On October 23rd, National Crittenton President Jeannette Pai-Espinosa moderated the panel discussion, “Supporting Families Post Permanence and Pregnant & Parenting Young People in Care: Family and Youth Perspective” at the eighth Wicked Problems of Child Welfare conference presented by the Children’s Home Society of America and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work’s Jordan Institute for Families.
In Virginia, Black girls are 5.2 times more likely to be suspended than white girls, yet there is a lack of evidence that Black girls misbehave more often. Research also shows Black girls are often punished for minor and subjective offenses like dress code violations, and youth suspended from school in Virginia are more likely to experience adverse academic outcomes.
To address the impact of school discipline on equal access to education for Black girls, students, policymakers, and community leaders from across the state will host a forum on Saturday, co-hosted by Virginia Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy and National Women’s Law Center. National Crittenton is a co-sponsor of the forum.
Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni will deliver opening remarks at the forum. Panelists include Virginia Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, RISE for Youth Executive Director Valerie Slater and RISE student advocate Lux Aghomo; Girls for A Change Girls Action Team leaders Danielle Freeman Jefferson and Solange Oliver; University of Virginia Institute of Education Science pre-doctoral fellow Lauren Mims; and National Women Law Center Campaign and Digital Strategies Manager Nia Evans.
Lux Aghomo is a tenth grader at Richmond Community High School. She is a young activist and a Youth for RISE member. After seeing injustice in her community she was inspired to join
RISE and be a youth member speaking for juvenile justice.
Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy currently represents the Second House District, which contains parts of Prince William and Stafford County. She was the first public defender to ever serve in the Virginia General Assembly and now devotes her time as an attorney advocate representing abused and neglected children in court. Delegate Carroll Foy was also a foster mother for eight years. Because she believes so strongly that no child should be without a nurturing home, she started the Foundation for Foster and Orphan Children, a nonprofit committed to building better futures for orphan and foster children. Additionally, the Delegate was one of the first African-American women to graduate from Virginia Military Institute.
Danielle Freeman Jefferson is a freshman Landscape Architecture student attending North Carolina A&T State University. In the future I will be able to build and redesign communities to mediate housing insecurities in areas that are poverty stricken. I am invested in the social issues
of our society and am committed to lessening their effect for as many people as I am able to. I
will do that through education as well as direct service to communities affected most by mass
incarceration, food and housing insecurities, and social injustice.
Lauren Mims is a doctoral candidate in Educational Psychology: Applied Developmental
Science at the University of Virginia Curry School of Education. Lauren was formerly Assistant
Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans
(WHIEEAA) during the Obama Administration. She was a member of the White House Council
on Women & Girls, the U.S. Department of Education Policy Committee, the U.S. Department
of Education Socioeconomic Diversity Working Group, as well as a member of First Lady
Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Working Group. Lauren is interested in how race and ethnicity
affect psychosocial and academic outcomes in youth, particularly among African American
Solange Oliver is a junior at Meadowbrook High School. I have dedicated my high school
career to my schools Entrepreneurship Academy, and I have learned more about myself in this
field. I found more ways to utilize my space to create social change and progress. One of the
areas of social change that I am mostly passionate about, is advocating for other black girls and
myself. I see myself continuing this passion in my future.
Valerie Slater is an attorney and Executive Director of RISE (Re-Invest in Supportive
Environments) for Youth, where her work leads statewide advocacy for the rights and protection
of justice system involved youth. Valerie’s life work is dedicated to advocacy in its many forms
to preserve and protect our most valuable resource, our youth. She brings to her work an
unwavering commitment to strengthen youth and communities to lead the efforts to realize their
visions for change.
A new interactive data tool from Pew Charitable Trust shows a national problem on a state-by-state level: the incarceration of youth for status offenses and technical violations. Pew shares that “nearly a quarter of the 48,043 juveniles held in residential facilities across the U.S. on a single day in 2015 were confined for status offenses or technical violations of supervision, according to the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement from the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.”
Today National Crittenton president Jeannette Pai-Espinosa issued the following statement in response to New York Times’ October 21 article “‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration“:
National Crittenton president Jeannette Pai-Espinosa published an op-ed today in Juvenile Justice Information Exchange:
“The Trump administration removed the “Girls at Risk” page from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention website, the Sunlight Foundation reported on Oct. 4. It included information about the work of the OJJDP-funded National Girls Initiative (NGI), which has been led in cooperation with OJJDP by the organization I direct, National Crittenton.
Sunlight Foundation discovered the page had been taken down by July — well before the deadline for OJJDP to offer us the third-year renewal of our NGI cooperative agreement. Receiving no formal notice, our agreement simply ended on Sept. 30, leaving us to conclude that the National Girls Initiative would not be continued.
National Crittenton has served as the content expert for NGI since 2013 and took over leadership in 2016. We began this work under the Obama administration and helped develop the 2015 policy guidance “Girls and the Juvenile Justice System,” which called for the juvenile justice system to understand the drivers of girls into the system; to reduce the impact of intersectional disparities on girls in and at risk of entering the system, and to reduce reliance on confinement for girls who pose no risk to public safety. The guidance served to support states in understanding and better addressing the needs of girls.
This policy guidance, identifying improving responses to girls as “an urgent need,” was taken down by this current administration for review before or by February. But months later it has neither been rescinded nor reinstated. No official decision on its status has been announced.”
This International Day of the Girl we’re grappling with distressing developments in our country: two-year-olds in immigration court; teenagers reflecting on witnessing “clear disregard for women’s safety at the highest levels of the government”; and a federal judge declaring the Indian Child Welfare Act unconstitutional. On a day “aiming to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights” we are keeping our focus and energy on the work happening across the country to advance justice for girls.
National Crittenton invites proposals for a national gathering focused on healing, opportunity, and justice for girls and gender nonconforming young people.
We invite proposals for one-hour Innovation in Motion sessions. Sessions can be interactive workshops, presentations, performances, film, panels, or other creative formats. Innovation in Motion sessions are dynamic, interactive sessions that share exciting, creative models and ideas for programming, community organizing, communication, and policy reform from folks’ on-the-ground work in communities. Sessions can range from sharing successful campaign efforts to workshopping a new initiative or idea.
Proposals can be submitted via the form below, or at this link. Proposals are due December 1, 2018.
We have a long history as advocates for young women and girls
Become a Crittenton Advocate for Change
- 135 Stories
- 135 Years
- Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE)
- BOLD Program
- Centering Girls in Systems Change
- Commercial Sex Trafficking
- Foster Care
- Girls at the Margin
- Guest Post
- In Solidarity We Rise
- Juvenile Justice
- National Girls Initiative
- Opportunities for Girls
- Press Release
- Two Generation Approaches
- Young Moms