WASHINGTON (May 6, 2013) – Today the Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ), an advocacy organization dedicated to ending the practice of trying, sentencing, and incarcerating youth under 18 in the adult criminal justice system, released a new report, Family Comes First: A Workbook to Transform the Justice System by Partnering With Families.
The report is the first comprehensive analysis of current family engagement and family partnership practices in juvenile justice systems around the country and provides practical tools and resources to juvenile justice system practitioners in undertaking a family-driven approach to juvenile justice. “This report underscores the critical importance of involving families in juvenile justice,” says Liz Ryan, President and CEO of the Campaign for Youth Justice. “Family Comes First serves as a guide for juvenile justice system practitioners to implement a new, family-driven approach to juvenile justice. ”
The workbook was funded in large part by a generous grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) conducted listening sessions with families impacted by the juvenile and criminal justice system. CFYJ also surveyed juvenile justice system leaders in juvenile corrections and juvenile detention and found that families and juvenile justice system leaders agree that:
- Basic information about the process of the court system, families’ legal rights, and the role of the various players in the system is not available to families and prevents effectively addressing any treatment needs of the child;
- Economic and social supports necessary to meet the needs of children are not available to families and prevent the full participation of families in the existing activities offered by the justice system;
- Justice systems and agencies are not staffed or resourced appropriately to effectively support families;
- An opportunity to participate in decision-making at all levels should be provided to families; and
- Family supports from other families and system staff will ensure that youth achieve positive outcomes.