by Elizabeth Seigle, Policy Analyst
Over the past two months, juvenile justice stakeholders have convened summits across the country to advance the field, largely in partnership with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change initiative. These events reflect a growing body of research that underscores the importance of diverse stakeholders working together to improve outcomes for young people involved with the criminal justice system. For the past 15 years, Models for Change has supported a network of government and court officials, legal advocates, and juvenile justice system leaders working to ensure that youth who make mistakes are held accountable for their actions and treated fairly throughout the juvenile justice process. Through these summits, the foundation has shared new resources and lessons learned to a wide range of stakeholders, building the capacity of the juvenile justice field to widely adopt and effectively implement proven policies and practices.
Below are highlights from these national conversations in the juvenile justice field, during which system partners—including the Council of State Governments Justice Center and representatives from law enforcement, the judiciary, and corrections—have shared resources with one another.
- On September 25–26, 2013, the National Summit on Law Enforcement Leadership in Juvenile Justice, supported by the Models for Change initiative, and in collaboration with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), held a summit in Crystal City, Virginia, to explore and develop strategies and recommendations for expanding law enforcement’s role in advancing the juvenile justice field. At the summit, juvenile justice system stakeholders discussed ways to modify the role of law enforcement in reform efforts and to identify ways that law enforcement can work effectively with other juvenile justice system stakeholders. For more information on the summit, click here.
- On October 1–2, 2013, the National Symposium of Court Leadership Organizing to Strategize for Juvenile Justice Reform was held in Washington, D.C., with support from Models for Change, the Justice Management Institute, and the National Center for State Courts. Recognizing the key role the judiciary plays in leading juvenile justice system reform, this symposium provided an overview of juvenile justice research to help position the judiciary system and court leaders to adopt and promulgate best practices that promote positive outcomes for youth served by the juvenile justice system. Additionally, the Models for Change Resource Center Partnership led presentations describing how their four resource centers advance juvenile justice through technical assistance, tools, trainings, and resources that address areas such as improving the response to mental heath needs and strengthening public defense for indigent youth. These centers serve a wide audience including mental health and social service administrators, practitioners, and policymakers. For more information about the resource centers, visit here.
- On October 9–11, 2013, the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA) hosted its First Annual National Leadership Institute in Chicago, IL. Sponsored by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the conference provided juvenile correctional administrators with the most recent cost-effective strategies for improving outcomes of youth in the juvenile justice system. Sessions were conducted by members of MacArthur’s Models for Change National Resource Bank, which is a group of diverse stakeholder organizations in the juvenile justice field that provide trainings, advice, and best practices from the Models for Change Initiative to promote advancements in the field. Conference sessions focused on topics including evidence-based screening and assessment in juvenile corrections, the Mental Health Curriculum, improving outcomes for youth involved with both the juvenile justice system and child welfare system, and performance-based standards. Participants included the National Youth Screening & Assessment Project, the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, Juvenile Law Center, Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, and the Models for Change Initiative. For more information, visit here.
Laurie Garduque, Director of Justice Reform at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (center), poses for a photo with Ned Loughran. CJCA Executive Director (left), and Kim Godfrey, Executive Director of PBS Learning Institute (right), after receiving the CJCA Leadership Award.
For more on the Council of State Government Justice Center’s work on youth involved with the criminal justice system, click here.