FAMILY Comes First provides a framework for examining the important role families can and should play in the juvenile justice system. This document provides an executive summary of findings and recommendations for transforming the juvenile justice system through family engagement.
Putting families first can have a transformative effect on the juvenile justice system
Findings & Stats
The report recommends that agencies working with children and families in the juvenile justice system should appoint a coordinator for family engagement activities and programs.
It is recommended that a National Technical Assistance Center on Family Engagement be established to provide support for local agencies interested in better engaging families in their programs.
Instead of incentivizing incarceration and residential programs, states should adopt strategies that focus on funding prevention and community-based approaches.
Statements & Quotations
Given the history of the juvenile justice system, which has historically kept families at arm's length, coupled with organizational and fiscal challenges facing agencies today, it is not surprising that many justice systems are struggling to meet the needs of families.
A paradigm shift is underway in juvenile justice - one that recognizes that families are the most knowledgeable experts in their children's lives. System stakeholders are working together with families to break down stereotypes and stigma, engage families in individual treatment decisions and larger policy reforms, and prepare youth for productive futures.
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