Youth Advocacy Division 

“America’s heavy reliance on juvenile incarceration is unique among the world’s developed nations.”

YAD’s experienced directors, staff attorneys, bar advocate panels, social service and education advocates, together with our administrative staff, are working to challenge and change that scenario in Massachusetts – one case at a time.


The Youth Advocacy Division (YAD) ensures that every child from an indigent family in Massachusetts has access to zealous legal representation that incorporates a Youth Development Approach, resulting in fair treatment in court.  YAD works with each client to achieve both legal and life success.

YAD provides leadership, training, support, attorney mentoring, and oversight to a diverse and collaborative juvenile defense bar across the state. Through individual representation in juvenile delinquent and youthful offender cases, and systemic advocacy, YAD partners with other state agencies, as well as community organizations and local agencies, to work toward creating safer and healthier communities.   In juvenile murder cases, lawyer assignments are usually made from a list of attorneys specially skilled in representing juvenile murder defendants.

Each year, YAD’S staff attorneys and private counsel panels represent thousands of children across the state, providing quality representation to children in all stages of the juvenile justice process, and we do it in a dedicated, caring, and  zealous manner.

In 2011, Massachusetts was awarded the “Champion for Justice” recognition for creating one of the first statewide juvenile defender departments (YAD)  in the country.

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