Just for Kids Law is a UK charity that works with and for children and young people to hold those with power to account and fight for wider reform by providing legal representation and advice, direct advocacy and support, and campaigning to ensure children and young people in the UK have their legal rights and entitlements respected and promoted.
For all children and young people in the UK to have their legal rights and entitlements respected and promoted, and their voices heard and valued.
We exist to work with and for children and young people to hold those with power to account and fight for wider reform.
We do this by providing legal representation and advice, direct advocacy and support, and through strategic litigation, campaigning and equipping others to work for children’s rights.
Our charity objectives:
To promote any charitable purposes for the benefit of the public, particularly children and young people in the UK and abroad, with particular regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, including by advancing the rights and needs of children through:
We help young people navigate their way through challenging times: whether they are facing difficulties at school, mental health, immigration or youth justice issues, are being denied benefits, or are homeless.
Our frontline staff and in-house lawyers work directly with young people to help them navigate their way through challenging times: whether they are facing difficulties at school, mental health, immigration or criminal justice issues, are being denied benefits, or are homeless.
Children and young people rarely come to us with just one problem. Reflecting their individuality and the variety of challenges they face we provide holistic support tailored to their individual needs, backed up by legal support.
We work more broadly to influence policy and change the law through evidence gathering, strategic litigation, lobbying and by involving young people as advocates for change.
Under the Just for Kids Law umbrella there are several different strands to our work: CRAE, Youth Justice Legal Centre, Advocacy Year and Let us Learn.
The strategic litigation team take on legal challenges which they hope will bring about wider changes in law and policy to improve the lives of children and young people, particularly within the criminal justice system but also more broadly.
We challenge public bodies such as central government, local authorities and the police through lobbying, complaints and litigation. We also take challenges in the high court, court of appeal, Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights. We also intervene in relevant cases or provide witness statements to support other’s litigation.
The strategic litigation team works alongside our broader campaigns where we use a combination of tools for social change in addition to the litigation. Especially where we believe greater public awareness of the issue is vital in supporting change. This approach has proved very successful in challenging and changing the law.
Representation in Criminal Proceedings
We believe that representing Children requires skill and expertise to ensure that young people are engaged and able to participate in court proceedings and at the police station. Our lawyers have expert knowledge of the law relating to children and will explore all available options to ensure that children are not criminalised, when this cannot be avoided we take a child-centred approach to case preparation to maximise the opportunity for children and young people to have a voice in the proceedings.
Aika Stephenson (Legal Director) has been practising in the field of Youth Justice for nearly 17 years and has particular expertise in representing children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and those unable to effectively participate in the court process.
J, a 15 year old boy, started coming into contact with the criminal justice system after he was removed from his family into the care of the local authority. Given this background J found it difficult to engage in a positive way with the local authority professionals. He was provided little stability, living in multiple placements in 1 year. J developed a positive relationship with the JfK lawyer representing him in his criminal proceedings. The lawyer worked with him and psychologists and discovered that he had previously undiagnosed ADHD and Autism Spectrum traits. J expressed to his JfK lawyer his frustration with the local authority professionals involved in removing him from his family and their failure to listen to him with regards to his care. Just for Kids Law provided J with an advocate to assist him with communicating with the local authority. J is now engaging with the local authority in a positive way through his advocate and feels that he can constructively take part in decisions about his care. He has not had any new criminal cases.
We help young people challenge exclusions from school and ensure young people receive support for their special educational needs. This could include providing advice and representation in relation to Education, Health and Care Plans and appeals. We can provide representation at Governors body hearings and independent review panels to families in certain geographic areas.
Community Care Law
When young people do no receive adequate support from children’s services, we can work with them to challenge the local authority. We can review the assessments conducted by the local authority to ensure that the young person is receiving the support they are entitled to. This could be help with some where to live; financial support; key worker help; respite and other support the young person may need to achieve their full potential.
The Immigration department is funded by Trust for London to support young people in Redbridge, Barking & Dagenham, Waltham Forest & Newham who are experiencing problems due to their immigration status. The main beneficiaries are children and young people aged 10-21 who require immigration legal support. Other beneficiaries include young people in other areas of London, who we serve by providing strong referral pathways to other organisations. Our Immigration Caseworker helps the young people who access JfKL to have greater understanding of their immigration status and their rights and entitlements. We hope to improve situations, reduce the anxiety and uncertainty for young people around their immigration status through specialist advice and assistance, and help young people to exercise their full legal rights and entitlements through effective legal support.
Our advocates offer tailored, one-to-one support every step of the way
What do we mean by ‘holistic’ support?
We believe that the best way to support young people to reach their potential is to identify and work on all of their needs.
We have a team of advocates who work with young people every day. An advocate supports a young person to make sure their views and wishes are heard and respected. Our advocates offer tailored, one-to-one support every step of the way. This often includes working collaboratively with lawyers to provide young people with a wide range of legal expertise and assistance. This ‘holistic support’ ensures young people get all the help they need.
We work across London with young people aged 16-24 who need support seeking or sustaining education, training, employment and other positive activities.
We recognise that young people who suffer from multiple and complex needs face many barriers which prevent them engaging in opportunities. We help to remove these barriers. We empower each young person to become independent, confident and to reach their full potential.
To do this, we provide regular one-to-one, youth centred support, meeting with young people at locations that are safe and convenient for them.
We assist with: