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System Change Through State Challenge Activities: Approaches and Products

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2000
12 pages
After outlining pervasive problems in the current juvenile justice system in America, this Bulletin profiles the State Challenge Activities Program, which provides incentives for States participating in the Title II, Part B Formula Grants Program of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act of 1974 to improve their juvenile justice systems by developing, adopting, or improving policies and programs in 1 or more of 10 specified Challenge areas.
The 10 State Challenge Activity areas set forth in Section 285 Part E of the JJDP Act are a basic system of services, access to counsel, community-based alternatives, violent juvenile offender facilities, gender-specific policies and programs, State ombudsman, deinstitutionalization of status offenders, alternatives to school suspension and expulsion, aftercare services, and State agency coordination/case review system. An outline of the characteristics of juvenile justice systems change is followed by an explanation of the requirements for achieving pervasive, fundamental, far-reaching, and long-lasting systems change. These include a "big picture" perspective, cross-agency group efforts, ongoing data collection and effective use of research and evaluation findings, commitment of funds when necessary for systems change, policy and procedural changes and legislative reforms, and top-down and bottom-up commitment. From fiscal years 1995 to 1998, most States chose two areas each year. During the 4-year period, States chose a total of 465 activities in the 10 areas. A summary of 11 themes of systems change efforts is followed by a compendium of products/resources that encompass research reports, screening instruments, laws and policies, training materials, and other informational resources. 7 references

Date Published: March 1, 2000