Innovation Brief: Strengthening the Role of Families in Juvenile Justice
Published Nov 30, 2012, Wendy Luckenbill, Community Care Behavioral Health
In 2007, Models for Change-Pennsylvania established a multidisciplinary workgroup—including both family advocates and juvenile justice practitioners—to address the role of families in the juvenile justice process. Despite the highly coordinated reform and oversight process in Pennsylvania’s juvenile justice system, there had never been a focus on the role of families. The concept itself was tenuous and poorly articulated, and the workgroup found no existing frameworks or research to guide them. Strategic outreach led to a new understanding of the factors that challenge and support family involvement in juvenile justice, and to the development of concrete tools and supports aligned with the philosophies of juvenile justice and family advocacy. Under the workgroup’s leadership, family involvement in juvenile justice has become a central principle of Pennsylvania’s juvenile justice system reform and has influenced the national discourse.
This brief is one in a series describing new knowledge and innovations emerging from Models for Change, a multi-state juvenile justice initiative. Models for Change is accelerating movement toward a more effective, fair, and developmentally sound juvenile justice system by creating replicable models that protect community safety, use resources wisely, and improve outcomes for youths. The briefs are intended to inform professionals in juvenile justice and related fields, and to contribute to a new national wave of juvenile justice reform.