Addressing the Needs of Parents in Juvenile Justice: Systems Change from the Perspectives of Two Change Leaders
Although there is a growing literature focused on children with parents who are incarcerated in adult corrections facilities, much less is known about the children of youth involved with the juvenile justice system. In this chapter, the two authors, who are leaders in the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA), describe their respective journeys toward the creation of a new way of learning about the youth within their care, including those who are parents, and then using this information to make decisions within the state of Oregon’s juvenile justice agency. Transforming a state agency, and the broader juvenile justice continuum of which it is a part, to employ data-informed decision making requires a comprehensive and sustained effort. In addition to asking the right research questions, knowing how to employ appropriate research methods and to use research-derived tools are both crucial to converting research into practice. With new processes in place, the OYA has been able to address questions not only about how to better serve the juvenile justice population at large, but also how to serve subpopulations, such as incarcerated parents. Although other agencies will need to address different questions, the logic and research methodologies and tools used by the OYA are applicable to other social service systems that intersect with juvenile justice, such as child welfare and adult corrections.
KeywordsJuvenile justice Data-informed decision making Transformational change
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