Get legal aid
CGLA provides both criminal and civil legal services, integrated with social work support, to individuals facing barriers stemming from an encounter with the criminal justice system. CGLA provides services in areas of acute need, including criminal records relief, defense, family and housing law.
First Defense Legal Aid provides free, 24-hour, legal representation to people in Chicago Police Department custody and educates Chicagoans about how to protect their constitutional rights. We undertake these activities to promote fairness and accountability in the justice system.
Clear your record
The Juvenile Expungement Help Desk, operated by the L.A.F (Legal Assistance Foundation) and Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA), provides free legal assistance to expunge criminal records that occurred in Cook County before the age of 18. The staff can obtain criminal records, complete petitions and fingerprint for Illinois State Police records on-site with a valid ID. Staff will also represent clients that qualify at no cost. Learn more about expungement and services offered by the Help Desk.
This is a resource for people with juvenile records in Illinois. A juvenile record can be a barrier to employment, education, and housing. Luckily, juvenile records can be erased through the expungement process. However, few people know about or take advantage of the opportunity. Expunge.io can help determine whether your record is eligible to expunge and can link you to free legal aid.
Know your rights
Learn more from the ACLU.
The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission is an advisory group responsible for administering federal juvenile justice grants, ensuring compliance with the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, and advising the Governor and General Assembly on matters of juvenile justice. Apply to the Commission's Youth Advisory Board.
Through a restorative justice (RJ) philosophy, RJ Hubs create safe and healthy community spaces where disconnected and court-involved youth can experience belonging, opportunity, and positive transformation. Partner organizations include Austin Coming Together, Circles and Ciphers, Lawndale Christian Legal Center, Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, Urban Life Skills, Community Justice for Youth Institute, and the Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice at Adler University.
Free Write Arts & Literacy engages incarcerated and court-involved youth in the performing, visual, and literary arts so that they become the narrators of their own stories and the authors of their futures. By designing creative space to empower incarcerated and court involved youth, Free Write supports its students in developing educational and career opportunities that reduce recidivism.
Mikva Challenge develops youth to be informed, empowered, and active citizens and community leaders by engaging youth in action civics, an authentic and transformative learning process built on youth voice and youth expertise. Juvenile Justice Council is a group of young advocates on the mission to improve the juvenile justice system in Cook County. Mikva Challenge has other programs to join as well.
Mentor your peers
Find a job
One Summer Chicago brings together government institutions, community-based organizations and companies to offer over 31,000 employment and internship opportunities to youth and young adults ages 14 to 24.
LRNG CHI is a new digital platform to help you boost your career game. By joining and completing digital learning experiences, you will develop work-readiness skills and explore your passions
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago has, as a research and policy center, focused on a mission of improving the well-being of children and youth, families, and their communities. This is done through policy research—by developing and testing new ideas, generating and analyzing information, and examining policies, programs, and practices across a wide range of service systems and organizations.