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​Juvenile Justice-Related Services

Family Involvement in Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Justice System

The Family Involvement Subcommittee of the Mental Health/Juvenile Justice Workgroup for Models for Change-Pennsylvania recently released a monograph, Family Involvement in Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Justice System. The subcommittee’s work and the development of the monograph were supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation through its national Models for Change initiative.

From September 2007 to March 2008, the subcommittee conducted meetings with various stakeholders representing the geographic and cultural diversity of the commonwealth, including judges, probation officers, attorneys, providers, families, and youth. Sixteen focus groups with more than 200 participants were held from May to November 2008, including three with families and two with youth. The focus groups provided opportunities for family members, youth and professionals to speak about their experience with Pennsylvania’s juvenile justice system. Several common themes emerged from the focus groups, each of which is discussed in turn in the monograph with recommendations for how to address the identified issues. The themes are:

    • Availability and access to effective early prevention and intervention
    • Communicating respect
    • Juvenile court policy and practice
    • Statewide policy and oversight

Finally, the workgroup drafted a definition of family involvement and a set of principles to guide family involvement in juvenile justice. The workgroup intends that these principles will become embedded in Pennsylvania’s juvenile justice policy and practice.

MacArthur Foundation

The MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice seeks to expand the base of knowledge about the origins, development, prevention, and treatment of juvenile crime and delinquency; to disseminate that knowledge to professionals and the public; to improve decision-making in the current system; and to prepare the way for the next generation of reform in juvenile justice policy and practice.

Juvenile Law Center

The Juvenile Law Center uses legal advocacy, publications, projects, public education, and training to ensure that the child welfare, juvenile justice and other public systems provide vulnerable children with the protection and services they need to become productive adults. The web site contains a page specifically devoted to juvenile justice issues.