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Information for Prospective Members

Why Become a Member?

By becoming a member, you demonstrate your commitment to creating a justice system that recognizes the uniqueness of youth and their enormous capacity for change. Working together, we can successfully press for state and federal laws, policies and practices that are fair, equitable and developmentally appropriate for all children, youth and families involved in, or at risk of becoming involved in, the justice system.

Benefits of Membership

By becoming a member, you become a part of the growing movement, gaining access to strategic and substantive assistance such as:

COMMUNITY – Through an active listserv, varied working groups, and an annual forum for members, partners and allies, we provide vehicles for members to share and grow their collective wisdom around strategy, research, and the latest developments in their states.

LEADERSHIP – We provide information and training on substance and strategy. Our Youth Justice Leadership Institute seeks to increase the number of youth justice reform leaders who are people of color, families of system-involved youth, and system-involved youth.

STANDARDS – NJJN circulates policy recommendations and summaries of established standards on which to build reform.

INFORMATION – In addition to this, our e-newsletter and webinars, and publications advance the field of youth justice reform by educating reform advocates, practitioners, and the public.

TOOLS – Through technical assistance, training, teleconferences, talking points and press release templates, we keep reformers equipped with up-to-date information and strategic know-how.

INCLUSION – We involve youth, families and crime victims through our Youth and Family Affinity Group and the Victim Outreach Working Group.

Which Category of Membership Best Suits You?

NJJN looks to build the movement through relationships with state advocacy organization members, state affiliates, Youth Justice Leadership Institute alumni, allies (individuals and organizations), and national partner organizations. Since each group serves a critical role in advancing justice for youth and have different needs, NJJN has created membership categories for each: State Advocacy

Organization Member, Youth Justice Leadership Institute Alumni, Affiliate Member, Allies, and National Partners.

State Advocacy Organization Members

NJJN’s membership is primarily comprised of organizations dedicated to reforming the juvenile justice system through statewide advocacy. To be eligible for state advocacy membership, organizations must meet the following requirements.

State Advocacy Members’ scope of work must:

  • Support NJJN’s nine principles of reform.
    • Be working actively to change policy, and/or have a proven track record in policy change. State Advocacy Members can work on these areas in any number of ways including but not limited to the following: legislative, administrative, and programmatic changes. However, State Advocacy Members cannot be solely focused on research and public information dissemination.
    • Demonstrate their systemic work by filling out an annual questionnaire in which they detail their work.

State Advocacy Members’ Organizational Structure:

  • A State Advocacy Member can be established according to any of the following structures, including, but not limited to: a formal coalition of organizations, a free-standing non-profit organization; a project of a non-profit; an informal network of individuals or groups; or a membership organization.
  • A State Advocacy Member may not be an agency that only provides representation or services on an individual, case-by-case basis; nor can it be a trade association.
  • Organizations that primarily do individual, client-related work but also conduct systemic reform (e.g., class-action lawsuits) are eligible for membership.
  • State Advocacy Members should be unfettered advocates for system reform. A member’s sources of funding (whether private or public) shouldn’t hinder the member’s ability to advocate for system reform. The leadership of the member’s agency or coalition should be independent enough to advocate for system reform (i.e., neither appointment of leadership nor employment should compromise any potential advocacy position of organization).

Youth Justice Leadership Institute Alumni

Alumni of the Youth Justice Leadership Institute are individuals who have completed their fellowship through NJJN’s Institute in good standing. After completion, they are invited to become full members in NJJN. In order to become a member, they must:

Affiliate Members

Affiliate Members are state-based groups that do not fit the criteria for State Advocacy Membership, but for which there would be mutual benefits from a closer affiliation with NJJN. An example of a potential affiliate member could be a child welfare advocacy group that is thinking about engaging in juvenile justice reform work, but has yet to engage in reform.

Affiliate members:

  • Support NJJN’s nine principles of reform.
  • Must not be a government organization, trade association, receive substantial government funds or be solely focused on direct representation of or services to youth.
  • Unlike, State Advocacy Members, Affiliate Members may be currently focused on research and public education.


NJJN also recognizes the need for allies in the creation of better juvenile justice policies. Allied Members are individuals and organizations that support the work of NJJN but who are ineligible for membership or affiliation. Individuals and organizations that receive substantial government funds or agencies that focus on direct services typically fall into the Ally category.


  • Support NJJN’s nine principles of reform.
  • May be an individual (not part of an organization or coalition).
    • May be an organization that does not fit the membership criteria for state advocacy organizations or affiliates such as government organizations, trade associations, etc.


NJJN Partners are national groups that support NJJN’s mission and values and provide assistance to our state-based member organizations as their resources allow.


  • Agree to NJJN’s nine principles of reform.
    • Support the activities of NJJN and its members through advice and referrals as resources allow.


For more information on becoming a member, affiliate, ally or partner of NJJN, download our membership information sheet or e-mail us at info@njjn.org.