Virginia Corrigan

  • Hosted by Youth Law Center
  • Sponsored by Baker McKenzie, Intel Corporation
  • Service location San Francisco, California
  • Law school Harvard Law School
  • Issue area Children/Youth
  • Fellowship class year 2013
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Virginia provided direct civil representation to probation-involved juveniles in the extended foster care system in Contra Costa County to protect their rights and advocated for policy changes to ensure respect for the civil rights of youth in the juvenile justice system.

Every year, more than 18,000 youth are locked away in detention facilities in California. Despite legal guarantees that youth in detention receive instruction parallel to that of youth in traditional schools, detention centers provide intermittent and insufficient instruction. Health care is often inadequate; mental health care is a particular problem. Attorneys working on juvenile justice cases frequently do not provide the post-disposition civil representation that is necessary to secure their clients civil and constitutional rights. The system is failing these youth and not providing adequate support to help them become independent, productive members of society. Seizing the opportunity presented by California’s realignment of juvenile detention from a state to a county-based system, this project will both create a new system for representing the interests of detained youth in Contra Costa County and leverage the experience garnered in that system to advocate for youth throughout California.

Fellowship Highlights

During her Fellowship, Virginia has:

  • Helped approximately 45 clients access and maintain extended foster care benefits, including access to transitional housing, mental health care, and education
  • Created materials to train attorneys to help young people seal their juvenile records and led two juvenile record sealing clinics
  • Advocated to end harmful detention practices in California juvenile facilities, including the overuse of pepper spray

Where are they now?

Now that the Fellowship is complete, Virginia will continue to work at Youth Law Center as a Staff Attorney.


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