Evaluation of the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice’s Second Chance Act grant reentry reforms

In 2016, the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) launched an ambitious Transformation Plan to better align its work with best practices. Critical components of this transformation effort are DJJ’s reforms to its reentry system, which have been supported, in part, by a Second Chance Act grant.

DJJ is partnering with Child Trends on an implementation and impact evaluation of its reentry reforms. The goal of this project is to enhance public safety and improve outcomes for young people reentering their communities. To achieve this goal, Child Trends will focus on three primary objectives:

  1. Leverage DJJ’s robust statewide administrative data system to conduct a multiple-methods, quasi-experimental study to examine how core components of DJJ’s reentry reforms affect youth outcomes. These reforms include family engagement, collaboration with other state agencies, use of a risk and needs assessment to match youth to community-based services that can address their individualized needs, and improved coordination between parole officers and juvenile correctional counselors.
  2. Conduct an in-depth implementation evaluation to provide other states implementing federally funded reentry reforms with context for the study findings, as well as to identify challenges to implementing and sustaining the reforms and solutions to address them.
  3. Translate research findings for practitioners, policymakers, and researchers aiming to improve juvenile reentry.

This project is supported by Grant # 2018-CZ-BX-0026 awarded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and managed by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice.