Notes from the Field
While many state and local officials recognize the need for more effective, timely, and community-based responses to youth charged with status offenses, they often lack information about reform approaches that could benefit their jurisdictions. To help address this knowledge gap, the Status Offense Reform Center (SORC) has developed a series entitled Notes from the Field, which provides an insider’s look at jurisdictions that have undertaken status offense system reform, with a focus on the methods and models they adopted in planning, implementing, and monitoring their efforts.
The reform processes documented in this series vary in scope and type: some jurisdictions overhauled their entire status offense systems, while others targeted a specific behavior, such as truancy; some employed well-established models with proven outcomes, while others experimented with new strategies yet to be evaluated. By highlighting such a wide range of efforts, we hope these Notes from the Field will help to inform and inspire others to keep young people who commit status offenses out of court.
If you would like to learn more about any of the reform efforts discussed here, share your jurisdiction’s story, or know of a local reform you think we should profile, please contact us.
To identify jurisdictions to profile in Notes from the Field, we reviewed Vera’s prior technical assistance work under the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change: Systems Reform in Juvenile Justice initiative and earlier projects, and also reached out to juvenile justice organizations focused on status offense issues to learn more about other local reform efforts. To gain an understanding of each jurisdiction’s status offense system and change process, we interviewed one or more stakeholders involved in the reform effort and reviewed publicly available documents and websites. We then synthesized the information we collected into accessible profiles of each jurisdiction’s reform process, using the following format:
- The Call to Action – a summary of each jurisdiction’s impetus for reforming their status offense system;
- The Change Process – a description of the steps taken in reforming the jurisdiction’s system, such as convening stakeholders and studying other local status offense change efforts;
- The Model – an outline of the key changes made to the jurisdiction’s status offense system;
- Monitoring Progress and Ensuring Success – a description of any methods adopted to monitor the new system and adapt it accordingly, whether data collection or regular meetings between stakeholders;
- Outcomes – a snapshot of the changed status offense system’s key outcomes;
- Reflections – tips from those engaged in the reform effort, including why they believed they were successful or what they would have done differently.
- Related Resources – a list of resources related to the jurisdictions’ reform effort, such as evaluations and program manuals, available through SORC’s library