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 the Foundation’s probation transformation work.
The training is designed for professionals working with youth involved in the juvenile justice system and their families and 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 protective factors and strengths, rather than merely focus on risk factors and problems.
Training in RJJ is founded on a core curriculum of six course modules designed by SMI in 2015–16 with the input and assistance of specialists and professionals in the field of youth work, child welfare and juvenile justice.
The RJJ curriculum was piloted by SMI in Massachusetts in 2016–17 with 21 professionals representing a variety of agencies and diverse roles serving youth and families involved in the juvenile justice system. In 2018, the Pima County JDAI® site, located in Tucson, Arizona, was selected to replicate RJJ (2.0) 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.
To expand the initiative’s national footprint, the Casey Foundation launched RJJ 3.0 with a Train-the-Trainer Institute. Following a nationwide competition, 15 sites were selected: eight states, four of which partnered with county entities, and seven local jurisdictions. The first RJJ 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.
Because of the COVID-19 global pandemic, this year’s RJJ 4.0 Train-the-Trainer Institute will be held virtually through a series of online training sessions facilitated by SMI and delivered via Zoom with support from our partners at the Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI). We are launching a national competition in August 2020 and anticipate selecting up to 20 sites from around the country that commit to enrolling a team of three trainers to participate in the institute. Selected trainers should plan for approximately 20 hours of online training that will commence in October 2020.
RJJ is open to any state or local coalition of partners serving justice-involved youth, including JDAI sites and other jurisdictions seeking to improve their system and youth outcomes by providing alternatives to system involvement and incarceration, instilling a positive youth development mindset and increasing cross-system collaboration. Applicants must include juvenile probation as members of their overall core leadership group and as participants in local training cohorts. A cross-section of agencies, community- and faith-based organizations, youth and family programs, courts, public education, local law enforcement, parents and family members, system-involved youth and others are encouraged to participate in the local training cohorts.
Leadership Commitment: We need dedicated leaders who are informed; who understand, promote and support systems change; and who are committed to fostering a positive youth development mindset with a cross-systems approach within their jurisdictions.
- A leadership structure is in place that engages and collaborates 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 structure agree to take into consideration innovative policy and practice recommendations that arise out of their jurisdiction’s participation in the institute.
- Applicant agency and program leadership commit to the tenets of the RJJ curriculum and instructional approach as part of professional development offerings within the agency or program and across the jurisdiction.
- A central point of contact from the leadership structure will be designated as the applicant and will help ensure full participation in the RJJ initiative.
Training Investment: We seek applicants committed to investing in the overall RJJ professional development process — approximately 20 hours of synchronous online training, i.e., facilitators and all trainers will meet simultaneously at specific times — and to ensuring that their newly trained instructors are supported and able to deliver the RJJ curriculum within their jurisdictions between January and September 2021.
- Applicants create a trainer-selection process to identify a team of not less than two, but optimally three, experienced juvenile justice professionals who are skilled in adult learning methodologies, embrace the principles of RJJ, can fully commit to the RJJ training calendar and are able to deliver the curriculum between January and September 2021.
- Leadership partners (including agency and program supervisors) commit the necessary time for trainers to attend SMI virtual training sessions, webinars and coaching sessions and to deliver the six, six-hour RJJ course modules between January and September 2021. (In 2021, RJJ local training options may include virtual, face-to-face or blended instruction depending on local circumstances.)
- Applicants must include an outreach and engagement strategy for identifying professionals, youth, family members and others who will constitute the participants in the applicant’s local/state RJJ training cohort.
A three-person training team is optimal and should be comprised of individuals who:
- represent a mix of cultural, ethnic and racial backgrounds that reflect the jurisdiction;
- 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
- are able to commit to the full complement of SMI’s virtual training sessions, webinars, coaching, additional materials and resource review, and the time necessary to plan and deliver the RJJ curriculum between January and September 2021.
The RJJ curriculum consists of six course modules. We are currently designing a fully online RJJ course targeted for release in early 2021; however, all current RJJ course materials and resources are available to RJJ trainers via the RJJ clearinghouse space on JDAIconnect. RJJ training delivery options include:
- an online platform, such as Zoom, where module content can be delivered virtually in smaller blocks of time — trainers work with RJJ coaches to help design an appropriate delivery mechanism and follow up;
- face-to-face in classroom setting — generally a total of six hours of classroom time for each module, for a total of 36 classroom hours; or
- blended or hybrid — once the fully online RJJ curriculum is available, trainers can choose a mix of asynchronous virtual learning (i.e., at a time that works for the individual) of RJJ concepts and materials that can be combined with facilitated discussion and peer review through synchronous online delivery.
The Course Modules
- Introduction to Positive Youth Development Fundamentals
Learn the basic core concepts of positive youth development and its application in the juvenile justice arena. Understand the fundamental interconnections between adolescent brain development and positive youth development. Recognize the developmental assets necessary 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
Challenge and change institutional and structural racism in our youth-serving systems, including dismantling a deficit mindset that skews how decision makers think of youth of color by focusing on their problems rather than potential. Learn to replace this mindset with a framework based on positive youth development. With a diverse stakeholder collaborative, 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 their life-goal planning and decision making. Participants will 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 individual 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. Although there is no one-size-fits-all method for establishing such relationships, professionals can help strengthen family and community ties that recognize and promote their role in the development of youth plans.
- Transforming Policy and Practice: Presentations and Recommendations
To ensure that REEI-informed positive youth development and cross-system strategies become the prevailing framework for juvenile justice systems seeking lasting reform, policies and practices need to be reexamined, refined, often changed, then systematized into a new way of doing business. Recommendations for these changes will be made to leadership within the jurisdiction for action.
