Nate Balis Named Director of the Juvenile Justice Strategy Group

Posted April 9, 2014
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Newsrelease natebalisnameddirector 2014

Nate Balis has been named the direc­tor of the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion’s Juve­nile Jus­tice Strat­e­gy Group (JJSG) effec­tive July 1, suc­ceed­ing Bart Lubow, who announced his retire­ment ear­li­er this year. Balis brings to this role more than 15 years of expe­ri­ence in juve­nile jus­tice, social pol­i­cy, research, eval­u­a­tion and sys­tem reform. Since 2007, Balis has been a senior asso­ciate at the Foun­da­tion focus­ing on juve­nile jus­tice reform.

Most recent­ly, Balis has led the JJSG’s efforts to expand the work of local Juve­nile Deten­tion Alter­na­tives Ini­tia­tive (JDAI) sites to the dis­po­si­tion­al end of the sys­tem. While work­ing to devel­op a scal­able approach, he is help­ing local juris­dic­tions safe­ly reduce incar­cer­a­tion and oth­er out-of-home place­ments while intro­duc­ing inno­va­tions to help local stake­hold­ers improve their juve­nile jus­tice systems.

Nate BalisBalis pre­vi­ous­ly led con­sult­ing engage­ments in Alaba­ma and New York City aimed at safe­ly reduc­ing incar­cer­a­tion and expand­ing com­mu­ni­ty-based alter­na­tives. He man­aged tech­ni­cal assis­tance to sites, data analy­sis and train­ing; built rela­tion­ships with sys­tem lead­ers and com­mu­ni­ty stake­hold­ers; led and super­vised teams of staff and con­sul­tants; and devel­oped new tools to sup­port the Foundation’s work. Through his lead­er­ship, the Foun­da­tion helped New York City lead­ers intro­duce prac­tice and pol­i­cy reforms to improve deci­sion mak­ing, case plan­ning and man­age­ment as the city worked to imple­ment the land­mark Close to Home” leg­is­la­tion. The num­ber of youth in res­i­den­tial place­ment in New York has declined by more than a third since the Foun­da­tion began work­ing with city lead­ers in 2010. Com­mit­ments to state con­fine­ment in Alaba­ma have declined by more than 50 per­cent since Casey began work­ing with the state in 2007.

For over 20 years, the Foun­da­tion has been com­mit­ted to advanc­ing a nation­al move­ment to safe­ly reduce youth con­fine­ment,” said Patrick McCarthy, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion. Nate is a leader with the vision, ener­gy and skills to work with Foun­da­tion staff, advo­cates and deci­sion mak­ers to accel­er­ate pos­i­tive reforms in the juve­nile jus­tice sys­tem. His strengths in site man­age­ment, data analy­sis, ini­tia­tive design and com­mit­ment to race equi­ty will be tremen­dous assets in lead­ing the Foundation’s juve­nile jus­tice work in the years ahead.”

Pri­or to join­ing the Foun­da­tion, Balis worked at the Dis­trict of Colum­bia Depart­ment of Youth Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Ser­vices, where he helped man­age the District’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in JDAI, insti­tut­ed a sys­tem to track per­for­mance mea­sures and pro­vid­ed rec­om­men­da­tions to help imple­ment juve­nile jus­tice reforms. As a for­mer Dis­trict of Colum­bia Gov­ern­ment Cap­i­tal City Fel­low, he devel­oped rec­om­men­da­tions to help child wel­fare, juve­nile jus­tice and pub­lic school sys­tems pre­vent child fatal­i­ties. Balis began his career as a research asso­ciate devel­op­ing and ana­lyz­ing sur­veys on social pol­i­cy for non­prof­its, cor­po­ra­tions and the pub­lic sec­tor. He has a long­stand­ing inter­est in and focus on help­ing sys­tems make equi­table deci­sions to reduce dis­pro­por­tion­ate con­fine­ment of young peo­ple of color.

Balis said his most impor­tant goal is to help sys­tems see chil­dren in their cus­tody as dis­tinct­ly dif­fer­ent from adults, to make bet­ter deci­sions about young peo­ple in trou­ble and to include fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties as vital parts of the solu­tion. We know chil­dren reach their full poten­tial and have the best chance at suc­cess if they grow up in fam­i­lies, not insti­tu­tions,” he said. With juve­nile crime at a 40-year low and the emer­gence of research that gives us new insight into the role of ado­les­cent devel­op­ment in delin­quen­cy, we are at an oppor­tune moment for juve­nile jus­tice sys­tems across the nation to invest in what leads to the best out­comes for youth and com­mu­ni­ty safety.”

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