About Us

Our History 

The Center for Children & Youth Justice, founded in 2006 by Justice Bobbe J. Bridge (ret.), is committed to reforming Washington’s juvenile justice and child welfare systems. CCYJ leads communities, our state, and the nation in empowering children and youth, stabilizing families, and strengthening communities through meaningful and lasting reform. CCYJ identifies gaps in the system, researches, develops innovative and creative solutions, and ensures that policymakers integrate these system improvements into practices and procedures. CCYJ’s results are realized into state law, adopted as standing protocols by the courts, schools, and other partners; and they are developed into new interventions for at-risk, abused and/or neglected children and their families. CCYJ has succeeded in driving positive systems change for nearly two decades. Following an extensive national search, our Board of Directors appointed our second President and CEO Rachel Sottile in late 2018. Our passionate staff is deeply committed to the youth for whom we advocate.

Our Mission 

To create better lives for generations of children and youth by reforming the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

Our Vision

Our vision is that all children, youth, and young adults are healthy, safe and thriving; cared for by their community; valued as they are; and have a sense of belonging.

Our Equity Statement

“Our mission is to create better lives for generations of children and youth by reforming the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Through this reform we seek a state of racial and ethnic equity – where no child or youth’s racial or ethnic identity predicts, in a statistical sense, how they fare. We understand that racial inequities and injustices are the result of racist policies and practices. We act upon this understanding through our organization-wide commitment to anti-racism – the work of actively opposing racism by advocating for changes in the political, economic, and social realms in which children and youth live and grow. Our mission and the active work of anti-racism cannot be separated.” – CCYJ Staff and Board of Directors

We recognize that children, youth, and families of color have historically, and continue to be, disproportionately impacted by institutionally racist policies within the state’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems. We learn from the past so we don’t perpetuate its harmful impact. 

We strive to work alongside those directly impacted by racism to undo the policies and practices that cause ongoing harm.

We understand that our work to dismantle racism must start within our own organization. 

We are actively guided by and engaged in this work every day. Racial equity in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems is our end point.

Our Approach

By convening and partnering with parents, advocates, service providers and policymakers, CCYJ develops and advances innovative approaches to systemic change to support kids, stabilize families, and strengthen communities. We work to achieve research-based, data-driven, tangible outcomes for generations of youth.

Our Work Is…

  • Youth-centered: We respond to the urgent and critical needs articulated by our state’s most vulnerable youth, including their voices in our research, data collection, and project design.
  • Collaborative: We bring together all stakeholders, including families and youth, to plan and implement our reform efforts.
  • Data-driven: We research best and promising practices to inform our work.
  • Innovative: We seek fresh ideas and interventions, conduct research, test pilot projects, and advocate for new policies that make change possible.