Advancing Juvenile Justice in Law Enforcement

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In 2011, the IACP and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation began a multi-year partnership to increase the leadership role of state and local law enforcement executives to effectively address systemic juvenile justice issues as well as improve local responses to juvenile offenders through a project titled Law Enforcement’s Leadership Role in the Advancement of Promising Practices in Juvenile Justice.

Through the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change initiative, which seeks to create innovative and sustainable models for juvenile justice reform in the United States, the IACP is working to expand opportunities for law enforcement executives to build partnerships and advance innovative approaches to address juvenile offenders and at-risk youth in their communities.

In September 2013, the IACP convened the National Summit on Law Enforcement Leadership in Juvenile Justice to develop recommendations for concrete actions law enforcement leaders can take—in collaboration with partners at the local, state, and national levels—to improve responses to juvenile offenders and at-risk youth. The summit report, Law Enforcement’s Leadership Role in Juvenile Justice Reform: Actionable Recommendations for Practice & Policy, sets forth 33 recommendations developed during the two-day summit deliberations. The summit brought together a multidisciplinary group of 90 participants that included law enforcement executives and officers at various levels, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, youth, policymakers, researchers, mental health service providers, and a range of other juvenile justice stakeholders from across the country.

The IACP hosted two highly interactive, three-day training programs in Seattle, Washington (2014) and New Haven, Connecticut (2015) that collectively trained 60 law enforcement executives from across the country. The Institutes offer executives the tools to improve their agencies’ response to juvenile offenders and at-risk youth and to engage in effective collaboration on juvenile justice reform in their communities. Participants were also introduced to cutting edge juvenile justice information and worked closely with Institute faculty to assess their agency’s current response to youth and to develop agency-specific action plans to implement upon their return home.

Click here to learn more about the Leadership Institute.

IACP partnered with a professional research company to conduct a national survey of more than 900 law enforcement executives. The survey assessed the current state of attitudes, knowledge and practices regarding how law enforcement agencies deal with juvenile offenders and at-risk youth and collaborate with juvenile justice system partners.  IACP released the Executive Officer Survey Findings Report in September 2013 to serve as a resource for law enforcement and other juvenile justice system stakeholders, and to inform deliberations at the IACP National Summit and the curriculum of the Leadership Institute on Juvenile Justice.

IACP’s work on juvenile justice reform in partnership with the MacArthur Foundation has been informed by extensive research and dialogue with law enforcement leaders and other juvenile justice system stakeholders.  The project is guided by a multidisciplinary Advisory Group formed in 2011 to provide input on avenues for expanding the leadership role of law enforcement in juvenile justice system reform.  Our Advisors have continued to serve as resources for the development of our nationwide survey, policy summit, and leadership institute.   

The initial development of the project was also informed by three focus groups held in 2011 in Washington, DC, Chicago, IL and Philadelphia, PA.  The focus groups brought together a broad array of juvenile and criminal justice community members to discuss needs and opportunities for reforms within law enforcement agencies and more effective collaboration across the juvenile justice system.


For more information please contact Sr. Program Manager Aviva Kurash at or 800-843-4227 x809.