CCC Report: Girls in the Juvenile Justice System: Understanding Service Needs and Experiences
Published October 2006
Approximately 20% of court-involved youth are girls whose service needs are often not met in a system that does not employ a gender responsive approach to programs and services.
Although both court-involved girls and boys generally experience many of the same risk factors and service needs, research demonstrates a distinction between male and female juvenile delinquency that is influenced by gender-based developmental needs, as well as a society’s perception of and response to female juvenile delinquency as demonstrated through program, policy and practice.
CCC’s findings and recommendations are derived from a literature review, interviews with fourteen stakeholders including judges, attorneys, service providers and national experts, 3 focus groups with court-involved girls (2 of which were facilitated by CCC’s Youth Action Members, and a series of advocacy meetings over a two-year period.
CCC’s findings highlight the need to address gaps in data and research, expand the availability of gender responsive programs and services, provide staff training, and most importantly, the need to develop of a city and statewide plan to better understand service needs of girls. CCC’s recommendations include improved data collection and coordination, more resources for gender-responsive programs and services across the juvenile justice continuum, expanded opportunities for court-involved girls to connect with positive peer and adult female role models and on-going staff training.