For youth in the juvenile justice system, frequent family visits are incredibly important—studies show that youth who receive more visits than their peers have fewer behavioral incidents, better educational outcomes, and more rapid reduction in depression symptoms.

To better engage youth’s families, Vera’s Center on Youth Justice (CYJ)—in partnership with Justice for Families (J4F) and with funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation—is working with the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) so they are prepared to focus on families’ needs and concerns. By improving DJJ policies and programming, this project aims to strengthen family relationships and support youth involved in the system.

Project Objectives

  • Strengthen families and communities by promoting family involvement for youth in the juvenile justice system.

  • Support youth in the juvenile justice system by directly involving them in reforming DJJ policies and procedures. 

  • Train DJJ staff on family engagement tools to create sustainable relationships with families and communities.