Ending Girls’ Incarceration in California

A New Action Network for Counties Leading the Way

Applications Due February 28, 2023

Addressing the disparities that drive girls’ incarceration is an urgent matter of race and gender equity. Girls and gender expansive youth of color—particularly Black, Native American, and Latina youth—have largely been left out of juvenile justice reforms, and communities typically lack the gender-responsive programming that is needed to prevent their incarceration.

Having already made significant progress in bringing the number of girls incarcerated to historic lows, California is now positioned to lead the country in taking the steps needed to further reduce—and ultimately end—girls’ incarceration. It’s time for California to address long-standing race and gender disparities and invest in the programs that girls and gender expansive youth of color need to thrive in their communities.

Vera and California’s Office of Youth and Community Restoration (OYCR) are partnering to reduce and eventually eliminate girls’ incarceration in California. The End Girls’ Incarceration in California (EGI-CA) Action Network aims to support California counties in implementing court-based policy changes and community-based programming that will help keep young people out of court and incarceration, address race and gender disparities in the youth legal system, and promote the well-being of girls and gender expansive youth in the community. Through the EGI-CA Action Network, four selected counties—led by their probation offices in collaboration with other system leaders—will receive technical assistance, connections to national and local experts, access to resources on national best practices and research, and opportunities to learn from and support their peers in California and nationally. The selected counties will also receive funding from OYCR to support participation in the Network, with the potential to receive a second year of funding based on successful completion of Network deliverables.

What is the Ending Girls’ Incarceration in California (EGI-CA) Action Network?

Through the EGI-CA Network, leadership in four selected counties (“sites”) will receive training and technical assistance for one year based on EGI’s core curriculum for ending girls’ incarceration. Sites will be led by their local probation departments, which will work in partnership with various court actors, other key child-serving systems, and community stakeholders to implement changes. The curriculum draws on best practice research and lessons learned from Vera’s experience partnering with communities to end girls’ incarceration in California and across the country. With Vera’s guidance, sites will disrupt the drivers of girls’ incarceration through court-based policy and practice changes and investments in community-based services that best meet the needs of young people. Throughout the Network process, Vera will support sites in executing a locally tailored collaborative process to apply the curriculum and implement reform in a manner that is best suited to their local communities and the needs of young people impacted by their legal system. Site leaders will share and learn from each other, EGI, and national and California-based experts about challenges, promising practices, and lessons learned towards ending girls’ incarceration. The Network will operate for one calendar year, at which point the first cohort of sites will have the opportunity to apply for additional support and funding from OYCR. (See the application for more information.)

EGI-CA Action Network Application

Download the Application

Site Selection Timeline


Target Date

Application release

January 18, 2023

Q&A session for interested counties

February 7, 2023 at 10am PT

Register for the webinar here

Site selection process, including
candidate interviews

January 23 – March 17, 2023

Application submission deadline

No later than February 28, 2023

Announcement of selected sites

By March 24, 2023

Site onboarding and orientation, including
signing the grant agreement with OYCR

March 20 – April 21, 2023

What is Vera's National Initiative to End Girls’ Incarceration?

This project is part of Vera’s national Initiative to End Girls’ Incarceration (EGI), which aims to zero out the number of young people who are incarcerated on the girls’ side of the country’s youth legal system. Getting to zero is ambitious but achievable: on a given day, most states have fewer than 150 young people in girls’ long-term placement facilities—many of whom are there for low level offenses such as simple assault and petty theft charges.1

Since EGI was launched in 2017, Vera has successfully worked in jurisdictions across the country, including New York City, Hawaii, Maine, North Dakota, and Santa Clara County (California). Through this initiative, Vera works with leadership from juvenile justice and other child-serving agencies (including mental health, child welfare, and housing), advocates, service providers, and directly impacted young people to identify the local drivers of girls’ incarceration, develop court-based policy and practice solutions that stop girls and gender expansive youth from entering detention and placement, and build the gender responsive, community-based programs needed to properly support them at home.

Building Off Success in Santa Clara County, CA

In June 2022, Santa Clara County, California—a county of nearly two million people—celebrated the one-year anniversary of having zero girls in their long-term placement facility and maintaining an average daily population of two or fewer young people in the girls’ unit of its short-term detention facility.

"Here in Santa Clara County, our focus has shifted to building programs and services that girls need in their communities so they don't stay in Juvenile Hall—and it’s working. This Network brings to the others in the state the resources and know-how that were instrumental in our ability to zero out girls’ incarceration in Santa Clara County."

- Nick Birchard, assistant chief probation officer, Santa Clara County Department of Probation

Check out the video below to hear from Vera’s partners in Santa Clara County about the importance and success of the work to end girls’ incarceration. This webinar also provides more information on the process and solutions that took place in Santa Clara.

1 Easy Access to OJJDP Juvenile Court Statistics 1985 – 2019, National estimates of juvenile court processing for delinquency cases involving female, Detained: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/ezajcs/asp/process.asp?JCSCF_ID=qa06601&type_num=2&group_num=3&submit=Update+Table