The Adolescent Defense Project was designed to provide specialized representation to The Bronx Defenders’ most vulnerable clients: 14-, 15- and 16-year-olds who are being prosecuted as adults. Youths prosecuted as adults face unique challenges, including homelessness, family instability, mental health issues, drug addiction, and lack of appropriate educational services.
The Adolescent Defense Project uses The Bronx Defenders’ holistic defense model to address the myriad problems faced by these young people. The project includes two criminal defense attorneys who are specially trained to defend adolescents and an experienced social worker. The project is part of a larger interdisciplinary team that includes a family defense attorney, immigration attorney, and civil legal advocate. Together, the team works with our young clients to identify the best way to resolve their cases and to address any collateral issues they might be facing.
The members of the Adolescent Defense Project also work to develop in-house knowledge of and expertise in various youth oriented systems , including the Administration for Children’s Services, Office of Children and Family Services, the Department of Education, and Family Court. By combining zealous advocacy with knowledge of these systems, we achieve more sustainable outcomes for our young clients and connect them with services that put them on the pathway to success.