Founded in 1993, Young Women’s Freedom Center (YWFC) is a leadership and advocacy organization led by systems-involved young and adult women and transgender gender non-conforming (TGNC) people of color who have grown up in poverty, worked in the underground street economy, and have been criminalized by social services such as foster care, welfare, and the mental health systems.

By offering safety, sister- & siblinghood, economic opportunities, accessible education and healing, we build self-determination, confidence and self-worth.

Our sisters and siblings support one another in living self-determined, healthy and fulfilling lives, while building our individual and collective leadership to change conditions, culture and policy toward decarceration and decriminalization.

We believe that those most impacted by cycles of poverty, violence, exploitation and incarceration are the experts in their own lives and best positioned to identify and lead the change needed to support true and transformative justice.


To create a groundswell of formerly incarcerated and systems-impacted girls, women and TGNC people to lead a movement to successfully decarcerated girls, women and TGNC people in California to lead Freedom 2030 – a ten-year political organizing, culture change & legislative campaign.

What we Know

  • Those most impacted by incarceration and cycles of intimate, community and state violence have the most information and are best positioned to lead legislative and community-change toward safety, healing and transformative justice. 
  • When girls, women and TGNC people most impacted by these cycles lead, we bring everyone with us. Our families. Our communities. Our societies. 
  • Poverty is a key driver of incarceration and recidivism: Girls, young women and TGNC youth living in poverty experience high rates of sexual exploitation which leads to further risk for incarceration.
  • Providing economic opportunities for formerly incarcerated and systems-impacted people is crucial to breaking cycles of poverty, exploitation and incarceration. 
  • The skills used to survive the street, incarceration, foster care and public institutions are transferable to movements for change, social enterprise and community businesses.