Current Initiatives, continued

Leading a collaborative initiative to enact a comprehensive reform of the Georgia juvenile code

The Barton Center is one of the three lead partners of the JUST Georgia Coalition.  Created in 2006, JUST Georgia is a statewide juvenile justice coalition of community organizations and individuals advocating for change to Georgia’s juvenile code and the underlying social service systems to better serve Georgia’s children and promote safer communities.  The primary goal of JUST Georgia is to create a long term coalition that will advocate, monitor, and report on the conditions, laws, and policies that affect the justice and safety of Georgia's young people.

Within the JUST Georgia Coalition, the Barton Center leads the development and implementation of the JUST Georgia legislative and advocacy strategy.  With extensive student involvement, the Center analyzes administrative, legislative, judicial and policy developments related to Georgia’s juvenile justice system and provides legal research, analysis and advocacy in support of JUST Georgia’s mission and agenda.  

For the past six years, the JUST Georgia Coalition agenda has centered on a comprehensive revision of the state’s juvenile code.  Accordingly, the “Child Protection and Public Safety Act” reflects substantive and organizational reform of Georgia’s response to children and their families in cases of abuse, neglect, violations of law by children, and other circumstances requiring court intervention. The Act reorganizes the code for ease of understanding and application, modernizes substantive provisions to reflect advances in research and practice, and brings Georgia into full compliance with federal laws applicable to juvenile court proceedings.  The collaborative efforts of the Barton Center, its students, and its partners have facilitated a sophisticated conversation among a broad and diverse professional audience about how best to rehabilitate and protect children who are involved with the state’s juvenile courts.