On any given day, the Department of Juvenile Justice has somewhere between 4,500 and 5,000 youth under some kind of supervision, with more than 90 percent of those youth being supervised in their communities through diversion, probation or parole.
The Department’s mission – to protect the public by helping court involved youth become productive citizens – is best accomplished through individually tailoring the right mix of accountability and rehabilitation to meet the identified risk and need levels for every youth who walks through our doors, and making sure that we use data, research, and evidence-based practices to inform the interventions and services we provide. We also best accomplish our mission when we provide the youth in our system with those things that any adolescent needs to grow into a healthy, productive adult.
We emphasize four cornerstones of positive youth development: a feeling of safety in one’s surroundings; a strong sense of connection to one’s community and supportive family members and/or other adults; a belief in the purpose of activities such as education, treatment and vocational training or actual work; and a sense of fairness in the accountability, consequences and opportunities one receives in response to their actions.
Over the last several years, the Department has undertaken a rigorous self-analysis to make sure that we are using taxpayer resources effectively, and getting the outcomes we want for the youth, families and communities we serve. This analysis led us to develop an ambitious plan to transform our work to get better outcomes for the children, families and communities we serve. Our transformation efforts break down into four core initiatives:
Safely Reduce the use of the large and aging juvenile correctional facilities.
Reform correctional and treatment practices within the facilities and with youth returning to communities.
Develop a plan to ultimately Replace older, outdated facilities with smaller, regional, and treatment-oriented juvenile correctional centers and a statewide continuum of local alternative placements and evidence-based services.
Sustain our transformation by maintaining safe, healthy, inclusive work places; continuing to recruit, retain, and develop a team of highly skilled and motivated staff; and aligning our procedures, policies, and resources to support the team in meeting the of transformation.
Click HERE to learn more in DJJ’s Strategic Framework.
Created by the Code of Virginia §66-4, the Board of Juvenile Justice ensures the development and implementation of a long-range youth services policy and advises the Governor, the Director of the Department of Juvenile Justice and the General Assembly on matters relating to youth services.