The Positive Youth Justice Initiative (PYJI) is spearheading a major shift in California’s juvenile justice practice and policy at the county level. The initiative focuses on crossover youth — young people with histories of neglect, abuse and trauma who currently are involved with their juvenile justice systems. Systemic changes address the underlying trauma and social and familial disconnections that impact and impede these vulnerable youth from successfully transitioning to adulthood.
Grantees are redesigning their approach to supporting some of their most vulnerable youth. PYJI innovation plans integrate an approach that invests in youth, treats trauma, provides wraparound service delivery and changes systems. PYJI’s ultimate goal is to encourage system transformation that is focused on the development of healthy youth rather than punitive sanctions and confinement.
Six counties received $75,000 planning grants in 2012, and four counties received $400,000 implementation grants in January 2014.
Alameda County Probation Department, San Diego County Probation Department, San Joaquin County Probation Department and Vallejo City Unified School District in Solano County received the implementation grants to test a series of reforms designed to transform juvenile justice into a more just, effective system and improve the lives of the youth they engage.
PYJI is a Sierra Health Foundation initiative managed by the Center for Health Program Management, with additional funding from The California Endowment and The California Wellness Foundation.