Shay Bilchik and Leah Kane On the National Reentry Resource Center’s Juvenile Justice FAQ’s

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The National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC), a project of the Council of State Governments Justice Center, recently published a list of frequently asked questions and answers on juvenile justice and reentry.

As many as 100,000 youth under the age of 18 are released from juvenile correctional facilities every year. These young people often return to their communities with complex needs, such as physical and behavioral health issues and barriers to education and employment. The FAQ provides information on:

  • the organization of the juvenile justice system and its impact on reentry;
  • the characteristics of youth committed to out-of-home placement;
  • the challenges many youth face as they return from placement;
  • and the policies and practices that are key to successful reentry.

Here's just a few of the questions answered by the FAQ:

  • How is the juvenile justice system organized, and what does the organization of the system mean for juvenile reentry?
  • Why is it important to involve a youth's family in reentry planning, and how can reentry programs do it?
  • How should the child welfare and foster care systems be involved in reentry?
  • What responses are appropriate for youth who are at low risk of reoffending but have a high need for services and supports?
  • How do you design programming that taps into a youth's strengths?
  • What role do judges play in juvenile reentry?

The FAQ is the most recent juvenile reentry resource released by the NRRC and its Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee, which is one of nine advisory committees that help guide the NRRC’s efforts to improve public safety and outcomes for returning individuals. The NRRC was launched by the Council of State Governments Justice Center in October 2009, following a competitive grant process and selection by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice.

Since 2009, the NRRC’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee has focused on five key areas emerging in youth reentry policy and practice:

  • Integrating the science of adolescent brain development into the design of reentry initiatives.
  • Ensuring that reentry initiatives build on youths’ strengths and assets to promote pro-social development.
  • Engaging families and community members in a meaningful manner throughout the reentry process.
  • Prioritizing education and employment as essential elements of a reentry plan.
  • Providing a stable, well-supported transition to adulthood that helps to create lifelong connections.

Learn more here about each of these five areas, and access resources related to each.

The FAQ is the fifth FAQ the NRRC has published on reentry topics; others cover issues including behavioral health, housing, education and employment, and victims issues. View the full FAQ series on reentry here.

The above story is reprinted with permission from Reclaiming Futures, a national initiative working to improve alcohol and drug treatment outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system.

 

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