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Youth and Family Partnerships

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At the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), we envision a juvenile justice system centered on the strengths, needs, and voices of youth and families.

Youth and family members with lived experience are vital resources for understanding and reaching young people involved or at risk of involvement in the justice system. 

We believe that effective decision-making requires the involvement of those who are most impacted. OJJDP is committed to partnering with youth and families with experience and expertise in the justice system.  

In 2019, juvenile courts in the United States handled an estimated 723,000 delinquency cases that involved youth charged with juvenile offenses. According to a survey by Justice for Families and Data Center, families say they should be more involved in decision-making about their child's adjudication and disposition.

Meaningful engagement with families and with young people who become involved in the juvenile justice system can help organizations increase their effectiveness serving system-involved families. When engaged, young people are also more likely to establish positive relationships with system officials and experience greater trust and confidence in the juvenile justice system.

Effectively Partnering with Youth & Families in OJJDP-Funded Programs & Projects

This webinar provides tips for grant applicants to meaningfully incorporate youth and family partnerships into their proposed project design and budget of their federal funding applications. Experts with lived experience in the youth justice system share practical tools and strategies for interacting with youth and family members, engaging with youth and family at the program level, and partnering with youth and family at the system level.


Access our Youth and Family Partnerships Resource Library for a comprehensive listing and links to resources for grant recipients and juvenile justice practitioners.

Youth and Family Partnership News:

October 27, 2022
OJJDP, the Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ), and the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) cohosted a youth panel discussion: What Youth Justice Means to Youth: A Vision for the Future.

This hybrid (in-person and virtual) event featured a panel of youth leaders presenting their policy platform of recommendations to transform the youth justice system.

Watch the Presentation

August 4, 2022
OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan hosted a series of listening sessions this summer with youth justice stakeholders, national partners, and justice-involved youth and families. Feedback from the listening sessions informed the Office’s work in advancing three priorities:

  • Treat children as children.  
  • Serve children at home, with their families, in their communities.
  • Open up opportunities for young people involved in the justice system.  

OJJDP plans to issue an action plan that incorporates ideas from the listening sessions.

Date Created: January 24, 2023