Click the tabs below to learn more, including what to do if your child gets in trouble with the law.
Every state has different laws and policies – it is vitally important to understand how your state’s laws can affect your child. Check out the American Bar Association’s interactive map to learn more about the ins and outs in your state.
If your child is questioned by police or involved in the legal system in any way, always seek quality legal counsel – a good lawyer can make a world of difference in juvenile justice cases. If you’ve already come in contact with the system and can’t afford a lawyer, contact the National Juvenile Defender Center to find out about local resources.
In the vast majority of juvenile justice cases, the gateway is police contact. Parents and schools should think twice before contacting police for minor issues, and kids should maintain composure when engaging with police.
Many juvenile justice cases start with school referrals. Think about alternative approaches to disciplining unruly students, and consider the consequences of getting law enforcement involved.
Many schools have zero tolerance policies that funnel kids directly into the juvenile justice system. Talk to your administrators and school board about your concerns, and discuss alternate approaches that are more supportive of the health and well-being of students.
Download the free 12-minute video adapted from Kids for Cash that is designed to spark better understanding and action-oriented conversations within and across sectors. The video also has a specially created discussion guide.
If you’re actively involved in juvenile justice reform, the film can serve as a great tool to communicate the value of your work, recruit new allies and secure public support. Learn more about group screenings here.
Coalition for Evidence-Based Programs is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, whose mission is to increase government effectiveness through rigorous evidence about “what works.” The Coalition has no affiliation with any programs or program.
KIDS COUNT Data Center is the premier source for data on child and family well-being in the United States. Access hundreds of indicators, download data, and create reports and graphics on the KIDS COUNT Data Center that support smart decisions about children and families.
FBI Arrest Statistics provides access to juvenile arrest statistics for 29 detailed offense categories at the national, state, and county level. Users can select displays based on counts or rates for juveniles, adults, or all ages combined.
Education Under Arrest is a report written by the Justice Policy Institute whose mission is to reduce the use of incarceration and the justice system and promote policies that improve the well-being of all people and communities.
Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development brings together researchers, program designers, community leaders and advocates, policy-makers, practitioners and funders to learn about evidence-based youth development programs. They also provide information on evidence-based programs and guidance and tools to help consumers implement these programs successfully.
Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is an intensive family- and community-based treatment program that focuses on addressing all environmental systems that impact chronic and violent juvenile offenders—their homes and families, schools and teachers, neighborhoods and friends. MST recognizes that each system plays a critical role in a youth’s world and each system requires attention when effective change is needed to improve the quality of life for youth and their families.
Functional Family Therapy (FTT) is a short-term, high quality intervention program with an average of 12 sessions over a 3-4 month period. Services are conducted in both clinic and home settings, and can also be provided in a variety of settings including schools, child welfare facilities, probation and parole offices/aftercare systems, and mental health facilities.