Juvenile justice is really about the kids

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Overwhelming evidence shows that involvement in the juvenile justice system in and of itself produces negative outcomes for young people
The Children’s Initiative is changing the way San Diego’s children and youth grow and develop by sharing best practices with elected officials, influencers, and leaders.  BQuest’s multi-year grant focuses on supporting their work overhauling the way San Diego treats juvenile offenders.  The Children’s Initiative (CI) has made major strides in the last few years towards a juvenile justice system that seeks to reduce the amount of youth incarcerated and create a system that is developmentally appropriate, research-based and data-driven, centered in the family and community, fair and equitable, and that is therapeutic and trauma-informed.

In less than 2 years, the number of San Diego youth incarcerated on any given day has dropped by almost 40%
This past year, CI has brought about some major changes in San Diego’s juvenile justice, including:

  • Partnering with probation and Georgetown University to create a data-driven sentencing tool that will better match youth with the most appropriate level of supervision, focusing on using the least amount of intervention necessary
  • Bifurcating the probation department so that employees working with juvenile offenders will ONLY work with juvenile offenders, receiving training relevant to the youth they work with such as adolescent brain development, trauma-informed care, and implicit bias
  • Being selected as 1 of 8 regions to participate in the Transforming Juvenile Probation certificate program at Georgetown University, which supports fundamental transformation with a system-wide approach to probation
  • Opening several new Achievement Centers and CHOICE program centers where youth will be referred FIRST for community-based and therapeutic interventions when they violate probation rather than taking them directly into custody

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