Positive Youth Justice Initiative Background

Initiative Purpose

The Positive Youth Justice Initiative is working with communities across California to transform juvenile justice practice and policy into a more just, effective system that is aligned with the developmental needs of young people.

Initiative Design Elements

The initiative uses an approach that invests in youth, treats trauma, provides wraparound service delivery and changes systems to strengthen local infrastructure and sustain the improvements.

Initiative Phases

Phase 3: Organizing for a Healthy Justice System

The Positive Youth Justice Initiative entered its third phase in 2017, with $1.3 million awarded to support nonprofit community-based organizations in 11 counties to advance positive juvenile justice. Funded grassroots organizations will advance their work through community organizing to accelerate a statewide movement toward a more youth development-focused juvenile justice system.

Partner Organizations

Phase 2: Implementation Grants

Four counties received $400,000 implementation grants in January 2014 to test a series of reforms designed to transform juvenile justice into a more just, effective system and improve the lives of the youth they engage.

Partner Organizations

A second round of implementation funding provided additional investment for the San Joaquin County Probation Department and the Vallejo Unified School District in Solano County.

Phase 1: Planning Grants

Six counties received $75,000 grants in 2012 for a 12-month planning phase to create plans for reform focusing on “crossover youth” – youth who had been formally involved in the child welfare system, had experienced documented neglect, abuse and/or trauma, and were currently engaged in the juvenile justice system.

Partner Organizations

News and Media

Our justice system is failing our youth; California must reshape and redefine its approach – Commentary by Chet P. Hewitt and Shane Murphy Goldsmith in CalMatters – June 12, 2020

Lift Us Up, Don’t Lock Us Down: The Battle to Close Juvenile Hall – May 16, 2019

KVIE Studio Sacramento – April 17, 2018

The Mercury News – June 9, 2017

Inside Philanthropy – April 29, 2017

Witness LA – April 13, 2017