This fall, the Vera Institute of Justice is convening a series of research-based, educational briefings on adolescent brain research, the systemic causes of youth contact with the justice system, and the implications for future legal standards and best practices. To begin this series, Vera held a Kick Off event which included a short panel discussion on the research behind adolescent brain development, as well as a screening of the critically acclaimed film Kids for Cash. Following this event, there will be seven “deep dive” policy briefings throughout the next few months that will each focus on a specific topic, where Vera will bring in noted experts and practitioners in the field.


  • Kick Off Event: Adolescent Development Expert Science and Legal Perspective, followed by a screening of “Kids for Cash” September 5, 2014
  • Making Court the Last Resort: Youth and Expert Voices on System Change September 18, 2014
  • Examining the First Point of Contact: Youth Risk and Needs Assessment Tools October 9, 2014
  • Meeting their Needs: Identifying and Treating Youth with Behavior Health Disorders October 22, 2014
  • Raising the Bar: The Lawyer’s Role in Promoting Youth Justice November 17, 2014
  • Working Together: Family Engagement with the Juvenile Justice System December 17, 2014
  • Returning Home: Creating Paths for Success in Communities January 9, 2015
  • Connecting the Dots: How Interagency Collaboration Can Better Serve Vulnerable Youth January 21, 2015
  • Wrap up event: Narrowing the Net, Plugging the Pipeline and Expanding Consideration of Special Populations February 6, 2015