Juvenile Law Center



Philadelphia, PA

Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2020):

Revenue: $4,838,925
Expenses: $3,696,361
Assets: $8,491,813


Grantmaking Organization




Susan Vivian Mangold Esq.

Budget (2022):

Revenue 3,201,607.
Expenses: 3,924,576.
Net Assets: 7,584,212.

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Juvenile Law Center is a left-of-center legal-advocacy nonprofit that focuses on youth interactions with the criminal justice system. Founded in 1975, it is the oldest youth legal advocacy group in the United States, leveraging both legal avenues and media outreach to advance its agenda. Coupled with an emphasis on the idea that “racism pervades the justice system,” much of Juvenile Law Center’s legal advocacy deals with criminal sentencing reduction, as well as overturning youth sex-offense registration requirements. 1

Juvenile Law Center’s website features a “Legal Docket” page highlighting its case interventions (often under the form of amicus briefs) such as its brief in the Masters v PFLAG case in which it argued that the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services investigations of families whose children sought medical transition for gender dysphoria were harmful. 2 In conjunction with the Support Center for Child Advocates, it also hosts webinar training videos for dealing with youth who have intellectual disabilities. 3


“Kids for Cash” Scheme

In 2008, Juvenile Law Center petitioned the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to vacate convictions and expunge the criminal records of hundreds of young people on the grounds that they had been unfairly tried without representation or harshly sentenced by the Luzerne County Juvenile Court. This petition was initially denied but was reconsidered after the federal government alleged that two Luzerne County judges were involved in a scheme with local for-profit juvenile detention centers in which they received kickbacks for sending convicted youth to those facilities. 4

The scheme began in 2000 with attorney Robert J. Powell and his request from Judges Michael Conahan and Mark Ciavarella for aid in developing and construction of a private juvenile detention center. In 2002, Judge Conahan used his oversight of the court budget to remove funding for a state-owned juvenile facility and agreed to provide the new facility with an extra $1.3 million in additional funding, which raised concern from other judges and court officials. County controller Steve Flood leaked details of the state’s audit of the agreement, only to be sued by the developers for violating trade secrets. 5

Judge Ciavarella was later accused of handing out tougher sentences to pack the youth facilities; the number of juveniles he sentenced to detention had doubled from 2001 to 2002. State auditors also pointed out other anomalies, such as identical billing from month-to-month for youth detention services, overbilling concerns, and missed utility payments by the detention centers. Ciavarella and Conahan had also purchased a condominium and yacht together and were allegedly laundering kickback money from the detention centers as rent payments. 6

Judges Ciavarella and Conahan and developers Robert Mericle and Robert Powell were all later convicted or pled guilty to charges ranging from tax evasion and wire fraud to “failure to disclose a felony.” All juvenile convictions handed down by Ciavarella from 2003 to 2008 were overturned, and Juvenile Law Center, in conjunction with the law firm Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller, filed a class action suit on behalf of young people who were affected by the judges’ rulings and actions. 7

Youth Sex Offender Registration

Citing the figure of over 200,000 individuals registered as sex offenders for crimes they committed while they themselves were underage, Juvenile Law Center works to completely abolish youth sex-offender registration. Juvenile Law Center lists an array of reasons for this stance, including the $3 billion annual cost of maintaining the registries and low recidivism of youth offenders. It also cites collateral damage caused by stigma such as increased homelessness, failure to reintegrate into society, and high suicide rates. 9 10

In 2022, Juvenile Law Center published Registering Youth in the Sunshine State, an in-depth examination of Florida’s SORNA laws, which Weiner deemed to be particularly harsh. The report cites a Task Force on Juvenile Sex Offenders, convened in 1995 and again in 2005, which recommended against registering youth on both occasions. 11

Foster Care

Juvenile Law Center’s foster care advocacy work focuses on either reuniting foster kids with their families or placing them in a permanent foster care situation. It also works to smooth the transition to adulthood for former foster children, including a program to help youth take advantage of the Affordable Care Act’s provision of Medicaid health benefits until age 26 for former foster children. 12

In conjunction with Alliance for Children’s Rights, University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy, and Hack4Impact, Juvenile Law Center also developed an app called “Youth Matters: Philly” that directs youth to government assistance programs such as SNAP food supplements, mental health resources, or physical and sexual abuse reporting. 13


