Juvenile Unit


The San Francisco Public Defender’s Juvenile Unit is a national model of holistic representation. Its team of attorneys and social workers/youth advocates represent San Francisco’s diverse community and are dedicated to both the legal and collateral needs of youth and their families.

San Francisco is the only public defender office in the United States with a social worker/youth advocate dedicated solely to the unique needs of girls. The office also has a dedicated reentry attorney/youth advocate team that represents and supports youth who are returning from long-term removal from their homes.
The Public Defender’s Juvenile Unit is part of San Francisco’s award winning Juvenile Collaborative Reentry Team, which provides intense reentry planning and case management services.

The nationally-recognized Legal and Educational Advocacy Program (LEAP) provides school support for clients of the Public Defender’s Juvenile Unit. This innovative program provides legal representation to youth in order to identify educational disabilities and obtain special education services and school placements. It also assists with reducing truancy, tardiness, and absences; preventing suspensions and expulsions; and collaborating with system partners including San Francisco Superior Court, juvenile probation, private attorneys, and community agencies. LEAP also provides educational training for community partners, youth, school staff, and families.

The Juvenile Unit partners with Mobilization for Adolescent Growth in our Communities (MAGIC), neighborhood nonprofits started by the San Francisco Public Defender to address the root causes of youth crime while providing health, educational, and recreational opportunities for youth.