is an alliance of children's advocates, researchers, law enforcement professionals and community organizers that seeks to protect minority youth in the justice system and promote rational and effective justice policies.

Center for Adolescent Health and the Law CAH&L supports laws and policies that promote the health of adolescents and their access to comprehensive health care. The Center conducts research, analyzes laws and policies, prepares and disseminates publications, provides training and technical assistance, and engages in advocacy. The Center’s work addresses a broad range of issues influencing the financing, delivery, and utilization of comprehensive health services for adolescents.

The Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice CJCJ is a private non-profit organization whose mission is to reduce society's reliance on the use of incarceration as a solution to social problems. The Center offers helpful strategies for dealing with the media.

Child Welfare League of America The CWLA is the oldest and largest national nonprofit organization developing and promoting policies and programs to protect America's children and strengthen America's families.

Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative This Initiative seeks to demonstrate that jurisdictions can establish more effective and efficient systems to accomplish the purposes of juvenile detention. Their objectives are: to reduce the number of children unnecessarily or inappropriately detained; to minimize the number of youth who fail to appear in court or reoffend pending adjudication; to reduce public school funds toward successful reform strategies; and to improve the conditions of refinement.

Juvenile Justice News This provides the latest articles related to delinquency cases, juvenile detention, and other topics related to juvenile justice.

MacArthur Foundation Research Network This foundation focuses their research on the juvenile justice system.

National Center for Juvenile Justice The Center has been a resource for independent and original research on topics related directly and indirectly to the field of juvenile justice.

National Center on Sexual Behavior of Youth The National Center on Sexual Behavior of Youth is a national training and technical assistance center developed by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.The Center is designed to provide states, territories, and the District of Columbia with information and support through national training and technical assistance in the management of children with sexual behavior problems and adolescent sex offenders.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network The mission of the NCTSN is to raise the standard of care and improve access to services for traumatized children, their families and communities throughout the United States.

National Council Of Juvenile And Family Court Judges The NCJFCJ is dedicated to serving the nation's children and families by improving the courts of juvenile and family jurisdictions. Our mission is to better the justice system through education and applied research and improve the juvenile court system.

National Juvenile Defender Center This Center aims to build the capacity of the juvenile defense bar and improve access to counsel and the quality of representation for children in the justice system. It gives defense attorneys a more permanent capacity to address issues, improve advocacy skills, build partnerships, exchange information and participate in national debate over juvenile crime.

National Mental Health Association This is the country’s oldest and largest non-profit organization addressing all aspects of mental health and mental illness.

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention This Office provides national leadership, coordination, and resources to prevent and respond to juvenile delinquency and victimization. OJJDP accomplishes this by supporting state and local communities in their efforts to develop and implement effective programs.

The W. Haywood Burns Institute This is the leading national organization working to reduce the over-representation of youth of color in the juvenile justice system