All children should have a voice in their future.
TeamChild began in 1995 as a collaborative project between The Defender Association (TDA) and Evergreen Legal Services, now known as Columbia Legal Services (CLS). TeamChild was born out of the frustration of seeing young people with significant mental health, education and housing needs cycle in and out of the criminal justice system without getting the help and support they needed to remain healthy and trouble-free in the community. Public defenders for these youth could recognize the barriers, but didn’t have the resources to address the problems. In contrast, civil legal aid attorneys didn’t have a mechanism for identifying and serving youth.
TeamChild was created to bridge this gap between the juvenile justice system and the community. TeamChild’s pilot project received funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). With support from key partners including the Washington Defender Association (WDA), TDA and CLS, TeamChild has since expanded and now serves youth in five diverse counties of Washington State. Long-term support of our program has been sustained through state and county funding, as well as private funding from foundations and individuals.