Provide training and technical assistance to JDAI sites in participating jurisdictions.

Publish and distribute a wide range of analyses and tools with information and how-to advice on detention reform, including: practice guides, “Pathways to Detention Reform” reports, issue briefs, start-up materials and assessment tools.

Fund four local model sites — Bernalillo County, N.M.; Cook County, Ill.; Multnomah County, Ore.; and Santa Cruz County, Calif. — and one state-level model site, New Jersey, to serve as learning laboratories for new sites.

Host the online JDAI Helpdesk, which serves as a depository for documents related to detention reform and other juvenile justice issues, in addition to information on work being undertaken in state and local replication sites.

Convene annual national JDAI conferences that serve to strengthen both detention reform strategies and the network of sites and practitioners active in the detention reform movement.

Visit the JDAI Helpdesk

We expanded from five pilot sites to more than nearly 300 sites 39 states. As of the end of 2013, more than 30 percent of U.S. youth reside in jurisdictions where JDAI is active.

Participating JDAI sites have reduced their average daily population in detention by 44 percent since launching their JDAI efforts.

JDAI sites have reduced the number of youth of color in detention by 43 percent, despite the fact that youth of color comprise an ever-increasing share of the U.S. youth population

JDAI is reducing detention in ways that protect or even enhance public safety.

In 2009, the New York Times lauded JDAI’s “astonishing” results.

The JDAI model is built around the following eight core strategies:

To help participating sites implement the JDAI model effectively and achieve success, the Casey Foundation employs a number of inter-connected strategies.  They include: direct technical assistance from Casey staff and consultants; opportunities to visit and learn from four local model JDAI sites; a vast array of publications on all aspects of detention reform, plus a dedicated online JDAI Help Desk; detailed materials and planning tools to guide local site teams, including an elaborate Starter Kit; and opportunity to participate in the annual JDAI Inter-Site Conference.

Increasingly in recent years, as the number of participating jurisdictions has mushroomed – straining the Foundation’s ability to provide needed assistance – Casey has been working with leaders in state government to enhance states’ capacity to promote and support JDAI local replication efforts.  In 2008, the Foundation named New Jersey as the first state-level model site, and since then a number of additional states have been building capacity and playing an ever-more central role in spreading the JDAI model.

View the Pathways to Juvenile Detention Reform Series

Juvenile Detention Risk Assessment: A Practice Guide to Juvenile Detention Reform #1
Detention risk screening is a fundamental strategy used to evaluate youth and determine the need for secure, locked confinement. This is a practical guide for juvenile justice decision makers and includes specific recommendations on how to design, test and implement detention risk-screening instruments. 

Detention Facility Self-Assessment: A Practice Guide to Juvenile Detention Reform #2
This practice guide provides instructions on conducting a secure detention facility self-inspection as well as comprehensive detention standards and an assessment instrument. 

State-Level Detention Reform: A Practice Guide to Juvenile Detention Reform #3
This is a “how-to” leadership guide designed for a highly specialized and specific audience: State juvenile justice advisory group members who advise and guide the implementation of the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). 

Using Media Advocacy to Promote Detention Reform: A Guide to Juvenile Detention Reform #4
This guide provides the tools for developing a well-timed and proactive media strategy, including tips and techniques for building relationships and pitching stories to reporters; strategies for developing compelling messages; and how to respond to the media in the context of a crisis. 

Making Detention Reform Work for Girls: A Guide to Juvenile Detention Reform #5
Serving as a practical, how-to guide for jurisdictions, this report follows up on previous JDAI reports documenting the scope and nature of the different challenges and needs facing girls in the detention system.

Bernalillo County Mental Health Clinic Case Study: A Guide to Juvenile Detention Reform #6
This report examines how one jurisdiction, Bernalillo County, N.M., has taken extraordinary steps to provide mental health treatment by ensuring Medicaid eligibility for detained youth and establishing a licensed, freestanding community mental health clinic adjacent to it detention facility.

The JDAI 2014 Progress report reviews JDAI’s history, key elements and progress to date. 

"A Road Map for Juvenile Justice Reform," an essay in the 2008 KIDS COUNT Data Book, highlights challenges for the juvenile justice system and offers promising solutions for youth, families, taxpayers and communities.

View all JDAI-related publications

From the Blog

Juvenile Justice Reforms in New Jersey Chronicled in Annie E. Casey Foundation Report

A new report looks at how New Jersey adopted the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative statewide.

Read More

Nate Balis, the new director of Casey’s Juvenile Justice Strategy Group, sits down for an interview with philanthropy's Juvenile Justice News.

JDAI: A Model for Change

Working with Public Systems to Tackle Big Problems

The president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation writes about the importance of working with public systems to make changes that help thousands of kids.

from demonstration project to national standard

This report documents JDAI’s progress both in reforming juvenile detention practices nationwide and contributing to the larger, more comprehensive juvenile justice reform movement.

JDAI in New Jersey

This report documents New Jersey’s success in replicating the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative model and highlights the importance of state leadership to progress.