January | February 2012

OJJDP, MacArthur Foundation Provide $2 Million To Support Juvenile Justice Reform

In a new private-public partnership, OJJDP and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation are jointly providing $2 million to support innovative and effective reforms in treatment and services for youth involved in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.

"We need to do what's right for America's children," said Melodee Hanes, Acting Administrator of OJJDP. "This partnership supports state and community efforts to protect youth from harm, hold them accountable for their actions, provide for rehabilitation, and improve public safety. In this tight economy, creatively partnering with a private organization such as MacArthur maximizes reform, while stretching limited public dollars."

OJJDP and the MacArthur Foundation each will provide a total of $1 million over 2 years to four organizations to support juvenile justice reform in four target areas. These organizations will in turn offer states and local governments training and technical assistance to improve mental health services for youth, reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system, and better coordinate treatment and services for youth involved in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. The targeted reforms include:

  • Mental Health Screening and Risk/Needs Assessment: The National Youth Screening and Assessment Project at the University of Massachusetts Medical School will provide technical assistance on the use of evidence-based tools for case planning to reduce out-of-home placements and recidivism. Contact Laura Guy at the National Youth Screening and Assessment Project.
  • Mental Health Training for Juvenile Justice: The National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice at Policy Research, Inc. will provide comprehensive adolescent development and mental health training for juvenile correctional and detention staff to improve their ability to respond to youth with mental health needs. Contact Kathy Skowyra at the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice.
  • Disproportionate Minority Contact Reduction: The Center for Children's Law and Policy will provide technical assistance on evidence-based strategies to measurably reduce racial and ethnic disparities within the juvenile justice system. Contact Tiana Davis at the Center for Children's Law and Policy.
  • Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare System Integration: The Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps will provide technical assistance on implementing effective practices to reduce recidivism and out-of-home placement and to improve correctional alternatives for youth in the juvenile justice system, with a history of maltreatment. Contact John Tuell or Janet Wiig at the Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps.

The partnership will build on the MacArthur Foundation's Models for Change initiative, that seeks to create successful and replicable models of juvenile justice systems reform. OJJDP and MacArthur selected these four organizations because they helped develop, field test, and evaluate effective best practice models included in the Models for Change initiative. The MacArthur Foundation has invested more than $100 million in promising juvenile justice reforms since 2004.