Teens holding Raise the Age NY sign

CDF-NY Raise the Age Campaign

About the Campaign

Raise the Age-New York is a campaign that advocates for state and local implementation of a new law that raises the presumptive age of criminal responsibility in New York. Passed in 2017, and currently in its first year of state-wide implementation, the Raise the Age law is based on years of ground-breaking work from hundreds of diverse individuals and organizations, including formerly incarcerated youth and their families, child advocates, service providers, faith leaders, legal services groups, and unions, who worked to make this day a reality.

As Raise the Age goes into effect across New York State during 2018 and 2019, we celebrate our shared victory to raise the age of juvenile accountability in New York State, require parents be notified of their adolescent’s arrest, process youth in courts intended to meet their developmental needs, house youth in settings that keep them safe, and permit more young people to move forward without the burden of adult criminal records. We are proud that our work together has transformed the juvenile justice system for thousands of youth and families.

We aren’t done yet. We continue to advocate for the law to be implemented with fidelity to its principles while we forge the path for comprehensive juvenile justice reform.

Our priorities include:

  • Starting as many cases of 16- and 17-year-olds in Family Court as possible.
  • Ensuring that when 16- and 17-year-olds must be detained or otherwise incarcerated, they are held in juvenile facilities without adult corrections involvement or oversight.
  • Limiting the collateral consequences of court involvement by expanding access to youthful offender (YO) status and expanding protections to older youth.
  • Increasing support for prevention and diversion services that keep youth in their communities rather than incarceration.
  • Demanding State support for Close to Home.
  • Raising the lower age of juvenile delinquency from age 7 to age 12.

These reforms are necessary to help meet the promise of Raise the Age: recognizing that adolescents are children, and prosecuting and placing them in the adult criminal justice system doesn’t work for them or make communities safer. It is critical for New York to ensure that youth involved in the criminal justice system have access to court processes, as well as services and placement options that are developmentally appropriate.

Get Involved

As co-lead of the Raise the Age-New York campaign, CDF-New York has fought tirelessly in support of raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York. We will continue to advocate for full implementation of the law and fight for justice systems that recognize and meet the needs of youth, emphasize prevention and alternatives to incarceration, and promote community-connectedness, principles of positive youth development, and restorative justice.

If you are an individual or organization and would like to join our ongoing work monitoring implementation of Raise the Age and advocating for further reform, please email Julia Davis, our Director of Youth Justice and Child Welfare, at jdavis@childrensdefense.org.

Thank you for your help in raising the age!

Follow @RaisetheAgeNY on Twitter.

Like Raise the Age NY on Facebook.


Updated Raise the Age Bill Summary

Raise the Age at 6 Months – Implementation Update

Information on Record Sealing

Raise the Age-NY

Raise the Age Video Series

Summary of RTA Legislation

Recommendations of the Governor’s Commission on Youth, Public Safety and Justice