Jill Wolfson
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Somebody Else's Children
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Journalist and Writer


Bay Area Parent MagazineEditor, Bay Area Parent Magazine. Duties consist of production of local section of the monthly parenting magazine. Responsibilities include writing a monthly column, article conception and assignment, working with freelancers, editing, rewriting, headline writing, assigning photographs, supervising cover design and acting as a liaison between writers, editors and the production staff.

Staff, The Beat Within, volunteer workshop facilitator for a weekly newsletter that features writing by incarcerated juveniles.

Previous Employment

  • Staff writer and editor for the San Jose Mercury News. For 10 years, I wrote for the lifestyle section and the Sunday magazine. In this capacity, I wrote a wide range of features, from profiles to investigative articles. I also served stints as both lifestyle section editor and editor of the religion and ethics department. Duties included managing a staff of 10 reporters, assigning articles, editing, producing seven sections a week and acting as a liaison between the various departments of the newspaper.
  • Columnist for West Magazine, the Sunday magazine of the San Jose Mercury News. For several years, I researched and wrote a monthly column entitled "To Your Health," which dealt with various consumer health issues.
  • Writing instructor, University of California, Santa Cruz and San Jose State University, upper-level magazine writing course in the journalism department.

Relevant Publications (Partial List)

  • Co-author, Somebody Else's Children: The Courts, the Kids, the Struggle to Save America's Troubled Families (hardcover Crown 1997; paperback Three Rivers Press 1998). This is the first book by a mainstream publisher to examine the day-to-day legal workings and life-or-death decisions of one (Santa Clara County) juvenile justice and family court system. The book is often used as text in law schools and sociology classes.
  • Author, annual reports (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003) Coalition for Juvenile Justice. CJJ is a national non-profit organization charged with reporting to the President, Congress and governors on legal issues related to juvenile justice. Topics have included the transfer of youth into the adult criminal justice system, mental health issues in the juvenile justice system and conditions of confinement for incarcerated youth.
  • Lead writer for "The Revolutionaries" series, which ran on 20 consecutive Sundays in the San Jose Mercury News (front page) and on the site of The Tech Museum of Innovation. The project conducted interviews with 19 pioneers and leaders in technology and science.
  • Essays on Salon.com.
  • What I Call Life, novel for middle readers/young adults, Henry Holt, Fall 2005.
  • Home, and Other Big, Fat Lies, middle-reader novel, Henry Holt, Fall 2006.
  • Cold Hands, Warm Heart, young adult novel, Henry Holt, Spring 2009.
  • Furious, young adult novel, Henry Holt, Spring 2013.


This American Life, “Ties That Bind.”

Awards and Fellowships (Partial List)

  • Media award for outstanding contribution in communicating the needs of youth, presented by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
  • Finalist for the American Bar Association Gavel Award
  • Western Society of Criminology Fellowship Award
  • Finalist, Bay Area Book Critic's award for best non-fiction book of 1998
  • National Press Club Award for consumer writing
  • Several Penney-Missouri national feature writing awards
  • Casey Foundation Fellowship for reporting and writing on youth and family issues
  • Hedgebrook Writing Residency

B.A., Communications, magna cum laude, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Available upon request.