Since 2014, the Juvenile and Children’s Advocacy Project of Texas has devoted its energy to passionately advocating for juvenile justice. In 2000, Professor David R. Dow founded the Texas Innocence Network, Texas’ oldest innocence network, at the University of Houston Law Center (UHLC). After decades of representing death penalty clients, Professor Dow recognized the need for juvenile specialization and established the Juvenile and Children’s Advocacy Project (JCAP) at UHLC.
Since then, JCAP has established itself as a leading advocate for juvenile justice in the Houston area through several unique programs. JCAP seeks to reduce juvenile delinquency and improve life outcomes for economically and socially disadvantaged youth through the provision of legal, educational, and social support services.
Through its juvenile record sealing program, JCAP provides free legal services for the sealing of juvenile misdemeanor and felony records. With the assistance of law students, JCAP attorneys have successfully sealed over 400 juvenile records. Through a recently established partnership with Beacon Law, JCAP also provides free expunctions for adult records.
Through JCAP’s juvenile representation program, JCAP defense attorneys work with law students at UHLC to provide Crossover Youth (youth involved in both the foster care system and criminal system) the best defense to their cases, as well as to identify and address issues which may have contributed to the occurrence of the offense and may interfere with rehabilitation.
JCAP also has a youth mentorship program. Through JCAP’s partnership with First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston, JCAP provides individualized mentorship to eighth graders at the Lawson Academy, a charter school in the nearby Third Ward.
JCAP’s newest program, its school discipline initiative, is focused on disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline by providing community outreach and direct representation to juveniles in school disciplinary proceedings, the juvenile justice system, and the criminal justice system for disciplinary infractions in public schools in the Houston area.
To get legal help through any of the above programs, click here.