Youth Policy Counsel

We are currently no longer accepting new applicants for this position.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington (ACLU-WA) is seeking a passionate and strategic advocate to lead its efforts to break the school to prison pipeline and promote community-based interventions for young people who commit crimes. The Youth Policy Counsel will be a member of the Policy Advocacy Group and will work collaboratively with the entire office.
The ACLU of Washington is a leader among state affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union, the country's premier guardian of liberty. We work in courts, legislatures, and communities to protect and extend American rights to freedom, fairness and equality. The ACLU is both nonprofit and nonpartisan. The ACLU-WA’s staff of 40+ employees and numerous volunteers work in a fast-paced, friendly and professional office in downtown Seattle. We are supported by more than 135,000 members and supporters.
The ACLU-WA maximizes its impact through an integrated advocacy approach that aligns and coordinates legislative advocacy, policy development, litigation, organizing, and public education work across the organization with team members from all departments. In the past few years, the ACLU-WA has worked with community partners to advance legislation limiting incarceration of juveniles for non-criminal offenses and preventing youth from being automatically charged as adults in most cases, helped reform school discipline in Spokane Public Schools, filed litigation to challenge statewide discriminatory discipline of students with disabilities, challenged the denial of equal access to LGBTQ student clubs, led a coalition pushing for reforms to the state’s student discipline regulations, and secured religious freedoms for Native American youth incarcerated in state juvenile prisons.
We seek team members with a strong understanding of racial equity and commitment to centering the voices and lived experiences of directly impacted communities in the development and implementation of advocacy strategies. People who have been directly impacted by the school to prison pipeline or the juvenile law system are particularly encouraged to apply.
The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture.  The ACLU encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, socio-economic circumstance, or record of arrest or conviction.
  • Lead the development of the ACLU-WA’s policy goals on ending the school to prison pipeline and reforming juvenile justice, with ACLU-WA team members and community partners. Draft, analyze and research legislative and other policy proposals on education and juvenile justice.
  • Collaborate with other ACLU-WA team members, including the political strategies department, communications department, and legal department to develop campaigns to break the school to prison pipeline and reform Washington’s juvenile justice system. 
  • Support the ACLU-WA Legislative Director in analyzing proposed legislation and through direct and grass roots lobbying of legislative and executive decision makers on school to prison pipeline and juvenile justice issues. Serve as strategic advisor to and partner in ACLU-WA litigation teams.
  • Work with other ACLU-WA team members to identify and respond to emerging issues involving youth and civil liberties. Work with staff at the national ACLU and other affiliates to build national movement on these issues.
  • Develop and implement strategies for working with directly impacted stakeholders and allied organizations to advance shared goals, including actively supporting community coalitions. Build strong relationships with other advocates, parents, and young people who have been impacted by the juvenile justice system and school to prison pipeline.
  • Represent the ACLU-WA in community coalitions, state and local legislative processes, state and local executive offices and agencies, and before school boards and other local decision makers.
  • Advance the ACLU-WA’s goal to conduct its work through a racial equity lens.
  • Support other key policy priorities as necessary and appropriate, including serving as a team member on high priority policy initiatives not directly related to youth, education or juvenile justice.
  • Conduct public education through training, presentations, drafting and publishing reports and know your rights guides, and representing the ACLU-WA in the media.
  • Recruit and supervise interns, volunteers, and other staff. 
  • Travel throughout the state and attend ACLU-WA events, including some work on nights and weekends.
  • Must have at least 4 years significant legal or advocacy experience, with demonstrated ability to develop and lead strategic initiatives. Experience in civil rights, education or juvenile justice law and policy.
  • Superior writing, research, and communications skills in presenting both to lawyers and the general public. The ability to distill complex information into plain English.
  • A track record of successfully directing and completing long-term projects. Strong leadership and organizational skills; the ability to independently manage one’s own work as well as that of others.
  • Experience working with communities of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQ communities, young people and parents strongly preferred. The ability to bring diverse people together to address multifaceted issues.
  • A high degree of emotional intelligence; a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstance.
  • A demonstrated commitment to racial equity; experience developing and implementing advocacy strategies that center the voices and lived experiences of directly impacted communities.
  • A member of the Washington State Bar (or willing to take the next bar examination) preferred; advocates with other forms of substantial expertise in education and juvenile justice policy will be considered.
  • Interest in and willingness to learn more about and engage with civil liberties issues beyond youth policy (e.g. criminal justice, policing, immigration, technology).
This job description provides a general but not comprehensive list of the essential responsibilities and qualifications required. It does not represent a contract of employment. The ACLU reserves the right to change the description and/or posting at any time without advance notice. This position is “exempt” under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Salary is based on experience and qualifications. Benefits include three weeks of vacation to start, medical and disability insurance, a retirement plan, and an ORCA card.
To apply, email a letter of application and resume to and include in the subject line of the email:  your last name and Youth Policy Counsel. In your letter, please indicate where you learned of the posting. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, at which time the job announcement will be removed from our website at
The ACLU of Washington comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, Inc. and the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington Foundation. The two corporations share the same overall mission, office space, and employees. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “ACLU of Washington.”