Reimagining Juvenile Justice (RJJ) is a professional development initiative sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and delivered through School & Main Institute (SMI), a nationally recognized nonprofit training organization located in Boston, Massachusetts. RJJ advances many of the core elements of positive youth development approaches that identify the positive aspects of a young person’s life and build on those strengths and interests.
The training is designed for professionals working with youth involved in the juvenile justice system and their families. It aims to develop the capacity of professionals to support, divert and redirect youth to appropriate and fair justice options, including those requiring a high degree of cross-system collaboration and coordination. The training is based on research on adolescent development that shows youth thrive in a positive environment with the support of caring adults. RJJ’s positive youth development framework encourages juvenile justice professionals to focus on young people’s strengths, rather than merely focus on needs and problems.
Training in RJJ is founded on a core curriculum of six course modules initially designed by SMI in 2016 with the input and assistance of specialists and professionals in the field of youth work, child welfare and juvenile justice. The modules are continuously updated with current information from the field.
The RJJ approach has developed over the following stages, beginning in 2016.
- Pilot: In 2016–17, the RJJ curriculum was piloted by SMI in Massachusetts with 21 professionals representing a variety of agencies and diverse roles serving youth and families involved in the juvenile justice system.
- 2.0: In 2018, the Pima County JDAI® site, located in Tucson, Arizona, was selected to replicate an updated version of RJJ in their jurisdiction. Twenty-eight participants — representing a range of professions from probation, detention, public education, local law enforcement, public defender, county attorney and community-based services, and including parents and youth — completed the training.
- 3.0: In 2019, to expand the initiative’s national footprint, the Casey Foundation launched RJJ 3.0 with a Train-the-Trainer Institute. From a nationwide competitive application process, 15 sites were selected: eight states, four of which partnered with county entities, and seven local jurisdictions. The first RJJ 3.0 Train-the-Trainer Institute was held in May 2019 and provided a unique, hands-on training experience for 34 trainers who participated as teams from each selected jurisdiction. The institute was designed to equip trainers with the concepts, curriculum and instructional approach necessary to bring RJJ back to their home jurisdiction. As a result, the trainers delivered the RJJ curriculum to over 450 additional youth justice professionals between July 2019 and January 2020 and continue to deliver the RJJ curriculum through both virtual and in-person sessions.
- 4.0: In 2020, the RJJ 4.0 Train-the-Trainer Institute was held virtually. Through a competitive process, 16 jurisdictions from around the country were selected. They collectively enrolled 60 participants, and this new cadre of trainers went on to train over 300 local participants.
- 5.0: In 2022, teams from up to 12 jurisdictions will have the opportunity to participate in the latest Training-for-Trainers Institute (see below).
In 2022, the RJJ Training-for-Trainer Institute will be delivered in two phases to teams from up to 12 jurisdictions.
- Phase 1 is for three to five trainers per jurisdiction. It will run from Aug. 30, 2022, through Oct. 11, 2022 and include a 60-minute “Intro to RJJ” orientation and six 90-minute facilitated virtual sessions at weekly intervals. On their own time before each virtual session, the trainers will view RJJ curriculum modules in an e‑learning format. The virtual sessions will be used for peer-to-peer learning, with facilitated discussion of the learning objectives of the modules, key concepts and application to youth justice work.
- Phase 2 is for two trainers per jurisdiction (each jurisdiction will select two from among its attendees of Phase I). The two trainers will attend an in-person 2½-day Training-for-Trainers (T4T) Institute in Denver Oct. 18–20, 2022. At the Institute, trainers will study the course modules and adult teaching and learning principles; hear from current RJJ trainers about their own experiences with implementation and results; and develop local RJJ roll-out plans for local delivery. Following the RJJ T4T Institute, the jurisdiction’s team of trainers will be paired with a national coach to help support local implementation strategies.
Public systems or government agencies that work with youth in the justice system may apply as a single entity, in partnership with another agency or in partnership with a local non-system partner. Preference will be given to applications that are submitted jointly by a public system and a local non-system partner.
- Examples of public systems are juvenile court, probation, law enforcement and local education agencies.
- Examples of local partners are nonprofit community-based organizations providing diversion, alternatives to confinement and/or support for youth involved in the juvenile justice system.
Leadership Commitment: Transformative work takes time. Reimagining juvenile justice requires dedicated leaders who promote and support systems change and are committed to fostering a positive youth development mindset across systems that serve youth within their community and/or jurisdiction.
