Positive Youth Justice Initiative

The Positive Youth Justice Initiative (PYJI) is helping communities transform juvenile justice practice and policy across California. The initiative has evolved from focusing on crossover youth – youth with historical involvement in the child welfare system – to those at highest risk of returning to the juvenile justice system. By taking a systems change approach, the initiative strives to address underlying trauma and disconnections so that vulnerable youth can successfully transition to adulthood.

Grantees are redesigning their approach to supporting some of their most vulnerable youth. PYJI innovation plans integrate an approach that invests in youth, treats trauma, provides wraparound service delivery and changes systems. PYJI’s ultimate goal is to encourage system transformation across the state focused on the development of healthy youth rather than punitive sanctions and confinement.

Elements of a Healthy Juvenile Justice System infographic.

Funding Opportunity

The Positive Youth Justice Initiative is entering its third phase, with up to $750,000 in grant funding available for nonprofit organizations in California to advance positive juvenile justice.

The Center will fund grassroots organizations to advance the work of the Positive Youth Justice Initiative through community organizing to accelerate a statewide movement toward a more youth development-focused juvenile justice system. Awards will range from $75,000 to $150,000 over 18 months in counties throughout the state that are poised to transform their juvenile justice system. Applications were due on Sept. 1, 2016.

Initiative Background



Technical Assistance

Video Series

The Positive Youth Justice Initiative is funded by Sierra Health Foundation, The California Endowment and The California Wellness Foundation and is managed by The Center.