National Girls Initiative

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Using a Collaborative Approach

Working across systems and jurisdictions

The National Crittenton Foundation cooperatively leads the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) National Girls Initiative (NGI) which focuses on catalyzing change for girls in, and at risk of entering, the juvenile justice system.

Using a collaborative approach, which includes working across systems and jurisdictions, NGI convenes roundtables and engages partners to promote change, provide data that communicates the needs of girls, and fosters new partnerships to effectively address the needs of girls.

Through the delivery of training and technical assistance, NGI:

  • Supports juvenile justice agencies to more effectively address the needs of girls
  • Elevates the voices of girls and their families as partners for change
  • Enhances and builds the capacity of advocates and experts to actively engage with states in policy and practice reform
  • Provides resources and tools on the needs of girls
  • Shares information on evidence informed, evidence based and promising practices that are gender and culturally responsive, trauma informed and developmentally appropriate
  • Provides training and technical assistance to the five NGI Justice Reform for Girls Collaborative sites.

Girls are disproportionately arrested, formally processed, detained, and incarcerated in the juvenile justice system for offenses that pose little or no threat to public safety. NGI is a reflection of commitment to ensuring that when girls come into contact with the juvenile justice system that it is rare, fair and beneficial. There is much work to do and we are committed to getting it done.”

-Jeannette Pai-Espinosa, President, The National Crittenton Foundation


Spotlight: 2015 Innovation Awards

The National Girls Initiative (NGI) Innovation Awards were designed to spotlight and support creative efforts to advance systems-level juvenile justice reforms for girls.

Funds were used to support girls’ alliances, coalitions, and other collaborative efforts to advance changes in policies and programs designed to meet the unique needs of girls in one or more of the priority areas identified by OJJDP below. Priority areas included:

  • Advance changes in policies and programs designed to meet the unique needs of girls in the juvenile justice system;
  • Prevent and reduce the arrest and detention of girls; and
  • Develop or implement gender and culturally responsive, trauma-informed and developmentally-appropriate approaches to delivering services.

On April 10, 2015 the award recipients were announced:

Through the generous support of the NoVo Foundation, four additional sites were funded as a part of this first cohort of NGI Innovation Awardees. These awards focus on the provision of effective gender and culturally-responsive, trauma-informed services.

The awards were made to:

Girls and young women accounted for 55% of all runaway cases and 40% of all truancy cases in 2014

Girls are disproportionately detained and committed on charges of status offenses or technical violations, which rarely pose threats to public safety

Reference: Adapted from Girls in the Juvenile Justice System, Juvenile Justice Statistics National Report Series Bulletin. (Forthcoming). Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention