CJJ Releases New Resources on Status Offenses

Over the last few months, CJJ has released several new publications related to status offenses as part of our Safety, Opportunity and Success (SOS) Project. 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).    

CJJ created "Making the Case for Status Offense Systems Change: A Toolkit," a set of resources which give judges, juvenile justice professionals and advocates the tools they need to educate others about status offenses and the need for better responses to youth charged with these behaviors. The materials in this toolkit will help users work with a wide range of audiences, including those who do not have extensive knowledge about status offenses or the court system. The toolkit contains talking points on status offenses, a fact sheet that debunks myths about status offenses, a PowerPoint on improving responses to youth charged with status offenses, a brief overview of CJJ's National Standards for the Care of Youth Charged with Status Offenses, and additional resources.

In addition, CJJ released a "Model Policy Guide" outlining key areas of consideration for states that are attempting to craft new legislation related to status offenses and helping policymakers ensure that they have addressed all relevant issues, from pre-court diversion, to provision of programs and services, and a child's right to counsel.

CJJ also published, "Exercising Judicial Leadership to Reform the Care of Non-Delinquent Youth: A Convenor's Action Guide for Developing a Multi-Stakeholder Process," which offers concrete steps for judicial leaders who want to take action to achieve better outcomes for youth charged with status offenses. The Convener Action Guide shares the experiences of judges across the country who have leveraged their roles on the bench to make a difference in the lives of youth and families in need.

"Running Away: Finding Solutions that Work for Youth and their Communities" helps system professionals understand and respond to this complex issue and details alternatives to the detention and methods of prevention for youth who run away. 

The most recent policy guidance, "Status Offenses and Family Engagement," explains why and how policymakers and judicial, legal, law enforcement, justice, social service and school professionals should focus their efforts on providing family-based services and strategies for youth who are at risk or commit status offenses.

These publications were released as a follow up to the National Standards for the Care of Youth Charged with Status Offenses. The National Standards, a set of concrete policy and practice recommendations for avoiding or limiting court involvement for youth charged with non-delinquent offenses, were created as a part of CJJ's Safety, Opportunity and Success (SOS) Project. The Standards have received numerous endorsements from national organizations and extensive traditional and new media coverage. You can learn more about the National Standards here.