Youth Justice

Policymakers, Non-Profit Organizations, and Community Members Will Gather to Discuss Best Practices to Dismantle School-to-Jail Track

October 16, 2023

Children’s Defense Fund-California – joined by other local nonprofits that together form the StoryMapping Team – will also discuss the development of their ‘Youthstories.LA’ website at the event

Media Contact:
Yasmine-Imani McMorrin,, CDF-CA Director of Education Equity, 424-326-3824

Los Angeles, CA—Children’s Defense Fund-California has partnered with Art for Healing & Justice Network, the Collective for Liberatory Lawyering, and Youth Justice Coalition – collectively The StoryMapping Team – to stop California’s increasingly alarming school-to-jail track.

On Thursday, October 19th, CDF-CA will host, “Dismantling the School-to-Jail Track”, where youth justice experts, policymakers, and young people will discuss the impact California’s criminal justice system has had on the state’s youth.

Organizers will also discuss the story mapping efforts of their website: The website highlights the stories and wisdom of youth leaders who have been through California’s justice system.

“We are thrilled to share this amazing resource with youth organizers, non-profits, funders, and elected officials,” said CDF-CA Executive Director Thomas Harvey. “Youth Stories LA represents several years of incredible work combining art, writing, legal, and advocacy with dedicated young people in Los Angeles County sharing their devastating experiences with racist school discipline policies and the consequences on them. CDF-CA’s collaborative work to create Youth Stories LA doesn’t end in publishing the website. The next step is to share this advocacy tool far and wide so young people across the state and the country can use it to support campaigns for justice and equity in their own schools.”

The work to develop Youth Stories LA began in 2019 to attempt to hold Los Angeles County Probation Department officials accountable for their part in California’s problematic school-to-jail track system. The StoryMapping Team, the Youth Justice Coalition’s “LOBOS” squad, Public Counsel, and Children’s Defense Fund-California all filed numerous Public Records Act PRA) requests to shed light on LA County’s practice of swapping juvenile offenders out of traditional schools and into alternative ones.

California school districts have many incentives to keep graduation rates high. They can artificially inflate their graduation numbers by pushing students they deem “at risk” to alternative schools where there are fewer resources and college preparatory courses.

After county officials repeatedly blocked the organizations’ requests, Arts for Healing and Justice Network’s (AHJN) youth leaders created school history maps to document the number of schools their youth leaders attended and the reasons why they moved. AHJN youth leaders later interviewed each other to reflect on the lack of support they had in those schools and the overall consequences school instability had on their lives.

Youth Stories LA places the spotlight on the experiences of those young people.

“The CDF-CA Education Equity Team is excited to host community at the Robinson SPACE and center those closest to this issue,” said CDF-CA Education Equity Director Yasmine-Imani McMorrin. “We believe that when we share our stories, we cultivate power, and the potential for change. The school-to-jail track can and will be dismantled as we work together to ensure our young people have what they need to thrive.”

When: Thursday, October 19, 2023
4:30—6:30 p.m.

Where: 4308 Burns Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90029

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About Children’s Defense Fund
Celebrating 50 years in 2023, Children’s Defense Fund envisions a nation where marginalized children flourish, leaders prioritize their well-being, and communities wield the power to ensure they thrive. The only national, multi-issue advocacy organization working at the intersection of child well-being and racial justice, CDF advances the well-being of America’s most diverse generation, the 74 million children and youth under the age of 18 and 30 million young adults under the age of 25. CDF’s grassroots movements in marginalized communities build power for child-centered public policy, informed by racial equity and the lived experience of children and youth. Its renowned CDF Freedom Schools® program is conducted in nearly 100 cities across 30 states and territories. Learn more at