Vera’s Center on Youth Justice will launch the online Status Offense Reform Center to help jurisdictions rethink and reform their approach to working with youth charged with status offenses. Disobedient but not delinquent, these young people have acted out in ways that raise the concern of the adults in their lives. A member of the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change Resource Center Partnership, the center will serve as a one-stop shop of information and practical guidance for policymakers and practitioners interested in preventing youth who engage in problematic but noncriminal behavior, such as truancy or running away, from entering the juvenile justice system and providing them with services and supports in the community better suited to meet their needs.
Across the country, young people who have committed status offenses too often wind up in court rooms and detention facilities, which are ill-equipped to provide them and their families with the assistance they urgently need. The use of justice system interventions to respond to juvenile noncriminal misbehavior is expensive and frequently does more harm than good. At a time when public officials are looking to make the most of scarce resources, comprehensive reform of status offense systems promises to reduce costs while at the same time enhance prevention and diversion services and improve outcomes for youth, families, and communities. Increasingly, leaders from diverse jurisdictions recognize the need for status offense system reform, but many lack the tools and guidance they need to act.
The online Status Offense Reform Center will address this gap by providing guidance and tools to practitioners and policymakers interested in reforming local responses to and treatment of status offending youth and their families while also highlighting the important role that status offense system reform plays in the broader juvenile justice dialogue. The user-friendly, interactive website will include a range of resources, such as a toolkit for planning, implementing, and sustaining comprehensive status offense system reform; profiles of reform efforts occurring around the United States; research briefs on topics related to status offense behaviors; and webinars and podcasts that explore the latest research as well as lessons learned from the field. The site will also feature a blog and a helpdesk to respond to inquiries for additional information or assistance.
Anticipated Launch Date: December 2013
Project Director, Center on Youth Justice
Vera Institute of Justice
233 Broadway, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10279
The Status Offense Reform Center is a member of the Models for Change
Resource Center Partnership.