- Applicants must identify a leadership group or network of system and community partners with the authority and influence to address policies and practices within their respective agencies and programs. This group should include someone in a leadership role from at least one juvenile justice system and/or agency (preferably juvenile court, juvenile probation or local law enforcement). Applicants’ leadership groups or networks must engage and collaborate with a variety of youth-serving agencies and professionals, including but not limited to probation, youth detention, child welfare, public education, community-based organizations, parents and family, local law enforcement, courts, public defenders, youth and faith-based organizations.
- Partners within the leadership group commit to promoting RJJ within their systems and/or agencies, including allocating time for participating staff to attend training and deliver the training locally.
- Partners within the leadership group agree to consider policy and practice recommendations offered by their participants in RJJ. This includes a commitment to participate in the final RJJ module, Transforming Policy and Practice, to hear recommendations that emerge from the participant cohort.
- The application will designate a leader as a central point of contact. That leader will encourage full participation in the RJJ initiative and maintain communication with SMI.
Training Investment: Applicants should demonstrate commitment to investing in the overall RJJ professional development process and meet the following requirements:
- Applicants create a process to identify their team of three to five experienced juvenile justice professionals who are skilled in adult learning methodologies, embrace the principles of RJJ, can fully commit to the RJJ training calendar (see below) and are able to deliver the curriculum between November 2022 and April 2023.
- Leadership partners (including agency and program supervisors) commit the necessary time for trainers to do the following:
- All members of the team attend the Phase 1 virtual training sessions: a 60-minute “Intro to RJJ” Orientation and six 90-minute facilitated virtual sessions held weekly August 30, 2022, through October 11, 2022;
- Two members of the team attend the Phase 2 Training-for-Trainers (T4T) Institute, a 2½ day in-person session held in Denver from October 18–20, 2022;
- All members of the team participate in one-hour virtual coaching sessions, held monthly from Nov. 2022 to Apr. 2023;
- All members of the team plan, schedule and prepare for the local delivery of the RJJ curriculum with the other members of their team and in collaboration with local leadership; and,
- All members of the team deliver the RJJ course modules between Nov. 2022 and Apr. 2023. Depending on local circumstances, the training could be delivered virtually virtual, in-person or through a hybrid of virtual and in-person instruction. For planning purposes, anticipate six hours of classroom time per module, for a total of 36 classroom hours. The RJJ e‑learning modules will also be integrated into the T4T and will be made available for local training.
- Applicants must include an outreach and engagement strategy to enroll 25 to 30 participants for their local or state RJJ training cohort.
- Consider including participants with the following affiliations: government, public and nonprofit agencies, community and faith-based organizations, youth and family programs, courts, public education, local law enforcement, parents and family members and youth with justice system involvement.
A five-person training team is optimal and should be composed of individuals who:
- represent a mix of cultural, ethnic and racial backgrounds that reflect the community;
- have demonstrated their effectiveness in delivering some form of professional development and are able to create dynamic, interactive learning experiences for adult learners;
- can connect with others, transfer knowledge on youth development with authority, apply principles promoted in the RJJ curriculum and understand their trainees’ perspectives; and
- can commit time to the full complement of SMI’s virtual training sessions, T4T Institute, coaching, review of materials and resources and planning for and delivering the RJJ curriculum locally between November 2022 and April 2023.
The Course Modules
- Positive Youth Development Fundamentals
Learn the basic core concepts of positive youth development and their application in the juvenile justice arena. Understand the fundamental connections between adolescent brain development and positive youth development. Recognize what is needed for a youth’s healthy growth and explore new ideas and strategies for how to integrate positive youth development principles into practice.
- Utilizing a Cross-Systems Approach
Understand the nature of collaboration and the basic steps and stages of building cross-sector relationships. Learn ways to identify, access, navigate and leverage the diverse youth-serving systems, opportunities and resources that exist in the community. Recognize that divergent views and relationships often existing between and across youth-serving professionals and systems can be negotiated by addressing mutual self-interest and by being accountable to shared goals and a common vision of results.
- Addressing Race and Ethnic Equity and Inclusion Issues in Policy and Practice
Identify and challenge discriminatory policies and practices in our youth-serving systems and shift mindsets that focus on problems rather than potential for youth of color. Learn a framework based on positive youth development and, working with a diverse group of stakeholders, explore strategies for eliminating policies and practices that have a disparate effect on youth of color.
- Engaging Youth Voice and Empowering Youth Leadership
Youth have the right, responsibility and power to be architects of planning and decision making about their goals and path in life. Gain a better understanding of how to build healthy and productive relationships with youth and both identify and advocate for opportunities to help youth thrive and create their own pathway to success.
- Fostering Positive Family Relationships in the Juvenile Justice System
Establishing positive, authentic and trusting relationships with the parents and families of youth in the justice system is essential to helping youth participate in and transition successfully from placements into positive community life. Learn to strengthen family and community ties in ways that recognize and promote their role in the development of youth plans.
