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Patricia Torbet Honored as Champion for Change in Juvenile Justice Reform

For Immediate Release
Contact: Shannon Ensminger 717-699-2206

Patricia Torbet Honored as Champion for Change in Juvenile Justice Reform

Pittsburgh, PA (December 8, 2010)
– Patricia Torbet, recently retired Senior Research Associate at the National Center for Juvenile Justice, was named as the Pennsylvania Champion for Change by the MacArthur Foundation supported Models for Change Systems Reform in Juvenile Justice. She is being recognized at the Fifth Annual Models for Change national conference in Washington, D.C. for her 30 years of dedicated efforts to help juvenile justice systems do a better job of meeting the needs of young people. Ms. Torbet will be joining honorees from three other states participating in the initiative – Louisiana, Washington, and Illinois.

When Pennsylvania was chosen as the first Models for Change core state and local leaders had to figure out how to make it work, Pat Torbet was on the job. In fact, for more than 30 years she has been on the front lines helping to identify ways to improve juvenile justice systems.

“Pat’s influence comes not only from what she knows, but from who she is, what she does, and how she does it,” said Robert Schwartz, Executive Director, Juvenile Law Center. “She is brilliant and modest, highly collaborative, and attentive to concerns of everyone in the Pennsylvania system, from county staff to statewide policy makers. Pat is one of the most knowledgeable researchers in the country, and she is acutely in tune with how research affects policy and practice.”

A nationally recognized expert on probation practices, Pat’s contributions have resulted in Pennsylvania becoming a national leader in aftercare practices for youth in placement. Her passion, dedication, and relentless efforts to advance juvenile justice reform through the provision of research and technical assistance stretch well beyond her home state and Models for Change.

Models for Change is the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s $140 million national initiative to reform juvenile justice across the country. Sixteen states are now involved – four working on a range of state and local reforms, and 12 as part of three action networks focusing on reducing racial and ethnic disparities, disproportionate minority contact, mental health, and now, juvenile indigent defense.

With a favorable reform climate, strong public-private partnerships, demonstrated success in juvenile justice reforms, Pennsylvania was the first state chosen to participate in the Models for Change initiative. Reform efforts in Pennsylvania are focusing on bringing about change in three areas: the coordination of the mental health and juvenile justice systems; the system of aftercare services and supports; and disproportionate minority contact with the juvenile justice system.

Models for Change is an effort to create successful and replicable models of juvenile justice reform, through targeted investments in key states, with core support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Models for Change seeks to accelerate progress toward a more effective, fair, and developmentally sound juvenile justice system that holds young people accountable for their actions, provides for their rehabilitation, protects them from harm, increases their life chances, and manages the risk they pose to themselves and to the public.

The initiative is underway in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Washington and, through action networks focusing on key issues, in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin. For more information, visit


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Models for Change is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, website operated by Justice Policy Institute.