Home News Center YJLI Fellow Sadric Bonner Fights for Parental Access to Information

YJLI Fellow Sadric Bonner Fights for Parental Access to Information

August 31, 2017


Recently, we spoke with Sadric Bonner, 2016-2017 fellow in NJJN's Youth Justice Leadership Institute (YJLI), a year-long program that aims to create a more effective foundation for the juvenile justice reform movement by developing a strong base of well-prepared advocates and organizers who reflect the communities most affected by juvenile justice system practices and policies.  Each fellow must complete a self-designed advocacy project that focuses on systemic change.

Bonner has more than a decade of experience working to improve outcomes for children and families. She joined the University of North Carolina–Greensboro in 2014, where she manages, plans, trains, organizes and directs daily capacity-building services for families with children involved in a juvenile justice behavioral health cross-system collaborative. Bonner also provides facilitation, resource management and support to family partners and state-level personnel on the North Carolina Juvenile Justice Substance Abuse Mental Health Partnership. As the Executive Director of Great Expectations, she connects, educates and informs families of incarcerated youth. In 2016, she was nominated to serve on the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council; she also participates on the state’s Re-entry Task Force, Family Engagement Subcommittee, and the Juvenile Justice Behavioral Health Subcommittee. Bonner holds a bachelor’s in business administration and a master’s degree in public administration from High Point University.

Tell us about your advocacy project?

My advocacy project is to create a state level think tank linking justice-involved youth and their families utilizing digital technology. The think tank exists to reform and advocate for the awareness of parental rights and the challenges of understanding the juvenile justice system.

Unfortunately, parents have to rely heavily on court counselors or probation officers as their primary conduit for information concerning their child’s case. This results in confusion, which prevents parents from staying in the loop, making informed decisions and therefore appropriately advocating for their child’s needs.

I’m advocating for parents to have reasonable online access to their child’s electronic record -- starting with special education for youth in detention. I noted “reasonable,” because of parental abuse and/or attorney client privileges that would prevent a parent from having access.

What are your goals?

My goals are to advocate for parents’ rights to access their children’s records of cross system involvement and to build a collaborative partnership of the many agencies that impact the youth and family’s journey from intake to reentry.

What motivates you to work in JJ reform?

I’m motivated to work in youth justice reform from looking into the eyes of other people’s sons in foster care, special education and the juvenile justice system, all largely African American, who are often times underperforming academically. This reality leads me to put youth of color at the forefront of my youth justice efforts.

What has your experience in the Institute been like?

YJLI has been an awesome catalyst for me to launch my advocacy project. Without the Institute’s national platform, I honestly do not think I would have reached this level of awareness.

Also, I can not move forward without acknowledging my cohorts. I want to thank- Samantha, Ricky, Candace, Joy, Ebony, Josh, Lee and Tiffany who are the most kind, passionate, soulful, honest, straightforward, funny and intelligent justice fighters that this country has birthed.  

Through our multiple interactions, I have been fascinated and honored by the integrity of their work, their dignified self-awareness and their strong desire to do the right thing. I am inspired by their unwavering determination to fight for children and families that are system involved.

Why do you think the Institute is important?

The Institute helps to amplify one’s work by linking individuals in ways a local campaign can not. The Institute instills a sense of camaraderie and unity among cohorts and YJLI alum.

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