We Know What Works for Youth Justice, Are We Using that Evidence?

August 9, 2016

A lively discussion on what we know – and what we’re doing with that knowledge – about what works in juvenile justice, with Karen Pittman of the Forum for Youth Investment, Shay Bilchik of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform and and Steve Michael with the Iowa Department of Human Rights. Read more.




August 2016: For effective social programs, we need to know what works and which interventions work for which young people. For this, we need evidence. So how can we move the needle toward the best use of evidence to spark improvement. Some of the best work has been done in the juvenile justice field. In fact, did you know:

  • That a huge meta-analysis of juvenile justice programs concluded that “there is no indication that there were juveniles whose risk level was so high that they did not respond to effective interventions?”
  • That this analysis of over 500 studies landed on a simple but powerful four-part prescription for program success that applies to home-grown programs as well as branded models?
  • That this standardized program evaluation protocol is being used to both flag and fix practice gaps within major juvenile justice and child welfare systems?
  • That this model parallels the approach used to create the David P. Weikart Center’s Youth Program Quality Intervention used by hundreds of afterschool systems?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, join our own Karen Pittman as she talks with Shay Bilchik, founder and director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University. Shay, an attorney by training, has been on the cutting edge of systems reform for decades as head of the Office of Juvenile justice and Delinquency Prevention in the Clinton Administration and CEO of the Child Welfare League of America. We guarantee that you’ll leave the conversation convinced that we really do know what works, and now we need to use this evidence effectively to create lasting, scalable practice and policy change.





This audiocast is part of the Ready by 21 Thought Leader Roundtable series of audio interviews. For more of these candid conversations with intriguing minds in youth development, visit Readyby21.org.


Karen Pittman