Every Child
Deserves Hope

We’re a non-profit dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights for children. We advocate for the most vulnerable and victimized children in society through research, public education, grassroots organizing, policy advocacy, and strategic litigation. Learn more about our mission and find out how you can get involved.

Advancing Child Justice Reform

Each year, thousands of children are unfairly prosecuted, sentenced and incarcerated in the adult criminal justice system. They often receive longer sentences, fewer opportunities for education and growth, and are at an increased risk for physical and sexual violence. The vast majority of these children have experienced high levels of early childhood trauma and adverse childhood experiences which is why they ended up in the justice system to begin with. The practice of ignoring child status in the criminal justice system, results in children being condemned to a life of continued abuse, hardship, poor health, lengthy incarceration and even early death. At Human Rights for Kids, we believe there is no such thing as a “throw away” child and we work relentlessly to ensure that every child who comes into conflict with the law is treated in a trauma-informed and age-appropriate manner to promote their growth and re-entry into society so that they may reach their full potential and lead long, healthy and productive lives.

Human Rights for Kids Lawyers consulting and courthouse pillars near Capitol building

Our Approach

Real change requires an ever-expanding coalition. We’ve developed a unique, proven approach we call “Ripples of Hope” that engages policymakers, advocates and system stakeholders to increase protections for vulnerable children across the United States. Through this strategy, we achieve policy reforms in various regions of the country, creating momentum that then translates to wide-scale, systemic change. Learn more about how we’re making a tangible difference.

Our Impact

Since launching in 2017, we’ve measured our work by the impact it makes. Whether we’re helping to introduce bills in state legislatures or Congress or submitting Amicus Briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court, our mantra is simple: turn advocacy into results. We’ve made great strides. You can help us take our work even further.

33

child rights bills introduced in state legislatures and the U.S. Congress

6

new laws enacted to protect children’s human rights

3

briefs we’ve authored and submitted in the U.S. and State Supreme Courts

18

states we’ve worked in

Publications

Judicial Bench Card - Virginia

In 2020 the Virginia General Assembly passed HB 744, requiring judges to consider a child’s exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), early childhood trauma, and involvement in the child welfare system before sentencing a child who has been convicted in adult criminal court. The new law also allows
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Human Rights for Kids Child with hand over mouth and child inside jail cell