- Transforming Policy and Practice: Presentations and Recommendations
Learn to examine policies and practices to ensure that juvenile justice systems sustain reform using positive youth development and working across youth-serving systems. Develop recommendations for leadership within each jurisdiction.
The RJJ curriculum modules are being released in an e‑learning training format in 2022 and will be used to support RJJ teaching and learning. All RJJ course modules and resources also are available to RJJ trainers via an RJJ group space on JDAIconnect.
When the trainers conduct their local RJJ programming between November 2022 and April 2023, they could choose to do so virtually, in-person or a hybrid of the two.
Eligible applicants can apply online at RJJ 5.0 T4T 2022 through July 22, 2022. Applications must identify their team of up to five (5) trainers, two (2) of whom will participate in the October 18–20, 2022, T4T Institute.
There is no cost to participate in the Phase 1 virtual training sessions. There are costs associated with Phase 2. Applicants are responsible for the travel and daily costs to send one participant to the in-person T4T institute in Denver. SMI, through the Casey Foundation, will cover the cost of the second participant in the two-person team. These expenses are estimated at $1,000–$1,500, depending on travel costs to Denver. Representatives of efforts led by community-based organizations should indicate in their application if they will need additional financial support to have a second trainer participate in the Institute.
Watch the June 28 information session from the SMI and Casey team along with several RJJ 3.0 and 4.0 trainers about the RJJ experience and the implementation of the initiative in different areas around the country. During the video, you will learn:
- a brief history of the RJJ model and results from recent implementation;
- an overview of the RJJ 5.0 Training-for-Trainers Institute Phase 1 and Phase 2;
- expectations for local delivery and implementation of RJJ in 2022–23;
- what applicants need to know to apply and what to expect if selected; and
- frequently asked questions and answers.
Interested applicants can also visit the RJJ 5.0 page on JDAIconnect Training.
Not yet a member of JDAIconnect? Follow these five easy steps to set up your account. On JDAIconnect, you will be able to access RJJ information and link to many exciting youth justice resources.
- Visit partners.aecf.org (you will be redirected to the login screen on Casey’s Community Café.
- Click on “Don’t have an account or need help” link below login options.
- Click “Create Account,” fill in your information. Click “Register” to complete the account set up.
- Once in the Community Café, click on the “add apps” to add JDAIconnect to your homepage.
- Click on the JDAIconnect button to enter the community.
|June 16, 2022
||Applications Process Opens for RJJ 5.0 Training-for-Trainers Institute
|June 28, 2022
4–5 p.m. ET,
|Informational Webinar for RJJ 5.0 with SMI and Casey staff, plus experienced RJJ 3.0 and 4.0 trainers.
|July 22, 2022
||Applications Due for RJJ 5.0 Training-for-Trainers Institute
|Aug. 12, 2022
||Finalists Selected and Notified
||Phase 1: Facilitated Virtual Training Sessions
A five-part series of facilitated Zoom sessions.
|Aug. 30, 2022
4—5 p.m. ET
|Introduction to RJJ
Participants will be introduced to the RJJ model, including a brief look at the history; the six-part series of training sessions; an overview of the kinds of policy and practice recommendations that have emerged; and a preview of the fall T4T Institute.
|Sept. 6, 2022
3:30–5 p.m. ET
|1. Introduction to Positive Youth Development Fundamentals
|Sept. 13, 2022
3:30–5 p.m. ET
|2. Addressing Race and Ethnic Equity and Inclusion Issues in Policy and Practice
|Sept. 20, 2022
3:30–5 p.m. ET
|3. Engaging Youth Voice and Empowering Youth Leadership
|Sept. 27, 2022
3:30–5 p.m. ET
|4. Fostering Positive Family Relationships in the Juvenile Justice System
|Oct. 4, 2022
3:30–5 p.m. ET
|5. Utilizing a Cross-Systems Approach to Youth Service
|Oct. 11, 2022
3:30–5 p.m. ET
|6. Transforming Policy and Practice: Presentations and Recommendations
||Phase 2: In-Person Institute
|Oct. 18–20, 2020
||RJJ Training-for-Trainers Institute
2.5‑day RJJ T4T Institute held in Denver, Colorado
|Nov. 2022–April 2023
New Trainers will meet monthly from Nov. through Apr. with their SMI coach for guidance on planning and delivering the RJJ training locally.
Please contact David Brown, senior associate at the Annie E. Casey Foundation at [email protected]aecf.org or Kathy Flynn Woodland, director of Field Services at SMI, [email protected]schoolandmain.org.