Fifty Years of Transforming Youth Justice
On Dec. 6, Child Trends and the Coalition for Juvenile Justice — two partners of the Annie E. Casey Foundation — hosted 50 Years of Transforming Youth Justice: Reflections, Remaining Challenges and a Path Forward. The webinar kicked off a series of events tied to the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, which established the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
During the 90-minute session, juvenile justice experts, reform advocates and professionals who administer the Act at the federal and state levels weighed in on issues of interest to organizations that advocate for youth justice reform. They discussed the history, significance and remaining challenges of transforming youth justice systems and where more progress must occur to fully realize the Act’s initial vision.
“The anniversary of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act is important because it marks a fundamental understanding at the national level of critical aspects of youth development and best practices in juvenile justice,” says Steve Bishop, the Foundation’s associate director for Probation and System Transformation and the webinar’s moderator. “The Act also sets the stage for necessary conversations about what is needed to adopt and implement policies that promote youth development in today’s world.”
- Shay Bilchik, founder and director emeritus, Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, Georgetown University
- John Choi, county attorney, Ramsey County, Minnesota
- Michelle Diaz, member, New York State Juvenile Justice Advisory Group; alumna, Casey’s Youth Advisory Council
- Ramona Gonzalez, circuit court judge, La Crosse County, Wisconsin
- Jill Ward, director, Center for Youth Policy and Law, University of Maine School of Law
About the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency and Prevention
Signed into law on Sept. 7, 1974, the Act established the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, a component of the Office of Justice Programs within the U.S. Department of Justice. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is led by Administrator Liz Ryan. Its goal is to help “states, localities and tribes develop effective and equitable juvenile justice systems that create safer communities and empower youth to lead productive lives.”