FLY is the only organization in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties that offers record sealing assistance to youth. After completing anywhere from two to four years of probation, many youth are eager to put their criminal past behind them and look forward to a promising, crime-free future. The stigma attached to being a “juvenile delinquent” makes it difficult for youth to muster enough self-confidence to apply to jobs, college, and financial aid programs.
Most youth involved in the juvenile justice delinquency system mistakenly assume that their criminal records are sealed automatically when they turn 18. On the contrary, youth must submit a record sealing application to the court to apply showing that they meet a series of eligibility criterion along with a non-refundable fee of $100-$150.
Through a partnership with several law firms (Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, and Morrison & Foerster) -all costs associated with record sealing are covered for the youth and a volunteer attorney is provided.
FLY trains these volunteer attorneys who in turn work with youth one-on-one to:
- explain the record sealing process;
- ensure they are eligible and good candidate for record sealing;
- help the youth complete necessary legal requirements, such as verifying that a youth’s probation has been dismissed, restitution has been paid, etc.;
- complete and file the record sealing application; and attend the record sealing hearing to advocate on behalf of the youth.
Benefiting the Community
In addition to the benefits to our youth, FLY’s record sealing program provides corporate attorneys with the unique opportunity to learn about their community from a new perspective. Beyond a connection to the youth, the partnership has the dual benefit of enhancing empathy, engagement and an understanding of social justice issues.
Prior to working with FLY, most volunteers had no exposure or reason to work with the population we serve. Pro bono attorneys trained by FLY develop an understanding of the importance of their services, which can be critically life-changing by helping youth on probation take a permanent step away from their delinquent past. And, we broaden the community of supporters for youth.
For more information contact: Vamsey@flyprogram.org
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