Liz Ryan, a prominent national juvenile justice advocate focused on the removal of juveniles from the adult criminal justice system, will step down from the helm of an organization she founded eight years ago in December.
Ryan founded the D.C.-based Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) in 2005, after five years leading the Building Blocks for Youth Initiative, a juvenile justice partnership spearheaded by the Youth Law Center.
“Rest assured that I will not be leaving the juvenile justice field, but plan to take several months for rest, reflection and consideration for the next challenge on which to focus my efforts,” Ryan said, in a letter to colleagues and CFYJ supporters.
Ryan’s announcement comes on the heels of other notable turnover at the top of juvenile-related organizations in Washington. Nancy Gannon Hornberger will depart next week after seven years as head of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, and a successor has not been named yet.
The board of the Justice Policy Institute (JPI) terminated former executive director Tracy Velázquez in February. Marc Schindler was hired to replace her in July and joined JPI last week.
Ryan has also been a key organizer for Act 4 Juvenile Justice, a partnership of juvenile justice organizations and advocates supporting the reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. The Campaign has also housed and developed the Alliance for Youth Justice, a membership network of families and youths directly affected by juvenile involvement in adult court.
She previously served as deputy chief of staff and legislative director to U.S. Sen. Thomas Carper (D) during his terms as Delaware’s governor and member of the U.S. House of Representatives. She also served as a lobbyist for the Children’s Defense Fund.
The CFYJ board, which is chaired by Eduardo Ferrer of DC Lawyers for Youth, will conduct a national search for Ryan’s successor.
John Kelly is the editor-in-chief of The Imprint