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A Roadmap for Advancing Youth Diversion in Los Angeles County

Friday, March 9, 2018
10:00am - 1:00pm PST
Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, Aspen Hall 101
400 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90015
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California Funders for Boys and Men of Color invite SCG members to a briefing and discussion on advancing youth diversion in Los Angeles County with Judge Peter Espinoza, Los Angeles County Director of Diversion and Youth Development, and Shimica Gaskins, the new Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund-California.

In a historic move in November 2017, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to adopt a roadmap for diverting 10,000 youth from the youth justice system and for connecting them to a comprehensive array of supportive services – arts, education, employment, housing, healthcare and more – in the community to help them succeed, learn and thrive. The Board also voted to create a new Youth Diversion and Development division within the Office of Diversion and Reentry. This new division will be supported by approximately $30 million in public dollars to support the development of a community-based prevention and intervention infrastructure.

At this meeting, Judge Espinoza would like to engage philanthropy as thought partners to discuss current systems change work, specifically the opportunity for this new division to financially support community-based organizations working in the areas of arts and culture, career readiness, foster care, homelessness, human services, post-secondary education, child welfare, health care, youth development, criminal justice reform and LGBTQ services to better serve young people and their families. Additionally, Shimica Gaskins will discuss existing work to reallocate public funding throughout the Los Angeles County criminal justice system toward education, housing, health care and jobs. 


Judge Peter Espinoza, Los Angeles County Director of Diversion and Youth Development

Peter Espinoza has been a judge since 1994. A graduate of San Francisco State University, he majored in social work while assisting low-income Spanish-speaking clients of the Legal Community Legal Defense Office as a volunteer. He earned his law degree from UCLA in 1980. While in law school, he chaired the Chicano Law Students Association. After graduating from law school, he obtained a Reginald Heber Smith fellowship and worked for the San Fernando Valley Neighborhood Legal Services. He then joined that Orange County Public Defender’s Office, where he worked from 1981 to 1983. He was in private practice in Los Angeles and then Downey between 1984 and 1990, handling public interest, juvenile and dependency cases. He was named a commissioner of the Los Angeles Superior Court in 1990 and served in that capacity until he was appointed judge. During his 22-year judicial career, he has served in a variety of leadership roles, including supervising judge of the Southeast District and later of the criminal courts, member of the court Executive Committee and member of the search committee that recommended candidates for the Clerk/Court Executive Officer position when it last became vacant.


Shimica Gaskins, Executive Director, Children’s Defense Fund-California

Shimica Gaskins has worked in law and public policy specializing in legislative, regulatory and policy issues associated with criminal justice reform and children’s rights. She formerly served as the Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Policy (OLP) of the U.S. Department of Justice. At OLP, Shimica worked to develop and implement innovative policy initiatives of the Department and Administration in areas such as Smart on Crime, law enforcement and emerging technologies, prison reform, reentry and issues affecting children with incarcerated parents. Prior, she was in private practice at Covington & Burling LLP, where she managed complex civil litigation. She clerked for the Honorable Roger L. Gregory on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the Honorable Victoria Roberts on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. She received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and graduated cum laude with BA in philosophy from the Catholic University of America. Most recently, she served as the Director of Policy and Outreach for The Fair and Just Prosecution Project – a project that supports newly elected prosecutors committed to innovative criminal justice reform policies.


No cost to participate

Who May Attend

Register online here.