Training teams should plan to enroll between 25 and 30 participants for a local cohort roster.
Eligible applicants can apply online. Applications will be accepted through September 15, 2020, and each site must identify their team of three trainers who will participate in the fall institute.
There is no financial cost to participate in the RJJ institute in 2020. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, all sessions will be held virtually, with facilitation by SMI, supported by the Pretrial Justice Institute, and funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. All curriculum materials, resources, coaching support and follow-up will be available to each selected site and RJJ trainer.
Please join us at 2p.m. EDT, on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, for an RJJ 4.0 Webinar
Hear directly from our SMI/Casey/PJI team along with several of our RJJ 3.0 trainers to learn more about the RJJ experience and the implementation of the initiative in different areas around the country. During the 60-minute session you will have an opportunity to hear more about:
- the history of the RJJ institute and the experience/results from recent implementation;
- an overview of the RJJ 4.0 Train-the-Trainer Institute and virtual instructional approach;
- expectations for local implementation of RJJ training in 2021;
- 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 4.0 information page on JDAIconnect, the online community for juvenile justice reform. If you are not already a member of JDAIconnect, please register to ensure your access to all the RJJ information and take full advantage of all the exciting resources available through JDAI. Once registered, please sign up for the webinar on August 25. On the RJJ page on JDAIconnect, you can post a question, learn more about the RJJ experience or connect with SMI or Casey Foundation staff who can answer specific questions about RJJ and the application process.
||RJJ 4.0 Train-the-Trainer Institute Application Process Launched
|Aug. 25, 2020
2 p.m. EDT,
|RJJ 4.0 Informational Webinar: Learn More About the RJJ Experience
Register for the webinar, access additional information and have opportunities to connect with SMI/Casey/PJI staff along with RJJ 3.0 trainers.
|Sept. 15, 2020
||RJJ 4.0 Train-the-Trainers Institute Applications Due
|Sept. 30, 2020
||Finalists Selected and Notified
||Introduction to RJJ: “A Primer for New 4.0 Trainers”
A five-part series of facilitated Zoom sessions.
|Oct. 13, 2020
3–4:30 p.m. EDT
|1. Probation Transformation and JDAI Fundamentals
Trainers independently will take the JDAI Fundamentals course online, to be followed up with a group Zoom meeting on Oct. 13 to debrief and discuss their reflections. Facilitated by SMI and the Foundation, this open forum session is an opportunity for new RJJ 4.0 trainers to gain deeper insight into probation transformation efforts within the Foundation and to better understand the role of RJJ in the change process.
|Oct. 22, 2020
3–3:45 p.m. EDT
Part 1: 45 min
|2. The “Why” of RJJ: Voices From the Field
RJJ 2.0 and 3.0 experiences, including policy and practice recommendations from the initiative, along with a discussion of your role and expectations as a trainer with the RJJ SMI team and peer trainer advisory group.
|Oct. 22, 2020
4–4:45 p.m. EDT
Part 2: 45 min
|3. Getting Started: Leadership and Key Systems Partners Engagement Examples of the kinds of leadership structures and networks, messaging and targeted outreach to local participants, lessons learned and more will be discussed with the RJJ SMI team and peer trainer advisory group.
|Oct. 27, 2020
3–3:45 p.m. EDT
Part 1: 45 min
|4. Introduction to the RJJ Curriculum and Course Modules
Participants will be introduced to the RJJ Curriculum Map and the clearinghouse of resources on JDAIconnect to familiarize themselves with the curriculum, content and learning objectives.
|Oct. 27, 2020
Part 2: 45 min
|5. The Coaching Connection
Overview of coaching opportunities available throughout the process, including access to SMI/Casey/PJI staff and the RJJ 3.0 trainer advisory group, and participation in the national RJJ peer trainer network.
||RJJ 4.0 Training Nuts and Bolts: An In-Depth Look at Module Delivery
A six-part series consisting of two-and-a-half-hour online training sessions covering core module content, examples of instructional strategies and resources/tools for delivering the RJJ curriculum. A short break will be provided during each session.
|Nov. 4, 2020
2:30–5 p.m. EST
|1. Introduction to Positive Youth Development Fundamentals
|Nov. 10, 2020
2:30–5 p.m. EST
|2. Utilizing a Cross-Systems Approach
|Nov. 12, 2020
2:30–5 p.m. EST
|3. Racial and Ethnic Equity and Inclusion in the Juvenile Justice System
|Nov. 17, 2020
2:30–5 p.m. EST
|4. Engaging Youth Voice and Empowering Youth Leadership
|Nov. 19, 2020
2:30–5 p.m. EST
|5. Fostering Positive Family Relationships in the Juvenile Justice System
|Nov. 23, 2020
2:30–5 p.m. EST
|6. Transforming Policy and Practice: Presentations and Recommendations
||Planning for Local RJJ Implementation
Trainers will schedule a 60-minute session with their RJJ Coach and Peer Advisor to develop a local implementation plan for RJJ delivery in 2021.
|Dec. 15, 2020
3:30–5 p.m. EST
|Peer Network Webinar: Putting It All Together
Trainers share plans, problem solve and get ready for 2021!
||Stay tuned for our schedule of regular RJJ Peer Network sessions and webinars in 2021.
Please contact David E. Brown, senior associate at the Casey Foundation. Also, you can post a question and learn more on the RJJ 4.0 information page on the JDAIconnect online community.