Engaging Youth and Families: A Deep-End Reform Brief

Engaging Youth and Families: A Deep-End Reform Brief

Published: Sep 21, 2020
Publisher: The Urban Institute and Mathematica
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Associated Project

Improving Reforms for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Justice System

Time frame: 2014 – 2020

Prepared for:

The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Key Findings
  • Stakeholders engaged youth and families in three primary ways: (1) by developing resources and supports for youth and families (including through information guides and newsletters); (2) by establishing practices to foster youth and family engagement in decisionmaking at the individual youth level (such as a case planning approach that incorporates the perspectives of multiple people in the youth’s life); and (3) by involving youth and families in decisionmaking at the system level (such as through family councils).
  • Lessons learned include the following: (1) engaging youth and family at the individual youth level might be less difficult than at the system level, (2) deep-end stakeholders valued youth and family engagement, and (3) external resources can facilitate activities related to youth and family engagement.

Partnering with youth and families involved in the juvenile justice system can promote positive youth outcomes and help youth avoid further system involvement. In this brief, we describe findings from a developmental evaluation of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s expansion of the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative® to the deep end of the juvenile justice system. Deep-end reform aims to safely and significantly reduce the use of out-of-home placements for youth, especially youth of color, in juvenile courts. We describe how select jurisdictions engaged youth and families through reform efforts. We also outline the supports that facilitated the meaningful involvement of youth and families. This brief supplements the information presented in Keeping Youth Out of the Deep End of the Justice System: A Developmental Evaluation Overview of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Deep-End Reform, which provides an overview of the evaluation of the deep-end reform and its findings.

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