Resources for DC Youth Defenders

Email Rebba Omer with additional questions and to request sample motion and advocacy letter templates.


Download virtual hearing tips for youth and families, provided by DC Superior Court, to share with your clients.


Please see the DC Superior Court website for the most up to date information.

Information concerning DC youth defenders is copied here for your convenience:

  • All judges shall continue to conduct court hearings remotely.
  • All court hearings will be on the record and will use the WebEx app.
  • Currently the Family Court is conducting the following types of juvenile delinquency and persons in need of supervision hearings:
    • Juvenile initial hearings, including probable cause hearings.
    • Any other hearings (e.g. emergency hearings, status hearings, disposition hearings) based upon the judge’s determination that holding a hearing would be beneficial toward resolving the case or will result in a change in the level of detention of a juvenile; this applies to HOPE and Juvenile Behavioral Diversion Program (JBDP) courts, as well.
    • Trials of detained juveniles when possible.

The COVID-19 Child & Adolescent Mental Health Resource Guide, created by the Children’s Law Center, the DC Behavioral Health Association, and Children’s, identifies the services and currently active providers available for mental health support during the pandemic. The guide is navigable by tabs that include: mental health resources that are accepting new patients, therapy, psychiatry, family support, early childhood, developmental delay, alcohol and substance abuse, crisis and inpatient, perinatal mental health, and CSA/MHRS providers. It is also possible to navigate by different types of Medicaid insurance.

The Department of Behavioral Health has provided guidance regarding School Based Behavioral Health services during COVID-19. Click here to download.

The Child Guidance Clinic has suspended all evaluations, and they have no specific return date. They are waiting on guidance from the court before resuming operations.

The Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) has provided this letter from Director Clinton Lacey and FAQ with information for youth, families, and attorneys about DYRS operations, services, and procedures that have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please take a moment to download the FAQ, read through it, and provide your clients with any necessary information.

Legal Visitation at YSC & New Beginnings

Attorneys have the option to visit in person or request video conferencing. Video-conferencing is available via Zoom at both Youth Services Center & New Beginnings. The Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services has provided the following instructions for scheduling video visitation:

The points of contact at the New Beginnings Youth Development Center are:

Stephanie Evering


Marjorie Turner

Email both staff at least 24 hours before the video-call is scheduled to take place. If communication needs to occur on a more urgent basis, then add Deputy Superintendent of Treatment, Kenneth Persons, with the email Mr. Persons can also be reached at (202)702-2132.

Youth Services Center:

Charles L. Thomas, Administrative Law Judge, Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, has communicated the following regarding visitation at Youth Services Center:

Please note, that effective August 15, 2020, YSC will allow in-person legal visits with clients. Details will follow as they become available, but please note the following:

  1. In an effort to limit the exposure from outside the facility, these visits are centered around legal visits with attorneys only. Ancillary legal staff can meet with clients via video by appointment.
  2. Family/friends may not accompany the attorneys or setup their own times. The agency has not announced plans or dates for in-person family visitations at this time.
  3. Social distancing will be maintained at all times during the visit.
  4. There are limited spaces in visitation so there may be wait times given the amount of in-person visits occurring at any given time.
  5. There is a hand-dispenser located in visitation, but attorneys should bring their own required masks or face guards.
  6. Video legal visits can still be arranged through Judge Thomas.

As always, this is subject to change given the nature of the virus and emergency declaration. Thank you.

Incarcerated Youth Amazon Wish Lists

While recent advocacy efforts have resulted in a significant reduction of youth in DC’s two secure juvenile facilities (the Youth Services Center and New Beginnings), many youth are still held at both facilities. There are currently very few of the usual programing options available to them, and the lack of activities can lead to increased anxiety about the pandemic and an even greater feeling of disconnection from their families and communities. Now more than ever, it is important for us to show our young people that they are not forgotten and that they have our support.

The DC Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services has agreed to allow us to send youth at both secure facilities supplies and activities via Amazon. We invite you to join us in supporting our youth by sending them items from the below Amazon Wish Lists. Be sure to include a note of encouragement for the youth by using the “Gift Message” option at checkout.

Click here for the Amazon Wish List for New Beginnings

Click here for the Amazon Wish List for Youth Services Center

Thanks to the collaboration of Open City Advocates, a 501(c)(3) non-profit who is coordinating and hosting the wish lists, items sent through these Amazon Wish Lists will be considered an in-kind donation to the organization and, thus, a charitable contribution. If you would like a receipt from Open City Advocates, please email Penelope Spain ( with your name, your address, and the item you donated.