LOS ANGELES, CA – Children’s Defense Fund-California (CDF-CA) announced Thursday that Patricia Soung has joined the organization as its new Senior Staff Attorney and Senior Policy Associate. Patricia, who has more than 10 years of juvenile justice and youth organizing experience, will lead CDF-CA’s youth justice policy team and advance its research, legislative, organizing and community-based work. She will start on January 4.
“We are extremely excited to have Patricia join the Children’s Defense Fund-California,” said Executive Director Alex Johnson. “Her experience, knowledge and passion for social and juvenile justice issues will elevate our work to the next level as we advocate for innovative local and statewide solutions to keep youth out of the system, and ensure fair and positive treatment for incarcerated youth.”
Patricia is also excited to join CDF-CA team of 16 staff dedicated to protecting and investing in children.
“I’m looking forward to drawing upon a range of strategies – legal, educational and community-based – to advance CDF-CA’s agenda to reduce incarceration of youth and increase alternatives within homes and neighborhoods,” Ms. Soung said. “It is critical for California to continue rethinking responses to youth in trouble with the law and reforming systems and institutions that are failing our youth.”
Previously, Patricia Soung was a visiting professor and acting director of the Juvenile Justice Clinic for the Center for Juvenile Law and Policy at Loyola Law School. Patricia coordinated amicus briefs and strategy on a number of key cases on juvenile sentencing, taught juvenile law and procedure, and represented youth in delinquency cases. Prior to that, Patricia was a staff attorney at the National Center for Youth Law, where she worked with a broad spectrum of stakeholders and youth to drive policy advocacy efforts to decrease the population of incarcerated youth and improve outcomes. Patricia was a Soros Justice Fellow at the Children and Family Justice Center, Northwestern University of Law where she worked to challenge juvenile life without parole sentences and wrongful convictions of youth through litigation, public education and community organizing. She has also represented juvenile and criminal clients as a panel attorney for the First District Appellate Project and California Appellate Project.
Soung earned her JD from Northwestern University School of Law, where she conducted independent research on juvenile justice and education issues, worked with several criminal and juvenile justice clinics, and served as a board member of Cross-City Campaign for School Reform and a planning member of the Harvard University Annual National Symposium on Education Reform. Prior to law school, Soung worked to increase the capacity and support of youth social justice efforts across the country as the Director of Education and Outreach for the Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing in New York and a Fellow at the Tides Foundation in San Francisco. She graduated from Stanford University with honors in 2001, where she earned several distinctions for her commitment to public service and advocacy in anti-poverty projects.