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Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Continuum of Care for Communities

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2024
2 pages

This brief published by the Office of Delinquency Prevention discusses the Continuum of Care for Communities Program.


This publication introduces the Continuum of Care for Communities Program of the Office of Delinquency Prevention. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Continuum of Care for Communities describes a framework for youth justice services—and the dynamic and evolving nature of youth involvement in this continuum. This framework has been shown to improve youth outcomes and reduce reoffending, thereby advancing public safety. The Continuum of Care for Communities Program encompasses a broad array of youth justice programs and services ranging from prevention programs for young children and youth at risk of delinquency to intervention programs serving high-risk youth in secure residential settings and reentry programs for youth returning to their communities. In addition to the array of services, system and policy changes play a critical role in achieving a fully effective continuum of care in which the needs of youth and families are met, positive outcomes are achieved, and personal accountability and public safety are maintained. The graphic reflects the process for providing services to youth impacted at each stage. In an effective continuum of care, the majority of youth would be served through prevention and early/low intervention services. The number of youth served should decrease at each stage in the continuum. This approach has proven to be cost effective. In addition, diverting youth away from long-term involvement in the criminal justice system can result in much higher long-term economic and societal benefits. The Continuum of Care for Communities framework centers around the needs of youth, families, and communities with services targeting the following areas: prevention, intervention (high, medium, and low), out-of-home placement, and community reintegration.