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Earlier this week you received the current edition of Centering Girls in Systems Change. Today, we are re-releasing it with changes made only to the opening section. We are doing so because in retrospect we realize that the tone over personalized our characterization of actions taken by the Administration. Whether or not we agree with the characterization is less important than our recognition that the language used may impact efforts to build bridges and find common ground across the wide diversity of constituencies that receive this newsletter. Therefore, in the best interest of girls, young women, and TGNC youth and their families and consistent with our on-going work to operate as a transparent organization we offer this explanation and an updated version of the e-newsletter. 

In Solidarity,


The Real National Emergency
Less than fifteen hours after Congress passed a spending bill without the funds he was seeking to build a border wall President Trump declared a national emergency in order to access funds to build it. In doing so he used language reminiscent of this Presidential campaign promise to build a wall along our southern border. “We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border, and we’re going to do it one way or the other. “It’s an invasion,” he added. “We have an invasion of drugs and criminals coming into our country.”

In reality that nearly 63% of immigrants in ICE custody have not been convicted of any crime. Members of the Senate opposing the move are close to having enough votes to pass a resolution blocking the national emergency, which Trump says he would unequivocally veto. A Texas Civil Rights Project report highlights the real national emergency: that the zero-tolerance policy of separating families never ended and many of these cases have not been reported to courts or Congress. House Democrats have issued subpoenas to three cabinet officials – Kirstjen Nielsen, William P. Barr, and Alex M. Azar II – calling on them to turn over documents relating to detention policies and the child separation policy.

California legislators cited the family separation policy in Assembly Bill 163, which would require group homes and foster care agencies contracting with the Office of Refugee Resettlement to report to the state on the number of unaccompanied minors in their care and their length of stay. Documents from the Department of Human Services reveal “thousands of sexual abuse allegations,” reported by unaccompanied minors in the custody of the U.S. government over the last four years.

Juvenile Justice
Act 4 Juvenile Justice released a new fact sheet prepared by National Crittenton on girls and sexually exploited youth in the juvenile justice system as part of a fact sheet series on the reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. The fact sheet summarizes the impact of new provisions pertaining to girls and sexually exploited youth, including mandatory data collection on pregnant youth, eliminating the shackling of pregnant youth, expanding opportunity for girls’ programming funded under Title II, alternatives to detention for survivors of commercial sexual exploitation, additional expertise around sexual violence on state advisory groups, and youth PROMISE grant funding for programs for pregnant teens and teen parents. However, “to make implementation successful in fiscal year 2020, when the [Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention] Act begins to take effect, states need adequate and effective training and technical support,”and OJJDP has yet to release any clear guidelines on implementation.

Young Women’s Freedom Center’s new report, A Radical Model for Decriminalization, is the product of 100 youth-led interviews with self-identified girls, young women, trans and gender-nonconforming people ages 18-29 in San Francisco who have experienced the juvenile justice, foster care, and/or adult justice system(s). Findings include family histories of incarceration and involvement with Child Protection Services; patterns of extreme housing instability between the ages of 13-17 and 18-21; and an average ACE score of 6.5 among participants. The Vera Institute of Justice released “The State of Justice Reform 2018” taking a look at the progress and setbacks seen over the last year in immigration, opioids, policing, bail, prosecution, jails, youth justice, sentencing, prisons, reentry, and crime victims through a variety of lenses – including racegendersexual orientation, and disability.

In Tennessee, a report from Department of Justice due process monitor, Sandra Simkins, points out continued discrimination against black youth, “persistent transfers to adult court, and a lack of independence for appointed defense lawyers,” despite the fact that the DOJ ended its oversight of Shelby County’s juvenile court last November. In Philadelphia, District Attorney Larry Krasner announced new plans to significantly decrease the number of youth involved in the justice system and change the way they’re treated within the system – including reductions to the conditions placed on probation, reducing the number of youth charged as a adults, and greatly expanding the use of diversion programs. In California, a public-private partnership was approved by the LA Board of Supervisors and will direct $3.2 million to community-based organizations diverting youth from the justice system.

Child Welfare
Girls in the child welfare system are at increased risk of becoming involved with the juvenile justice system, according to “Building a Brighter Future for Youth with Dual Status: A Policy Roadmap,” a new report from the Children’s Partnership, and RFK Children’s Action Corps. While girls are only 20-25% of the general delinquency population, they represent one third to one half of all dual-status youth. 17-year-old Shamellen Henderson, who grew up in foster care and had many brushes with the juvenile justice system, uses her experience to advocate for other dual status youth: “I don’t want them to go through what I went through.”

Oregon is sending its foster youth across state lines to locked psychiatric treatment facilities in neighboring states because Oregon has no room for them. Also in Oregon: a new study from Oregon State University finds that all of the state’s 36 counties are “child care deserts’ – where there is only one child care slot for every three children who need care.”

