Research shows that family involvement is essential to achieve positive youth outcomes, particularly for youth involved in the juvenile justice system. To help support this part of good case practice, the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy and the Vera Institute of Justice have published Identifying, Engaging, and Empowering Families: A Charge for Juvenile Justice Agencies, a paper that lays out a model for family engagement across the continuum of a youth’s involvement in the juvenile justice system.
This white paper, authored by Ryan Shanahan and Margaret diZerega of Vera, reviews the literature exploring the relationship between family contact and short- and long-term outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system, and identifies ways that agencies—from police through reentry staff—can better engage families in ways that promote both personal contact and active involvement in case assessment, planning, and management. The paper’s three-part framework on full family partnership—rooted in a broader definition of family—focuses on identification, engagement, and empowerment.
To commemorate the release of the paper, on February 24, 2016, CJJR and Vera hosted a discussion on the critical role that families play in the juvenile justice system and strategies for effective and meaningful family engagement. About 100 individuals attended the event, which took place at Vera’s headquarters in New York and featured a panel of field leaders, including CJJR’s Shay Bilchik, Vera’s Ryan Shanahan and Margaret diZerega, and other representatives from government, community-based organizations, and philanthropy. Watch Part 1 and 2 of the event for more information.