New national standards for family engagement in juvenile justice agencies

Ryan Shanahan Director, Restoring Promise
May 01, 2013

April marked the national rollout of the Family-Youth Initiative (FYI). FYI is a joint project of the Vera Institute of Justice and the Performance-based Standards Learning Institute (PbSLi) that sets standards for juvenile justice agencies on engaging and including families in the lives of children under the agencies’ care. 

The Family Justice Program has long supported juvenile justice practitioners’ experience that young people with family support have better outcomes than those without it. While the addition of practices to enhance youth involvement with their families has yielded great benefits for young people, there is still much to learn. The family engagement standards will help juvenile justice agency leaders identify and implement ways to better involve families and then measure that impact on other parts of their agency’s operations. They will be able to look at data across the system—matching family standards to outcomes in education, safety, mental health, and reentry. The potential rewards to the field—and to youth in these facilities—is enormous. 
 
This is a truly exciting time, and Vera was honored to help PbSLi support the field with a new way to measure the impact of positive family and social support for young people who are incarcerated.