More than a decade ago, the JUSTGeorgia Coalition's lead partners, Georgia AppleseedThe Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic of the Emory University School of LawInterfaith Children's Movement, Truancy Intervention Project, Latin American Association, Next Level Community Development Center and Voices for Georgia's Childrencame together with a goal of updating the long-outdated Georgia juvenile code. 

When Governor Deal signed the juvenile code into law in May 2013, hundreds of individuals  and organizations shared in the victory of a modernized and more compassionate and effective juvenile code. While the new code marked a huge milestone for JUSTGeorgia and our partners, the work of the coalition is not done. 

Since then, JUSTGeorgia has continued to focus its efforts on statewide legislative initiatives through a combination of research, advocacy, policy development, and key stakeholder engagement to advance social and juvenile justice in Georgia

Our Vision

The members of the JUSTGeorgia Coalition (“Coalition”) envision a Georgia in which all children can fulfill their potential.

Our Mission

The JUST Georgia coalition endeavors to advance strategic cooperation across the state to align stakeholders on common goals to improve outcomes for vulnerable and disconnected youth. 

Our core policy goals include: raising the age of juvenile justice jurisdiction, ending school discipline through positive behavioral intervention and supports, and encouraging data & science driven approaches to juvenile justice. 

Our Shared Beliefs

The members of the Coalition believe that each and every child in the State of Georgia should:

  • Be raised by committed and caring adults in a home environment that is safe and where they are provided adequate food, shelter, clothing and emotional security
  • Have access to affordable, high quality physical and behavioral health services
  • Receive high quality early childhood and secondary school education so that they graduate from high school ready for college or career, and
  • When necessary, encounter a justice system that ensures fair and equitable treatment as it seeks to protect the community, impose accountability, restore and strengthen families and rehabilitate youth.

In support of these beliefs, the members of the Coalition commit to child-centered advocacy that:

  • Is nonpartisan;
  • Is fact-based and data driven
  • Does not hesitate to tackle difficult issues
  • And seeks collaborative solutions in the best interest of children and youth.
There is no doubt that the reforms contained in the new law will serve all Georgians. Our children will be treated more justly and effectively while community interests in crime prevention will continue to be served
— Wendell Willard, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee

What We've Achieved

  • Successful passage of the the juvenile reform code in May of 2013. 
  • Hosted a series of community conversations around the state aimed at bringing together local leaders to build and renew relationships, to broaden the base of the coalition and to collect information about the challenges these organizations encounter and the social landscape of the communities. 
  • Creation of the annual JUSTGeorgia Institute –– following a series of community conversations around the state, the institute brings together valuable collective wisdom to inform our long-term agenda, recruit new leadership into the coalition, and explore what kind of collective impact initiative might be right for Georgia to take this important work forward.