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. Youth prosecuted as adults face unique challenges, including homelessness, conflicts with their parents, mental health issues, and problems in school. A large number have open family court delinquency cases.
The Adolescent Defense Project uses the Bronx Defenders’ holistic defense model to address the myriad problems faced by these youth. Our team includes two criminal defense attorneys who are specially trained to defend adolescents, a social worker, an immigration attorney and a civil attorney. Together, we work with our young clients to identify the best way to resolve their case and to address any collateral issues they might be facing.
The team of lawyers and advocates in the Adolescent Defense Project also work to develop in-house knowledge and expertise on the systems in which our young clients are involved, 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 the systems that impact our client’s lives, we achieve more sustainable outcomes for our young clients. Our goal is to maximize the benefits of our holistic defense model not only to defend our clients in court, but also to connect them with services to put them on the pathway to success.