In the past two years, the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation piloted a curriculum aimed at training frontline and mid-level juvenile justice managers on youth development, a strategy focused on building the assets of youth and families (as opposed to just seeking to address deficits).
Now, Casey plans to roll out the Re-Imagining Juvenile Justice (RJJ) curriculum in more of its Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) sites around the country. JDAI sites work, with foundation support and assistance, to use risk assessments and other screens to improve decision-making about the use of pre-trial detention for juvenile offenders.
Next week is the final week for applications, after which Casey will select an unspecified amount of sites where RJJ will be offered. Casey is looking for cohorts between 20 and 30 for each site.
The pilot for the professional development curriculum took place in Massachusetts. Casey funded two organizations – Wheelock College’s Department of Juvenile Justice and Youth Advocacy and the School & Main Institute – to develop and conduct the training. Those organizations will remain involved in spreading the program.
Youth development, and the strategy of assets development, was cultivated by Peter Benson, the late CEO of the Search Institute. Many juvenile justice advocates, including researcher Jeffrey Butts, have championed the notion of a “positive youth justice” system, adapting the principles of asset development into juvenile justice response.
Click here to read a basic powerpoint on the RJJ curriculum.