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JDAIconnect: “Reimagining Juvenile Justice” Brings Professional Development to Frontline Staff

Reposted here from the JDAIconnect blog site. Written by Kathy Flynn Woodland, June 19, 2019

Momentum is building to deliver more targeted professional development to frontline staff who work with young people involved in the justice system. The desired result is frontline professionals with the skills, support and partnerships they need to help young people thrive.

The professional development is called Reimagining Juvenile Justice (RJJ). Successfully piloted in Massachusetts in 2016-17, a national competition was held in early 2018 to bring the opportunity to practitioners in another JDAI site. Pima County, Arizona was selected and successfully launched the RJJ last year.

The spread of RJJ to JDAI sites is following a train-the-trainer model. We held a Train-the Trainer Institute in May 2019 with 15 jurisdictions represented. (The jurisdictions applied for this opportunity earlier this year and were selected in a competitive process.)

Each of the 15 jurisdictions made a commitment to deliver the RJJ curriculum to a group of frontline staff in their jurisdictions by the end of 2019. The trainers have a wealth of resources, tools and curriculum material to help them as they design and implement RJJ back home.

Each jurisdiction will select a cross-section of probation officers and other public and community based partners to receive the training first. The curriculum is designed to build their capacity to support, divert and redirect youth to appropriate and fair justice options, including options that require a high degree of cross-system collaboration and coordination.

The trainers at the Institute are enthusiastic about helping to help transform practice back in their state and/or county. “I am excited about this training opportunity with my co-workers and colleagues in our county,” said one trainer. “There is a lot interest from court staff and our community partners.” Another said, “I became a believer after the first exercise.”

RJJ is sponsored by the Casey Foundation and delivered through School & Main Institute. Both organizations continue to collect feedback, input and site evaluations to keep improving the RJJ curriculum and scale-up learning opportunities for juvenile justice professionals. By 2020, portions of the RJJ curriculum will be available broadly on JDAIconnect.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation JDAIconnect is a virtual destination for juvenile justice reformers to talk, find resources and learn. A part of the Casey Foundation's Community Cafe platform, JDAIconnect is available to everyone — practitioners, policy makers, community-based organizations, advocates, youth, families, researchers and any others — who are interested in youth justice. Membership is open to all, whether or not you participate in the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative®, and free of charge. For more information, please click here.

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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