Center for Juvenile Justice Reform: Engaging Families and Communities in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare

juvenile-justice-reform_CJJR-report-coverGeorgetown University Public Policy Institute’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR) is delighted to announce the release of Safety, Fairness, Stability: Repositioning Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare to Engage Families and Communities, a paper co-authored by Joan Pennell, Carol Shapiro, and Carol Wilson Spigner, with commentaries by Kordnie Jamillia Lee and Trina Osher. The paper was released at a symposium held at Georgetown University on May 13, 2011. 
Connections to family and community are often severed, at least temporarily, as a result of a youth's involvement in the juvenile justice, child welfare, and/or mental and behavioral health systems. Ensuring that these connections are not severed permanently, or are maintained in the first place, begins by engaging families and communities in a more constructive and respectful manner. This paper recognizes that such connections must be supported in a manner that allows families and communities to provide a sense of stability and permanency in a youth’s life and the life-long connections that youth will need as they transition into adulthood.

The authors reinforce the need for child welfare, juvenile justice, mental and behavioral health, schools, and other child-serving systems to work together, across systems, when engaging youths and their families. In this regard, the paper provides a pathway to improving these systems in a fashion that will leave children, youth and families with a different set of experiences that strengthen the crucial connections in a youth’s life, while also providing greater safety, fairness, and stability. This pathway, however, requires that stakeholders working within these systems adopt a new lens in viewing their work in engaging families.
The paper and symposium were sponsored, with support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Children’s Bureau within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention within the U.S. Department of Justice, to accelerate a movement in this direction. It is the hope of the authors and CJJR that by reading Safety, Fairness, Stability: Repositioning Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare to Engage Families and Communities, agency leaders, supervisors, line staff, judges, lawyers, and other youth- and family-serving professionals will look at family engagement in a different light, building on their efforts to date to improve how they work with the families with whom they come in contact.
>>Download the paper and resources from the symposium.

About the Author

juvenile-justice-reform-disproprotionality_Shay-Bilchik-photoShay Bilchik is the founder and Director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute. The Center’s purpose is to focus the nation’s public agency leaders, across systems of care and levels of government, on the key components of a strong juvenile justice reform agenda.
Prior to joining the Institute, Mr. Bilchik was the President and CEO of the Child Welfare League of America for seven years. Before that, he headed up the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in the U.S. Department of Justice, where he advocated for and supported a balanced and multi-systems approach to attacking juvenile crime and addressing child victimization.

Updated: February 08 2018