Vera’s experts conduct research and analysis and develop policies and programs in a variety of criminal and social justice fields. Their varied knowledge, background, and experience enable Vera to address the full spectrum of national and local justice issues.
Vidhya Ananthakrishnan is a project director in Vera’s Center on Youth Justice. In this role, she designs and manages an array of projects aimed at reforming juvenile justice systems. In recent years, her work has included planning and conducting diagnostic assessments of juvenile justice systems; reviewing promising programs, policies, and funding mechanisms for serving youth at different system points; and providing implementation assistance to government partners pursuing new initiatives. Currently, she is leading two key projects within the Center: the implementation of Youth Futures, a multi-site initiative funded by the Department of Labor that aims to improve the labor market and education prospects of juvenile justice-involved youth in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New Orleans, and the launch of the Status Offense Reform Center, an online resource center designed to help jurisdictions respond to youth who commit status offenses—problematic behaviors, such as skipping school or running away, that are prohibited by law only because of their minor status—outside of the formal court system. Before joining Vera in 2008 as a senior program associate, Vidhya worked as a senior analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, where she conducted evaluations of different federal workforce and transit programs. Earlier in her career, she served as a youth policy advocate at the Neighborhood Family Services Coalition, where she directed a campaign to secure funding for summer jobs in New York City. Vidhya has a bachelor's degree in economics and international studies from Northwestern University and a master's degree in public policy from George Washington University.
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