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Re-Imagining Juvenile Justice: A Positive Youth Development Mindset—A Cross Systems Approach

On November 10th, twenty students participating in the RIJJ pilot met at Wheelock College in Boston for a final session to reflect on their experience in the course and discuss the impact it has had on both personal and professional practice. Agency leadership from the MA Department of Youth Services, MA Probation, the Youth Advocacy Division and Bridge Over Troubled Waters were in attendance to learn firsthand about their staff’s experience. Students shared examples of making shifts in personal perceptions regarding the roles and responsibilities of agencies engaged in supporting  juvenile justice youth, gaining a new appreciation for the importance of working more effectively with families, exploring strategies that work with system involved youth and maybe most importantly, about the positive effect of strengthening relationships and communication between and across systems.

Each participating agency cohort detailed specific recommendations for changing policies/protocols and adapting professional practices that will foster the sharing of resources and imbed positive youth development concepts and cross-system collaboration into daily agency life.

In a Nutshell

Founded in 1985 at Brandeis University’s Heller School of Social Policy and Management, School & Main Institute (SMI) has grown into a nationally recognized, independent non-profit training and partnership development organization that has worked with organizations and state agencies in more than 35 states.


School & Main Institute staff and faculty have years of expertise as organizational leaders, program developers, trainers, and facilitators in the fields of education, workforce preparation, youth and community development.

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