All children and youth deserve a fair chance.

At the Center for Children & Youth Justice (CCYJ), we’re changing the way young people experience the child welfare and juvenile justice systems—for the better. By listening to young people and working with partners across Washington State, we’re helping to redesign our child welfare and juvenile justice systems to meet children and youth’s unique needs. Every year we help improve the lives of 50,000 young people.

CCYJ In The News

CCYJ President & CEO, Rachel Sottile, and Stand for Children Washington Executive Director, Kia Franklin, recently co-authored an OpEd published in the Spokane Spokesman-Review, highlighting our collaborative work on Juvenile Court Fines & Fees. In 2024, CCYJ & Stand, with our partners from the Debt Free Youth Justice Washington coalition, forwarded our efforts through SB5974. Over the last decade, the Washington legislature has recognized that charging fines and fees – which used to require youth and their families to pay for prosecution, community service, diversion programs, and many other costs – is harmful. Last year, they took away juvenile courts’ power to impose fines and fees. But people still owe money for fines and fees imposed before July 2023. It’s illegal for courts to accept payment on this debt, but, nonsensically, courts will not write it off as the legislation originally intended. This is causing thousands of people real harm. Uncollectible debt can be a barrier to record sealing, shows up on background checks, impacts credit, and can still lead to harassing calls from debt collectors. This process should also be automatic– when a similar type of relief was not automatic, it was estimated that less than 5% of eligible people were able to get it.  Fortunately, legislation PASSED this session that automatically clears juvenile court fines and fees debt: Senate Bill (SB) 5974, sponsored by Senator Noel Frame. We have been working on this issue for several years now as members of the Debt Free Youth Justice Washington coalition. Our coalition believes that youth deserve to succeed after involvement in the juvenile legal system, which means not leaving them with debt and collateral consequences hanging over their heads.


The 2023 Results are In!
Check out CCYJ’s Impact Report, bringing to life the ways in which your investment takes our work where it is needed most.

Stay Up to Date

Stay up to date on CCYJ’s efforts to create better systems and better lives by joining our e-newsletter mailing list.

Sign up for mailing list