The core of the initiative's juvenile justice systems reforms were advanced in four strategic states selected for their leadership and commitment to change, geographic diversity, differing needs and opportunities, and likelihood to influence reforms in other locations. An additional 12 partner states were involved in Models for Change through participation in action networks, and eight more states have joined the effort through federal collaborations.
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The four Models for Change core states, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Louisiana, and Washington, were selected through a competitive process that took into account political and fiscal commitment to change, support for change both inside and outside the juvenile justice system, and the likelihood that reforms would influence change in other locations. States were chosen from different regions—with diverse traditions, political cultures, organizational structures, needs and challenges—to demonstrate system change from a range of starting points and under a variety of conditions. Work in each state was coordinated by a "lead entity," an organiztion who helped to establish the reform agenda in collaboration with local sites and partners, and managed and monitored its implementaion.
Action network partner states
In addition to the four core states, 12 partner states were involved in the Models for Change initiative through participation in the action networks. (The four core states participated in all action networks.)
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is collaborating on an effort in eight states to divert youth with behavioral health conditions from the juvenile justice system to community-based programs and services. A collaboration with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) will support juvenile justice reform in four target areas: mental health screening and risk/needs assessment; mental health training for juvenile justice; disproportionate minority contact reduction; and juvenile justice and child welfare system integration.