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Youth Justice Policy Lead
Leah Gasser-Ordaz is a Juvenile Justice Fellow at UCLA School of Law, working on an initiative focused on advancing the interests of justice-involved youth with grant support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Liberty Hill Foundation. Her research, in partnership with the Los Angeles County Division of Youth Diversion and Development, is centered on diversion programs, restorative justice, and other alternatives to juvenile court and incarceration.
Gasser-Ordaz received her J.D. from UC Irvine School of Law and her B.A. in Political Science from UCLA. She joins UCLA's Criminal Justice Program from Public Counsel in Los Angeles, where she first worked as a Staff Attorney in the Homelessness Prevention Law Project running the Connecting Angelenos to Resources and Essentials Services Program (CARES), an advocacy program helping folks with low incomes and people experiencing homelessness apply for or appeal terminations of their public benefits; and a walk-in clinic for unhoused youth in Hollywood at My Friend's Place. Leah then transitioned to Public Counsel's Transition Age Youth project, where she worked on securing and maintaining housing and benefits for system involved youth; advocating for the rights of young parents; and provided other civil legal support on a multidisciplinary team including peer advocates and social workers.