Involving families of youth in contact with the juvenile justice system leads to better outcomes for youth. In addition, treatment interventions that actively engage the youth and their family are known to be the most effective. If rehabilitation and behavioral change are the goals of the juvenile justice system, family-centered protocols and interventions are essential. To facilitate involvement, families need information, training, and support at all stages of their child’s experience with the juvenile justice system. At the same time, juvenile justice systems need to improve policies, procedures, and staff training opportunities to better engage and involve families throughout their involvement with the system. This presentation will highlight strategies for increasing and improving family engagement and involvement within the context of juvenile justice. Judges, administrators, front line staff, family and community leaders will have an opportunity to hear about highlights of nationwide efforts and to learn about specific work in Pennsylvania to support family involvement in juvenile justice.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review research and best practice on participation, education, and supports for families of youth with behavioral health conditions in contact with the juvenile justice system.
  • Identify strategies communities can adopt to better engage and involve families of youth with behavioral health needs in contact with the juvenile justice system.
  • Discuss ways to incorporate and adapt materials – training curricula and policy/procedure guides – on family involvement to support state and local juvenile justice efforts on this topic.