Youth Engagement

CJJ places a high priority on youth involvement in juvenile justice reform.  Youth members offer a unique perspective. Often, youth leaders best understand what policies, programs and changes will be most effective. The youth voice is vital to CJJ’s mission and students are an especially integral part of CJJ’s coalition.  We have several events, projects, resources, and opportunities that aim to engage youth.

Youth Members

We welcome youth leaders to join CJJ as SAG members or as Student Members or Members at Large. Youth members can serve on leadership committees, receive discounts on conference registration and priority registration for webinars, and participate in information sharing and peer support across a network of 7,000 juvenile justice advocates. Click here to see how to get involved as a youth member.

CJJ’s Emerging Leaders Committee

Anyone who is serving on their State Advisory Group, who has previous or current juvenile justice involvement, and/or who is interested in juvenile justice reform is eligible to join the CJJ Emerging Leaders Committee. Applicants must be 16 to 24 years old. CJJ supports the Emerging Leaders Committee to ensure that youth perspectives are represented in all aspects and functions of CJJ’s work, as well as CJJ’s communications with state and federal policymakers. Emerging Leaders Committee members help to shape the overall program and policy agenda for CJJ and perform several other important duties, including:

  • Coordinating, reviewing, and selecting the recipient of the annual CJJ Spirit of Youth Award;
  • Developing and implementing educational training programs for youth and adult SAG members;
  • Convening committee meetings and networking events for youth members at CJJ conferences;
  • Participating in Hill Day visits (with congressional representatives); and
  • Orienting new youth members to the work of the SAGs and CJJ, through the publication of resources and ongoing information sharing.
Learn more about CJJ's ELC here. 
OJJDP's Police & Youth Engagement Project

Youth from across the country are being brought together to share their thoughts and experiences with law enforcement leaders. Participants will take part in a two-day long training and conversation, which is scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C. in late April 2016. Insights shared by the youth and law enforcement leaders who attend this gathering will be used to inform the curriculum of a national law enforcement training institute as well as resources for law enforcement across the nation.

This effort is funded by the U. S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). In Fiscal Year 2015, OJJDP competitively selected the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), in partnership with the Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ) to manage this effort. OJJDP is a federal office that envisions a nation where our children are healthy, educated, and free from violence. If they come into contact with the juvenile justice system, the contact should be rare, fair, and beneficial to them. The IACP is dedicated to advancing the law enforcement profession through advocacy, outreach, education and programs by developing and implementing state-of-the-art policies, practices, training/education and technical assistance programs. 
Youth Summit

In 2013, CJJ began hosting an annual Youth Summit, which brought together young people interested in juvenile justice reform from around the country. The Summit aims to cultivate and empower a body of young juvenile justice advocates. Participants learn the basics of juvenile justice and engage in skill-building sessions on leadership development and civic engagement. Click here to learn more about the Youth Summit.

    Resources on Youth Engagement

    CJJ developed a short, clear, and easy-to-navigate Youth Manual offering all of the background and information a young person needs to get involved with and contribute to his or her SAG.

    We’ve held several webinars on youth issues, most notably on “Recruitment, Re-engagement & Re-entry: Incorporating the Youth Voice into Juvenile Justice Reform.” This webinar highlighted system reform efforts that emphasize the inclusion of young people in advocacy efforts. You can watch recordings of all of CJJ’s webinars here.

    The CJJ Today blog also features stories on youth involvement, such as “Engaging your State Advisory Group: Tips for Young Leaders,” by Robert Vickery, the Illinois Juvenile Justice Specialist. Click here to visit our blog for this story and more on youth engagement and leadership. 

    CJJ also hosts an Annual Conference each year, where sessions frequently highlight youth speakers and youth engagement initiatives.