29 Aug 2012

Needs of Justice-Involved Girls, Parents/Caregivers, and Staff

New Report!

The National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), through a cooperative agreement with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), has released “Voices From the Field: Findings From the NGI Listening Sessions.” This report details the results and implications of listening sessions held nationwide to assess the current training, technical assistance, and informational needs of state, tribal, and local entities serving girls who are justice-involved or at risk of involvement as well as their families. An executive summary of the report is also available.

The National Girls Institute (NGI) is a research-based training and resource clearinghouse designed to advance understanding of girls’ issues and improve program and system responses to girls in the juvenile justice system. With federal funding, NCCD directs NGI through a cooperative agreement with the OJJDP.

“Through NGI, we’re able to translate research to practice for the stakeholders who are committed to improving outcomes for girls,” said Lawanda Ravoira, Director ofNCCD’s Center for Girls and Young Women based in Florida. “The NGI listening sessions provided an unprecedented opportunity to involve stakeholders from diverse backgrounds and locations in sharing their experiences and needs.”

Sixty-four listening sessions and 16 small-group interviews were held throughout the United States in 2011, with three groups of key stakeholders: girls involved in the justice system or at risk of involvement, parents/caregivers, and staff and volunteers across the continuum of services. A total of 607 individuals participated in listening sessions or interviews.

Several themes emerged across the three stakeholder groups. These include the need for effective, supportive communication between girls and parents as well as girls and staff; an emphasis on peer learning opportunities; using gender-responsive strategies when working with girls; recognizing differences among girls, particularly regarding issues of gender expectations, sexuality, and identity; and increasing collaboration across fields including juvenile justice, child welfare, and mental health in order to improve outcomes for girls.

The report also sets forth a series of recommendations for NGI, OJJDP, other federal agencies, and the field, which were developed from the listening sessions’ key themes. Recommendations include increasing opportunities for information sharing and collaboration; involving girls and parents/caregivers in conversations, research, and theory building about what works for girls; and incorporating content and methods that surfaced in the listening sessions into the gender-responsive training and technical assistance that NGI provides nationwide.

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