Children with autism are disproportionately referred to Child Protective Services, according to a new study by Dr. Richard Epstein and Dr. Michael Cull. The study also found that girls with autism “were six times more likely to have substantiated maltreatment allegations than males with autism.”

“Fact sheet: Fostering Successful Youth Transitions in Pennsylvania.”

Alone Without A Home: A National Review of State Laws Affecting Unaccompanied Youth looks at current law in 13 key areas affecting homeless youth. The report finds that many jurisdictions are lagging behind in implementing changes to federal law that strengthen educational access for homeless youth; definitions of unaccompanied youth are not inclusive, developmentally appropriate, or non-judgemental; and punitive approaches to unaccompanied youth continue to be prevalent. A new study in Pediatrics reveals that “disparities for LGBTQ youth are exacerbated when they live in foster care or unstable housing,” this includes poorer school functioning, higher substance use, poorer mental health, and more fights in school.

In New York City, a set of new guidelines will criminalize discrimination based on hair or hairstyle in public, workplaces, and schools, with penalties up to $250,000. The commission is already investigating seven cases. In Madison, Wisconsin, schools are looking for ways to combat racism following five documented incidents in Madison schools where a teacher or substitute used racial slurs in front of a student. The news comes as the district continues to investigate an administrator who is said to have assaulted an 11-year-old black girl who “refused to follow directions.”

A South Dakota bill banning teachers from discussing gender dysphoria in grades kindergarten to seventh grade, was defeated. It is one of four anti-transgender bills proposed this session in South Dakota, one of which remains – HB 1225 would require trans youth to play sex segregated sports according to the sex listed on their birth certificate. In Iowa, a federal district court ruled in favor of a religious group that openly discriminates against LGBTQ students.

Budget cuts are threatening Oakland Unified School District’s restorative justice program, as well its Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program, both of which offer alternatives to punitive and exclusionary discipline policies. Teachers on strike in Oakland due to lack of pay and continued budget cuts have received support from many students: “I know our teachers are doing this for us and I get to be a part of the support system they need to keep the motivation they have going.” The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges released a new report with recommendations on “Collecting Data and Sharing Information to Improve School-Justice Partnerships.”

A newly proposed bill in Oregon would require school districts in the state to adopt suicide prevention policies.

Seventy-percent of sexual assault survivors at the University of Utah never reported their assaults to the school, 25% of whom said they did not report because they didn’t believe anything would be accomplished or that the perpetrator would be held accountable.

It’s happening in plain sight, and we can’t pretend or hide it anymore.”
R. Kelly has been charged with ten counts of sexual abuse in Chicago, after more than two decades of dodging allegations of sexual abuse and harassment. “I’ve come to believe that it is not a betrayal to tell the truth about our abusers, even if they are black men,” writes Lisa VanAllen, who testified against R. Kelly in 2008 and appeared in the docu-series, “Surviving R. Kelly.” An Essence special report focuses on sex trafficking in the black community.

Reproductive Justice
“Fifteen states aren’t complying with Medicaid law regarding abortion,” according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. The Trump administration is finalizing a “domestic gag rule” on Title X family planning program funds, banning providers who receive said funds “from referring patients for abortion services and force abortion providers under the program to physically separate abortion services from other family planning services.” Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced legislation ending “the unique applicability of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 to the District of Columbia,” in a move to protect LGBTQ and reproductive rights in D.C.


  • The Coalition for Juvenile Justice is accepting nominations for their three annual awards, to be presented at the 2019 CJJ Annual Conference. Deadline to submit is March 9, 2019
  • The Center for Law and Social Policy is accepting proposals for their initiative, Policy Advancing Transformation and Healing. Deadline to submit is March 6, 2019
  • The Office on Violence Against Women is accepting applications for a grant program to address youth impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault. Deadline to apply is March 6, 2019
  • The NoVo Foundation is inviting letters of inquiry for The Life Story grants, “a $10 million, 3-year commitment for programs in the U.S that open exit ramps and close on-ramps to commercial sexual exploitation.” Deadline to submit is April 19, 2019.
  • S.O.U.L Sisters Leadership Collective is hiring a development consultant.
  • The Justice Collaborative is launching a volunteer task force to hold district attorneys accountable. Join their research or media amplification teams.
  • The National Juvenile Justice Network is accepting fellow applications for the Youth Justice Leadership Institute. Deadline is April 29, 2019.





“I’m fighting for my voice in every room that I enter and calling that cute is insulting and it’s ignorant, and it means that they don’t get what we’re fighting for. It means that they don’t care and they don’t wish to learn.”

Source: Tokata Iron Eyes, Grantmakers for Girls of Color: Girls Breaking Borders

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