The Annie E. Casey Foundation: Helping vulnerable kids & families succeed
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Washington State trained on engaging community to reduce racial disparities

The Washington State Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice sponsored a training session on community engagement in January that drew teams from each of the state’s eight JDAI sites to Seattle to strategize on reducing racial disparities.

Judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, administrators, JDAI coordinators, and community members attended the one-day training on Jan. 19, which was led by Michael Harris and Malachi Garza of the W. Haywood Burns Institute.

“The goals of the training were to inform JDAI site stakeholders how engaging communities could reduce racial disparities, and to have each site develop an action plan to enhance their ongoing reduction efforts,” said Rand Young, JDAI technical assistance team leader for Washington State.

Sites were asked to present an overview of which minority groups were overrepresented and to identify points in their systems where the disparities occur. They also discussed their efforts to engage communities and were tasked with developing strategies to address racial and ethnic disparities.

Examples included reducing risk-assessment overrides for African-American youth that result from parental refusals to take custody of their children; reducing the high number of diversion “no-shows” for Hispanic youth; and reducing the number of misdemeanor referrals from schools.

“Evaluations indicated the training was a major success, and participants have continued to work on implementing new community engagement strategies,” said Young.

For more information contact Rand Young at

Trainers Michael Harris and Malachi Garza of the W. Haywood Burns Institute.