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Positive youth development for teens

Raising our Youth as Leaders (ROYAL) is designed for high-risk, justice-involved youth -- in other words, teens who have an active court case, have been recently charged, or are considered at risk of being charged. The program lasts 12 to 15 months and is geared for youth ages 14 to 17. ROYAL's goal is to reduce youth recidivism, especially among youth of color.

Built on the principles of "positive youth development," ROYAL uses a variety of methods to reduce risk factors and increase protective factors in a young person's life. Research shows that youth who are well-supported, who have opportunities and needed services, are more likely to attend school, make good decisions, comply with court orders, and develop positive relationships. Those factors, in turn, reduce the risk of recidivism. The downward cycle is broken, and youth begin to become “actors in their own lives.”

How the program works

ROYAL is managed by the King County Department of Public Defense, which has contracted with Therapeutic Health Services (THS) to provide direct client services. THS staff work hands-on with youth, providing intensive case management, leadership development, service learning, and family support. Community involvement is also a key part of the program.

Youth are referred to the program by public defenders, youth advocates, or parents. There is no cost for the youth or his or her family to participate in the program. Please complete the referral form.

For more information

Contact La Tanya Horace at

ROYAL has offices at two locations:

  • Youth Services Center, 1211 E. Alder St., Seattle, 98122
  • 1404 E. Yesler Way, Suite B, Seattle, 98122

Walk-ins are welcome, though the offices are staffed part-time. Call 206-329-0154 in advance for hours.


"If we don't stand up for children, we don't stand up for much."   ~ Marian Wright Edelman

Interim King County Public Defender
Anita Khandelwal

If you'd like to invite Anita or someone else from the Department of Public Defense to speak to your organization, please send your request to DPD at