Society

Transforming Juvenile Justice: Families First

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Yesterday  the Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) released a new report,  Family Comes First: A Workbook to Transform the Justice System by Partnering With Families.

The report highlights effective programs and tools for practitioners in family engagement in the juvenile justice system.

(CFJY ) is an advocacy organization dedicated to ending the practice of trying, sentencing and incarcerating youth under age18 in the adult criminal justice system.

This report is the first comprehensive analysis of current family engagement and family partnership practices in juvenile justice systems around the country and provides practical tools and resources to juvenile justice system practitioners in undertaking a family-driven approach to juvenile justice.

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"This report underscores the critical importance of involving families in juvenile justice," says Liz Ryan, President and CEO of the Campaign for Youth Justice.  "Family Comes First serves as a guide for juvenile justice system practitioners to implement a new, family-driven approach to juvenile justice."

The workbook was funded in large part by a generous grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Families and juvenile justice system leaders agree that:

  • Basic information about the process of the court system, families' legal rights, and the role of the various players in the system is not available to families and prevents effectively addressing any treatment needs of the child;
  • Economic and social supports necessary to meet the needs of children are not available to families and prevent the full participation of families in the existing activities offered by the justice system;
  • Justice systems and agencies are not staffed or resourced appropriately to effectively support families;
  • An opportunity to participate in decision-making at all levels should be provided to families; and
  • Family supports from other families and system staff will ensure that youth achieve positive outcomes.

The report features several family-driven approaches and programs.

Public opinion polling commissioned by GBA Strategies shows that the public strongly supports family engagement strategies.

For the Executive Summary of the Family Comes First Report, please visit here.

The Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) is a national organization dedicated to ending the practice of trying, sentencing and incarcerating youth under the age of 18 in the adult criminal justice system. For additional information visit us at www.campaignforyouthjustice.org.