Teens and their families are often not included in important discussions on how to improve the juvenile justice system. Two programs with growing support are working to alleviate this void across the United States: the Raising Our Youth As Leaders Project (ROYAL) and the Washington State Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice Youth Committee (WA-PCJJ).
On Nov. 21, the Coalition for Juvenile Justice held a webinar discussing the progress and future of these programs.
The webinar addressed the benefits, steps to engage, and challenges of including young people in juvenile justice reform efforts with the help of two knowledgeable and invested presenters:
- Starcia Ague – Youth and Family Advocate Program Administrator, Juvenile Justice Rehabilitation Administration; Co-Chair Youth Committee, Washington State Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice
- Debra R. Baker – Project Director, The Raising Our Youth As Leaders Project (ROYAL), King County Department of Public Defense
Important takeaways from this informative webinar include:
- Young people representing the youth voice on juvenile justice reform serve as an effective advocacy tool and provide a perspective that moves leaders to implement change.
- Including teens in reform efforts empowers them to become the next generation of advocates, while also developing their leadership and life skills.
- Programs working with young people need to meet standards for organizational readiness to provide successful mentorship and support to teens involved or likely to be involved in the juvenile justice system.