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Legal Educational Advocacy Program (LEAP) Team

(Jennifer Paschal Bruce Forrester Photography, 2014)

Office of the Public Defender: Marc Babus, Lauren Brady Blalock, Patricia Lee, Marynella Woods

The Legal Educational Advocacy Program Team in the Public Defender’s Office receives an award for improving educational outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system, thus curbing the cycle of young people who go back into the system. The team — comprised of Patricia Lee, Marynella Woods, Lauren Brady Blalock and Marc Babus — works directly with San Francisco youth, makes regular court appearances on behalf of young clients and trains parents and caregivers to advocate effectively for their children. Of the youth who have gone through the program, fewer than 13 percent reoffend six to 12 months after exiting. The program, which began in 2011 with a grant, continues to work toward the greater goal of reducing the disproportionate number of youth of color in the justice system overall.