What Is the Juvenile Justice Applied Leadership Network?
Leaders capable of achieving powerful, measurable and equitable results are essential to making a lasting difference for young people who face steep barriers to success. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Applied Leadership Network (ALN) aims to develop this potential in leaders and on behalf of youth — especially young Black and Latino men — who are involved or at risk of being involved with the legal system. The program’s fifth cycle kicks off in 2023.
The ALN experience is rooted in Results Count®, the Foundation’s approach to leadership development. Its participants, who are juvenile justice system leaders, community leaders and others, work together toward a shared result, which is: All youth involved in the justice system are treated equitably and thrive in their home, school and community.
Learning the Skills and Tools
During the 12 to 18-month program, ALN teammates learn and apply Results Count skills and tools — with the benefit of faculty and peer support — all while balancing the demands of their current positions. Together, these 20 or so participants strengthen their ability to make data-driven decisions; collaborate, strategize effectively; understand systems; and lead through complexity and ambiguity. Each participant also learns how to identify and drive specific and meaningful change within their respective system and then partner with colleagues to devise, implement, refine and monitor a plan for realizing this change.
Over the program term, the class convenes for multi-day seminars, which are spaced out so that participants have an opportunity to integrate ALN learnings into their everyday work. “The heart of the curriculum lies in providing participants with the opportunity to apply the lessons here and now. “Our goal is not simply to create transformative leaders,” explains Barbara Squires, director of leadership development at the Foundation. “We want to achieve tangible results.”
ALN Alumni in Action
Since 2008, the program has produced four classes of ALN leaders spanning 53 alumni across 21 states. As ALN alumni, these leaders continue to draw on peer support to employ a results-driven framework in their home organizations.
“ALN leaders are utilizing skills gained from the Results Count experience to introduce and accelerate innovative juvenile justice policies and practices that promote possibility and potential of youth caught in the system,” says Gail D. Mumford, senior associate with the Foundation.
Using Results Count to Advance and Accelerate Results
New York, California and Louisiana are three areas where ALN alumni are making an impact and shaping efforts to prevent youth from entering the juvenile justice system. These examples, explored in greater detail, run below.
- In Santa Cruz County, California – Two ALN alumni (Fernando Giraldo, chief probation officer, and Valerie Thompson, assistant chief probation officer) practice results-driven leadership in their home probation agency. The county administrator took notice and enlisted the pair’s help to introduce Results Count at the county level. Accelerating the well-being of the county’s residents — particularly groups who face the greatest barriers to success, which includes young people at risk of juvenile justice system involvement — requires close collaboration among the County’s agencies and community-based organizations. “Working together in alignment toward the same goal and recognizing everyone has a contribution to make is critical for us to be successful,” Giraldo says.
- In Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana – Two ALN alumni serving in the Office of Juvenile Services (Anthony Celestine, director, and Joshua Campbell, assistant director) run a Multi-Agency Resource Center. This center co-locates community services and support so that young people and their families can quickly secure assistance in avoiding formal involvement in the juvenile justice system. “Josh and I have used our ALN experience to focus on the fact that youth and families need to thrive in their home, school and community and wanted to provide these services without needing formal entry into our juvenile justice system to obtain them,” Celestine explains. “Leadership requires vision and the tools to get things done for youth and families, and we are doing it.”
- In New York state – Two ALN alumni (John Johnson and Jim Czarniak) have implemented a statewide funding program that allows local jurisdictions to boost their investment in community-based alternatives to detention and court-ordered out-of-home placements. In Onondaga County, the Supervision Treatment Services for Juveniles Program shifted more than $500,000 from detention into community-led programs and services and youth well-being. “The leadership skills we learned in ALN provided real tools that supported alignment of our community and system partners,” says Jim Czarniak, former deputy commissioner of the Onondaga Department of Children and Family Services. Such alignment, Czarniak notes, was essential to the program’s success.
These examples are only part of ALN’s story. “We are seeing incredible work being done across the country by ALN alumni,” says Casey’s Mumford, “including work specifically focused on racial and ethnic equity and on community and youth engagement.