Apply Now: Support for Meaningful Family Engagement in Juvenile Justice

Posted March 2, 2021
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Father with teenage son

Now through March 17, 2021, state or local juve­nile jus­tice agen­cies can apply to receive con­sult­ing sup­port on devel­op­ing and main­tain­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive rela­tion­ships with young peo­ple and their fam­i­lies. The Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion is offer­ing this oppor­tu­ni­ty to test its fam­i­ly engage­ment frame­work, a road map for involv­ing and sup­port­ing fam­i­lies as they nav­i­gate the juve­nile jus­tice sys­tem so that fam­i­lies can become allies in their children’s long-term success.

The Foun­da­tion will select up to three juve­nile jus­tice agen­cies for a three-month field test based on the framework’s guid­ing concepts:

  1. Cre­at­ing a staff cul­ture cen­tered on fam­i­lies. Sys­tems active­ly work to trans­form their cul­tures and shift staff per­cep­tions through poli­cies and train­ing that focus on fam­i­ly needs and strengths — devel­op­ing staff who are focused on serv­ing youth and their families.
  2. Defin­ing what makes a fam­i­ly. The legal def­i­n­i­tion of a fam­i­ly extends beyond bio­log­i­cal par­ents and legal guardians.
  3. Sup­port­ing, guid­ing and advo­cat­ing for fam­i­lies. Sys­tems cre­ate poli­cies to ensure fam­i­lies are offered train­ing on the juve­nile jus­tice sys­tem, devel­op­ing a net­work of sup­port ser­vices and resources to address fam­i­ly needs through­out the process.
  4. Empow­er­ing fam­i­ly voice and retain­ing fam­i­ly con­nec­tions. Sys­tems engage fam­i­lies at the ear­li­est point pos­si­ble, cre­ate an envi­ron­ment that gives fam­i­lies a voice in all deci­sion mak­ing and employ prac­tices that allow youth to main­tain con­tact with their fam­i­lies as eas­i­ly and fre­quent­ly as possible.

What’s Expect­ed from Par­tic­i­pat­ing Agencies

Agen­cies par­tic­i­pat­ing in the field test will use the fam­i­ly engage­ment frame­work to devel­op and imple­ment action plans for effec­tive­ly engag­ing fam­i­lies and reduc­ing neg­a­tive expe­ri­ences. Each agency will estab­lish out­comes it would like to achieve through fam­i­ly engage­ment efforts, con­sid­er­ing how to make the most of oppor­tu­ni­ties in its local con­text, includ­ing col­lab­o­rat­ing with com­mu­ni­ty-based part­ners; lay­ing out action steps; cre­at­ing real­is­tic time­lines and assign­ing roles and respon­si­bil­i­ties. By the end of the test peri­od, the juris­dic­tions should be ready to imple­ment their plans.

Dur­ing the pilot, the three par­tic­i­pat­ing agen­cies will form a peer net­work. Dur­ing or after the pilot, the juris­dic­tions will join two dis­cus­sions about imple­ment­ing the fam­i­ly engage­ment frame­work that will be host­ed on JDAIcon­nect, the online com­mu­ni­ty for the JDAI® network.

The Foundation’s Support

Dur­ing the three-month field test peri­od, the Foun­da­tion will pro­vide con­sul­ta­tive sup­port to the par­tic­i­pants in the form of imple­men­ta­tion plan­ning guid­ance geared toward using the frame­work and self-assess­ment tools effectively.


Juris­dic­tions must apply by March 17, 2021 by com­plet­ing this sur­vey. Agen­cies par­tic­i­pat­ing in JDAI may apply, as well as oth­er agen­cies seek­ing to devel­op strong plans for improv­ing their approach to fam­i­ly engage­ment. Please address ques­tions to Opal West, pro­gram asso­ciate with the Foundation.

Popular Posts

View all blog posts   |   Browse Topics

Youth with curly hair in pink shirt

blog   |   June 3, 2021

Defining LGBTQ Terms and Concepts

A mother and her child are standing outdoors, each with one arm wrapped around the other. They are looking at each other and smiling. The child has a basketball in hand.

blog   |   August 1, 2022

Child Well-Being in Single-Parent Families