Youth Justice Board


We are now accepting applications for the 2017-18 program! Our application deadline has been extended until Friday, July 28thYou can complete the application online here. If you’d like to request hard copies of the application, please send an email with your mailing address to Good luck!

Founded in 2004, the Youth Justice Board is an after-school program that brings together young people to study and propose solutions to the public safety challenges that most affect them. Board members serve as a credible voice for youth in the public debate about juvenile justice policy in New York City, providing decision-makers with substantive input from this historically underrepresented group. Each program cycle, a team of 15 to 20 New York City teenagers studies an important issue affecting young people in the city. Participants present their recommendations to key policymakers and then partner with local stakeholders to implement their ideas and make a lasting impact on local policies. Along the way, they participate in intensive training in research and critical thinking, developing skills and gaining leadership experience.

During the 2016-17 school year, members examined the intersection between youth homelessness and the justice system in New York City in order to identify opportunities to better support homeless youth, reduce their interactions with the justice system, and prevent homelessness in the future. The Board’s new report, Homeless Not Hopeless, presents the Board’s findings and recommendations on this topic. Recommendations in the report include policy changes to improve diversion programs and access to housing for homeless youth, and to increase support for LGBTQ youth in foster care.

The Youth Justice Board’s previous reports include:

Want to learn more? Watch a video about the Youth Justice Board made by Columbia Teachers College’s Education Lab.

How It Works

Recruitment: Members are selected through a competitive process from a large applicant pool. Criteria for selection include interest in the topic, commitment to working on a long-term project, and willingness to work as part of a team. The Board represents the diversity of New York City, and includes a wide range of skills and perspectives.

Training: Members receive intensive training, beginning with a weekend retreat in upstate New York where members participate in team-building activities and start exploring the selected topic. Later training covers research methods, consensus building, listening and interviewing skills, public speaking, and an introduction to policymaking in New York City.

Fieldwork: The Youth Justice Board conducts interviews and focus groups with a variety of stakeholders including public officials, professionals in the field, community members, advocates, and youth affected by the issue.  Past interview subjects have included New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Chief Administrative Judge of New York City Family Court, the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, the Mayor’s Office of the Criminal Justice Coordinator, the New York City Law Department, and the Legal Aid Society

Policy Development: The Board’s research culminates in the development of proposals and recommendations for policymakers and officials. The Board issues a final report and holds a series of meetings to present its policy recommendations directly to relevant officials and policymakers. Past presentations have been made to the Chancellor of the Department of Education, the New York City Criminal Justice Coordinator’s Office, the New York City Council, the New York State Assembly, the New York State Judicial Training Institute and the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development.

Taking Action: After publishing its report, the Board develops and executes strategies to facilitate the implementation of their recommendations. Strategies have included advocating for their ideas directly with key agencies, designing and implementing pilot initiatives, developing materials to assist other youth, and building partnerships with other organizations addressing the same topic.

Alumni Activities: The program works with and supports members after they graduate from the Youth Justice Board. Many alumni continue to advocate for the implementation of the Board’s recommendations. In addition, alumni take on leadership positions in their schools, intern with related organizations, and pursue civic-minded activities in their communities.

Next Move NYC: The Youth Justice Board collaborated to create, a website designed to help disconnected young people achieve their goals. It offers users links to education, social services, and job training. Next Move NYC is also optimized for mobile phone use. 

Sustainable Strategies for Youth Advisory Boards: A Symposium on Youth Engagement

In September 2015, the Center for Court Innovation and Coro New York Leadership Center hosted Sustainable Strategies, a one-day summit for facilitators and conveners of youth advisory boards in New York City. This event focused on the role of youth-led policy programs in spearheading important changes in the city. Representatives from 11 organizations discussed successes, challenges, and strategies used to meaningfully engage young people and elevate their voices in policy discussions through youth advisory boards. To learn more about the highlights of the event, click here

Featured Research


Learn more about the 2016-18 Youth Justice Board

Learn more about the 2016-18 Youth Justice Board

Description: To learn more how the Youth Justice Board works, the issue we’re studying this program cycle, and what our impact has been, please read this introduction. If you have any questions or want to support our work, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at


Getting to Know YOUth

Getting to Know YOUth

In partnership with the New York City Police Department, the 2015-16 Youth Justice Board created this short video to increase understanding, cooperation, and trust between law enforcement and youth, and promote stronger police-community relationships.


Sustainability Strategies for Youth Advisory Boards: A Podcast on Youth Engagement

Sustainability Strategies for Youth Advisory Boards: A Podcast on Youth Engagement

This podcast presents highlights from Sustainable Strategies, a one-day event organized by the Center for Court Innovation and Coro New York Leadership Center in September 2015. Representatives from 11 organizations discussed successes, challenges, and strategies used to meaningfully engage young people and elevate their voices in policy discussions through youth advisory boards. Members of youth justice boards also shared their experiences and insights with the group. 

  • New York
  • 520 8th Avenue
  • 18th Floor
  • New York, NY 10018
  • phone: 646.386.3100
  • Syracuse
  • 601 Tully Street
  • Syracuse, NY 13204
  • phone: 315.266.4330
  • London
  • Canterbury Court
    1-3 Brixton Road
  • London, SW9 6DE
  • phone: +44 2076.329.060