Executive Summary:

Funded and supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation (the Foundation), several communities across the US have undertaken deep-end reform designed to safely and significantly reduce juvenile out-of-home placement, especially for youth of color. From 2013 through 2018, the Foundation funded a developmental evaluation of this reform to better understand what worked well, what could be improved, and lessons for the field. During the evaluation period, 12 local jurisdictions across the US pursued deepend reform, receiving grants and tailored, technical assistance from the Foundation. They pursued a range of deep-end reform activities including improving probation practices, enhancing decisionmaking throughout the juvenile justice (JJ) system, expanding diversion and service options, and increasing youth and family engagement.

The Foundation funded a six-year evaluation to understand what worked well and what could be improved and to identify lessons for the field. Researchers from the Urban Institute and Mathematica collaborated on the evaluation and worked closely with Foundation staff to develop and answer questions about the reform using a comprehensive qualitative and quantitative data collection approach. The Foundation began deep-end reform knowing the work would evolve, and it wanted the evaluation to inform and strengthen the reform, track the changes it effected, and document sites’ successes and challenges.

The evaluation team documented its findings in this summary report, four briefs (one each on improving data capacity, advancing probation reform, engaging youth and families, and pursuing racial and ethnic equity and inclusion), a journal article (published in Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice) on transforming juvenile probation through culture change, and technical appendixes documenting sites’ deep-end reform activities and describing the evaluation’s methods.

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