News & Updates

Pacific Juvenile Defender Center Seeks Director of Capacity Building and Training
May 9, 2024 | Erin Stewart

For the past 25 years, PJDC has been driven by a vision that all young people in California should have access to outstanding legal representation, receive fair and equitable treatment in the courts, and be provided with credible, trauma-informed, and community-supported alternatives to incarceration that foster success. Our training program is a critical function of how we achieve our mission, and to that end, we train hundreds of attorneys, social workers and policy advocates every year. The Capacity Building and Training Director will work collaboratively with the PJDC team to support and grow California’s community of youth defenders, strengthen youth defense practice and policy, and incorporate youth rights and racial justice throughout our programmatic work. The Capacity Building and Training Director will work specifically on two grant-based programs focused on achieving the vision of DJJ realignment, including decreasing the number of youth transferred to adult court, decreasing racial and ethnic disparities, and building the capacity of lawyers and community to make sure that youth are provided with real alternatives to long-term detention. Part of this work will be statewide, and part of this work will focus specifically in San Joaquin and Riverside counties. The Capacity Building and Training Director will report to the Executive Director.

The Capacity Building and Training Director will be responsible for:
• Developing, coordinating, and facilitating training for youth defenders and other juvenile court professionals to strengthen youth defense, with a specific focus on the statutes that govern California’s landmark bills SB823 and SB92.
• Drafting and editing publications and written materials to support the youth defender community and work towards transformation of the juvenile legal system.
• Researching and writing on legal issues that are the subject of amicus curiae briefs and other policy and litigation strategies.
• Supporting the youth defense community through direct contact with community members, updating content for PJDC’s website, and planning PJDC’s Annual Roundtable and other trainings.
• Providing expertise and case strategy for defenders and social workers seeking technical assistance on emerging issues in youth defense.
• Working with the PJDC team to ensure that PJDC operates with a lens that pursues youth rights, racial justice, and promoting positive outcomes for traditionally marginalized young people.

The Capacity Building and Training Director must:
• Demonstrate commitment to advancing youth rights and interests through a developmental and racial justice lens.
• Possess excellent oral advocacy and presentation skills.
• Possess excellent legal and policy research and writing skills.
• Demonstrate outstanding attention to detail.
• Independently lead projects with minimal supervision and manage multiple projects simultaneously.
• Travel throughout the state, with more frequent travel to Riverside and San Joaquin counties.
• Demonstrate commitment to an inclusive working and learning environment, and carrying out the mission of the organization.

• Demonstrated commitment to and passion for racial and youth justice.
• Licensed attorney with at least three to five years experience in direct representation of youth.
• A comprehensive understanding of the juvenile legal system and related policies and systems.
• Proven ability to work efficiently, timely, and with flexibility in high-pressure situations.
• Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills.

Inclusion and equity are core values of PJDC in advancing its mission. We are committed to building and sustaining an inclusive and equitable working and learning environment. We believe diversity benefits and enriches the development of all PJDC members and ultimately the young people we serve.

Salary: Salary is commensurate with experience, and anticipated to be $120,000 – $130,000/year. This is a grant-based position through April, 2027. The position may become
permanent. Benefits include 4 weeks paid vacation, 18 paid holidays/year (including a week when the office is closed in December), 80 hours of sick leave per year, and a monthly stipend to
cover health insurance.

To apply: Please send your resume and cover letter to with the subject: Capacity Building and Training Director. Writing sample or policy paper optional. PJDC will begin reviewing applications immediately. This posting will remain open until the position is filled, with a priority deadline of June 3rd, 2024.