Community-based programs positively change the trajectories of young people’s lives. Jurisdictions are building continuums of alternative-to-placement programs with graduated levels of supervision and services to ensure that youth are placed in programs that help them desist from delinquency and progress personally. Having a variety of community programming available for youth provides options for decision-makers and therefore options for youth.
Community-based alternative-to-placement programs range from probation to wraparound services with intensive supervision. They can include home confinement, alternative education, family preservation, mentoring, victim-offender meditation, restitution, community services, respite care, and day and evening reporting centers with educational, recreational and counseling opportunities. Programs can stand alone or be housed in existing organizations serving a broad range of youth. Evidence-based programs such as Multi-Systemic Therapy, Functional Family Therapy, and Multi-Dimensional Treatment Foster Care (MST, FFT and MTFC) serve those with the highest risk of offending.
Principles of Reform
- Divert Youth from the Justice System
- Reduce Institutionalization
- Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Disparities
- Ensure Access to Quality Counsel
- Create a Range of Effective Community-Based Programs
- Recognize and Serve Youth with Specialized Needs
- Improve Aftercare and Reentry
- Engage Youth, Family, and Community
- Keep Youth Out of Adult Courts, Jails, and Prisons
Each National Juvenile Justice Network member embraces these principles of reform, and conducts state-based work on at least two principles. These principles and the associated text are from “Juvenile Justice Reform: A Blueprint,” developed by the Youth Transition Funders Group.