Susan Vivian Mangold is the CEO of the Juvenile Law Center. She is a former professor at the University of Buffalo School of Law and the former chair of its Strategic Strength in Civic Engagement and Public Policy initiative. She is also the founder of its Summer Urban Program (formerly the Cambridge Youth Enrichment), and co-founder of the Children’s Rights Project. 14

Vic Wiener is a staff attorney and frequent author for the Juvenile Law Center. Wiener is a former participant of the Skadden Fellowship at Juvenile Law Center, with a focus on ending youth sex-offender registration. 15


  1.  “About” Juvenile Law Center. Accessed June 26, 2023.
  2. “Legal Docket.” Juvenile Law Center. Accessed June 26, 2023.
  3.  “Webinar: Transitional Planning for Youth with Intellectual Disabilities (ID)” Juvenile Law Center. December 15, 2015. Accessed June 26, 2023.
  4. “Luzerne: Kids for Cash Scandal.” Juvenile Law Center. Accessed June 26, 2023.
  5. Urbina, Ian. Despite Red Flags About Judges, a Kickback Scheme Flourished. The New York Times. March 27, 2009. Accessed June 26, 2023.
  6. Urbina, Ian. Despite Red Flags About Judges, a Kickback Scheme Flourished. The New York Times. March 27, 2009. Accessed June 26, 2023.
  7. “Luzerne: Kids for Cash Scandal.” Juvenile Law Center. Accessed June 26, 2023.
  8.  “Sex Offender Registration of Children (SORNA).” Juvenile Law Center. Accessed June 26, 2023.[/note]

    As part of its legal work in this area, Juvenile Law Center helped overturn the Pennsylvania requirement for lifetime sex offender registration in 2014, which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional. It also held a two-day SORNA (Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act) conference in 2020 for other groups working in the same policy area. 2020 also saw the release of Labeled for Life, a state-by-state report examining youth SORNA requirements compiled by Juvenile Law Center fellow Vic Wiener. 8 “Sex Offender Registration of Children (SORNA).” Juvenile Law Center. Accessed June 26, 2023.

  9. Wiener, Vic et al. “Labeled for Life.” Juvenile Law Center. Accessed June 26, 2023. chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/
  10. Wiener, Vic F. “Registering Youth in the Sunshine State.” Juvenile Law Center. Accessed June 26, 2023. chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/
  11.   “Medicaid to 26 for Former Foster Youth.” Juvenile Law Center. Accessed June 26, 2023.
  12.  “About.” Youth Matters Philly. Accessed June 26, 2023.
  13.   “Susan Vivian Mangold, Esq.” Juvenile Law Center. Accessed June 26, 2023.
  14. “Vic Wiener.” Linkedin. Accessed June 26, 2023.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: August - July
  • Tax Exemption Received: October 1, 1975

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2020 Aug Form 990 $4,838,925 $3,696,361 $8,491,813 $1,095,248 N $4,665,460 $37,180 $110,149 $651,823
    2019 Aug Form 990 $3,089,011 $3,394,997 $6,018,596 $340,679 Y $2,586,913 $396,626 $105,472 $425,847 PDF
    2018 Aug Form 990 $2,078,684 $3,371,074 $6,431,223 $457,961 N $1,951,815 $6,397 $120,472 $413,444 PDF
    2017 Aug Form 990 $4,080,402 $3,620,124 $7,397,375 $540,301 N $3,953,564 $1,635 $125,203 $401,402 PDF
    2016 Aug Form 990 $2,926,201 $3,393,492 $6,090,612 $171,230 N $2,459,314 $352,501 $114,386 $409,190 PDF
    2015 Aug Form 990 $3,209,257 $2,841,228 $6,329,019 $278,261 N $3,106,374 $3,627 $99,256 $329,600 PDF
    2014 Aug Form 990 $1,942,820 $2,773,331 $6,035,305 $201,953 N $1,580,459 $240,034 $122,327 $311,875 PDF
    2013 Aug Form 990 $3,746,510 $2,806,862 $6,067,700 $157,658 N $2,768,653 $806,884 $170,973 $155,040 PDF
    2012 Aug Form 990 $2,290,098 $2,986,857 $4,854,365 $181,294 N $2,130,453 $0 $159,645 $147,700 PDF
    2011 Aug Form 990 $4,643,245 $2,901,009 $5,125,595 $141,663 N $4,505,176 $0 $138,069 $143,425 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Juvenile Law Center

    Philadelphia, PA 19103-7412