The Advisory Board of the Center for Juvenile Law and Policy
Jo Kaplan Feldman
Jo Kaplan Feldman, a lawyer for over three decades, has dedicated herself to representing the poor, the underprivileged, and ultimately those most vulnerable members of our society, our children.
After graduating from UCLA Law School in 1968, Jo joined the Los Angeles County Public Defenders Office. Within a very short time, Jo became an innovator of the area of a “Right to Treatment” for incarcerated youths and took a leave of absence from the Public Defenders Office to join Jim Hayes at the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in developing more humane conditions for juveniles caught up in the delinquency system. Jo went on to teach juvenile law to students to inspire young lawyers to enter the field of child advocacy.
In 1978, Jo established her private practice and soon became known in Los Angeles County as a specialist in juvenile law. In 1990, Jo was chosen to head one of the law firms of the Dependency Court Legal services, a non-profit organization formed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to represent and serve parties involved with the Dependency Court. During her tenure as head of the organization, that firm represented over 40,000 children going through the abuse and neglect system. That firm currently is a part of Children’s Law Center and serves as a model for nonprofit child advocacy firms all over the county.
Jo left that position in 1998 and since then has focused her time and energy on reforming and improving the Los Angeles County Delinquency System. She currently is appointed to sit as a Referee in the Juvenile System, but spends most of her time doing policy work reforming the institutions which house Los Angeles County’s thousands and thousands of delinquent children.
Jo is also on the Los Angeles County Probation Commission where she is attempting to institute juvenile law reform on a county-wide level. Jo has also been serving on the Juvenile Advisory Board to the Judicial Council, where again much of her efforts are aimed at improving the quality of representation and services which juveniles are (or are not) receiving in our California juvenile justice system statewide.
Jo serves on numerous task forces, committees and boards, including the Alliance for Children’s Rights, Childrens Law Center and Westside Childrens Center.
Jo is married to Larry Feldman, an alumnus of Loyola Law School, and loves spending time with their wonderful children and five amazing grandchildren.