Who We Are

At the heart of the Center for Children's Rights is our unwavering commitment to the well-being and future of teens and youth at risk of or involved with the juvenile justice system. Our mission encompasses far more than advocacy; it is about forging lasting connections, fostering resilience, and reimagining futures.

Practical Juvenile Justice Initiatives

We establish practical justice initiatives that support families in navigating out of the maze of the juvenile justice system. By offering information, opportunities for accountability, and connection to the people, places and supports they need to thrive, we support youth and their families to build step by step pathways to a positive future.

Fostering Resilience

Our efforts in resilience building through programs like Family Circles and individual support tip the scales in favor of positive outcomes for teens and youth, balancing life's challenges with transformative opportunities for growth.

Reimagining Futures

 By emphasizing the brain architecture of developing teens, we advocate for early interventions and support systems that lay the foundation for a lifetime of learning, growth, and achievement.


In every action, we strive to reimagine futures, empowering youth and their families to envision and achieve a life beyond the justice system, filled with hope and opportunities.

Our Team

Omar Simmons


Practices Program Manager

Edd Hawkins

Connection Circle Coordinator

Devin Ellison

Restorative Practices Specialist

Abdul-Hai Thomas

Director of Youth Participatory Action and Research

Micayla Posivio

Youth Engagement Coordinator

Dimitri Brewer

Community Outreach and Digital Storytelling Coordinator

Cecilia McMillan, Resilience Navigator

Cecilia McMillan

Resilience Navigator

Britt Williams

Resilience Navigator

Dani Kahn

Resilience Navigator

Aluel Ngom

Resilience Navigator

Shavellory Roundtree

Educational Opportunity Coordinator

Addison Simms

Restorative Community Catalyzer

Betsy Dobbins

Founder and Executive


Our Board Members

  • Tara Braithwaite - Certified Residential Specialist and Broker Associate, Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty
  • Evan Satterwhite – VP/Business Development, Community Banking, Bank OZK
  • Susie Marchese – Global Program Manager, Apple Financial Services
  •  Lara Nezami, Esq. – Partner, Finnell, McGuinness, Nezami & Andux P.A.
  • Dennis Stone, Esq. – Director, Center for Advocacy and Social Justice and General Counsel at Jacksonville Urban League Inc.
  • Jeanne Ward, MA – Child Advocate; Staff member under four Jacksonville mayor administrations: Jake Godbold, Tommy Hazouri, Ed Austin and John Delaney; Economic Development Consultant; Author
  • Vicki Waytowich, Ed. – Executive Director, Partnership for Child Health

Community members and police engage with youth and teens sitting in a circle in a juvenile justice restorative practice

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Restorative Justice?
  • A set of individual and community practices to be in right relationship with self and others:  to develop holistic well-being, to nurture relationships, to repair harms, to reconcile conflict, to heal hurt, and to embrace our interconnectedness.
  • A fundamental commitment to the safety, belonging, and dignity of every community member, especially our children and young people. It is about both preventing harm and repairing harm.

What is Resilience?
  • The ability to come back to ourselves, our connectedness, and positive vision, even when experiences and conditions are difficult.
  • We believe resilience is our baseline and that all children and young people are resilient.
  • Through intentional action and with support, youth can increase their awareness and practice of resilience to strengthen their somatic “bounce or come back” ability.
  • Our community is responsible for creating meaningful and accessible access to sources of collective resilience.
  • Our resilience practices focus both on building individual skills and collective capacity.

Why Children’s Rights?
  • Being in right relationship means fulfilling rights and responsibilities
  • The emphasis is both on our individual responsibilities and our responsibilities to one another
  • Our community can be in right relationship with our children and young people through fulfillment of their rights and our responsibilities for their well-being
  • Sources of children’s rights include local ordinances, state and federal regulations and administrative rules, state and federal law, Florida and US Constitutions, international treaties.

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Supported by

Partnership For Child Health logo
Kids Hope Alliance logo
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