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Vulnerable Youth

Children First is a leading member of a growing coalition of advocates that is pushing for more progressive strategies to eliminate the disproportionate representation of Black and Brown children in the dependent and delinquent systems, reduce the number of youth who are removed from their families and placed in secure detention and residential facilities, and provide the services that ensure children who are removed from their homes receive the education, health care, and healing supports they need to return home ready for a lifetime of success.  

Children First successfully advocated for a new set of principles to drive the City of Philadelphia’s approach to placement of any youth in a residential facility including:

  • A high-quality, local continuum of care to support our youth in the least restrictive settings and closer to their communities;
  • A theory of practice that includes trauma-informed models of care; and
  • Preparation for return to the community from placement, including permanent connections to supportive adults, meaningful educational programming, and individualized treatment.

Children First champions the safety and well-being of our children through the following initiatives:

Create an Ombudsperson Office – to provide children and families a safe place to report maltreatment at residential facilities and for those reports to be reliably and transparently investigated.

Review privately-run educational programs at residential facilities – to objectively assess the quality of the educational programs and to establish quality indicators to objectively grade these programs and identify areas for improvement.

Eliminate detentions for identified misdemeanors and technical violations of probation – to abolish unnecessary detentions of youth for minor, non-violent misdemeanors and technical violations of probation that disproportionately impact Black and Brown youth and do not impact community safety.