Improving Outcomes for Justice-Involved Youth
The Juvenile Services Division (JSD) of the Los Angeles County Probation Department is responsible for the well-being and safety of approximately 6,000 justice-involved youths. Providing trauma-informed programming to support the development of these youths, whether they are in probation facilities or the community, is one of its primary goals. FUSE executive fellow Jessica Herbert worked with executive staff, helping develop JSD’s mission statement, guiding principles, and a framework for comprehensive reform. She then led project teams through strategic planning to ensure that engagement with youths during intake, placement, and community transitions aligns with JSD’s mission to support youths and their families. To support strategic reforms, Jessica helped develop cross-functional teams and structured meetings with probation leaders, information technology staff, and research analysts so that teams could understand how business practices were supporting, or impeding, youth development and the delivery of rehabilitative services. For a review of intake processes, Jessica helped research analysts evaluate 15 months of intake records to determine which external stakeholders — such as the arresting agency or specific courts — played a role in detention and release decisions. The research team used this analysis to evaluate efforts to support structured decision making across the department. Another cross-functional team project resulted in probation leaders revising processes so that disruptions to education and jobs are minimized when youths transition to the community. Through these efforts, Jessica helped JSD promote the well-being of justice-involved youths.