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ERIC Number: ED537793
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Apr
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Sierra Health Foundation's Positive Youth Justice Initiative. Briefing Paper
Sierra Health Foundation
In December 2011, the Sierra Health Foundation board of directors approved a framework for a new youth development initiative. The framework built upon the foundation's recently concluded REACH Youth Development Program and incorporated findings and recommendations from the highly regarded "Healthy Youth/Healthy Regions" and "Renewing Juvenile Justice" reports released by the foundation earlier in the year. The "Healthy Youth/Healthy Regions" and "Renewing Juvenile Justice" findings also supported an important lesson that emerged from the REACH Program: While inclusive youth development approaches are important, one of their shortcomings is the likelihood for young people most at risk for poor health, education and economic outcomes to be unengaged. In response to this information, the foundation pursued a course of inquiry that sought to combine on-the-ground experience and research to design a program for youth who have experienced documented neglect, abuse and/or trauma, have been formally involved in the child welfare system and who currently are engaged in the juvenile justice system. Often referred to as "crossover youth," the initiative seeks to affect developmental paths--repeat criminal behavior, education failure, lack of employment experience, untreated trauma, social and familial disconnection--that have been shown to have negative long-term effects for this extraordinarily vulnerable population. The initiative seeks to set a new path for juvenile justice in California by establishing a vanguard of select county systems and leaders to produce what noted researcher Jeffrey Butts and his colleagues describe as "Positive Youth Justice." In seeking to foster this major shift in juvenile justice practice and policy, the risk of falling short of expectations is balanced with the fortuitous opportunity to improve the health and life chances of one of California's most vulnerable youth populations--youth with child welfare histories who are currently engaged in the juvenile justice system. Accordingly, this briefing paper describes the policy context in which the Positive Youth Justice Initiative will operate and presents the rationale for the targeted population and selected design elements.
Sierra Health Foundation. 1321 Garden Highway, Sacramento, CA 95833. Tel: 916-922-4755; Fax: 916-922-4024; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Sierra Health Foundation
Identifiers - Location: California