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Today, the Coalition for Juvenile Justice released its National Standards for the Care of Youth Charged with Status Offenses, concrete policy and practice recommendations for avoiding or limiting court involvement for youth charged with non-delinquent offenses. A status offense is conduct that would not be a crime if committed by an adult (e.g. truancy, running away, violating curfew laws, or possessing alcohol or tobacco).
The National Standards call for an end to all secure detention for these young people. Research shows that status offense behaviors are often the result of unmet child and family needs, and that pushing these youth into the juvenile justice system worsens individual and community outcomes. The National Standards promote system reform and changes in system culture, and the adoption and implementation of research-supported policies, programs, and practices that effectively meet the needs of youth, their families, and the community without unwarranted justice system involvement.
The National Standards were developed over two years by an expert advisory group comprised of representatives from various jurisdictions, disciplines and perspectives, including juvenile and family court judges, child welfare and juvenile defense attorneys, juvenile corrections and detention administrators, community-based service providers, and practitioners with expertise in responding to gender-specific needs.
Among the state and national groups that have already endorsed the National Standards are the National PTA, The Trevor Project, Youth Law Center, and several Juvenile Justice State Advisory Groups. For a full list of organizations that have endorsed, the complete text of the National Standards, information about requesting a training, and additional content on some of the issues covered by the National Standards, please visit the Safety, Opportunity & Success project page.
If you are interested in endorsing, supporting, or disseminating the Standards, please contact Lisa Pilnik, Consultant for CJJ at [email protected] or (301) 605-0560. For all other questions please contact Katie Mercier, CJJ Digital and Member Communications Manager, at [email protected] or (202) 467-0864, ext. 125.