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Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Action Network

Sharing knowledge and accelerating progress in the reduction of racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system

Youth of color are overrepresented at nearly every point of contact with the juvenile justice system—and this "disproportionate minority contact"  is disturbingly persistent over time. Youth of color are more likely to be incarcerated and to serve more time than white youth, even when they are charged with the same category of offense. Learn more

Network goals and structure

While all states involved in the Models for Change initiative are working to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system, the DMC Action Network was launched in 2007 to bring together teams from select local jurisdictions, expose them to the latest thinking of national experts, and give them an opportunity to learn from one another about effective ways to reduce the disproportionate contact of minority and ethnic youth with the juvenile justice system. Learn more

Strategic innovations

Each site is implementing at least two “strategic innovations” that are likely to have an impact on reducing the disproportionate contact of minority youth locally. Sites will track their implementation experiences, and results will be shared with their colleagues and the field. Strategic innovation issues include:1) improvements in the tracking and reporting of data,  2) enhanced cultural competency and community responsiveness of staff responsiveness, 3) diverting pre-adjudicated youth and 4) expanding post-disposition culturally relevant alternatives to incarceration. Learn more

Local sites and partners

In addition to local jurisdictions that are already active in the Models for Change initiative, DMC Action Network members include other sites selected for measurable accomplishments in reducing disproportionate minority contact. There are twelve county-level sites in eight states: Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wisconsin. Learn more

Work highlights

The Burns Institute's blog features frequent updates on news of DMC issues. Click here to visit the blog.

The Burns Institute also features a map that shows an interactive map providing state-by-state and county data regarding juvenile justice system involvement, using data from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

DMC eNews reports on the action network's efforts to reduce disproportionate minority contact in juvenile justice systems. Sign up here to receive DMC eNews by email or download recent issues from our work highlights page, which also features recent progress updates and reports on the network's annual meetings.

For more information

The DMC Action Network is coordinated by the Center for Children’s Law and Policy, a National Resource Bank member that provides technical assistance to DMC efforts in all four Models for Change states. To learn more about the network view the FAQ or contact