National Girls Initiative


Using a Collaborative Approach

Working across systems and jurisdictions

The National Crittenton Foundation, in cooperation with the American Institutes for Research, coordinates 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.

The goal of NGI is to drive new resources to state, local, and tribal efforts to address girls’ needs, and to share information on evidence-based practices that are trauma informed and gender and culturally responsive. NGI also works to elevate the voices of girls and their families as partners in reforming the juvenile justice system.

NGI will convene roundtables, engage partners, and provide training and technical assistance to:

  • Support juvenile justice agencies to more effectively address the needs of girls;
  • Enhance and build the capacity of advocates and experts to actively engage with states in policy and practice reform;
  • Provide data, resources and tools on the needs of girls;
  • Share information on evidence-informed, evidence-based and promising practices that are gender and culturally responsive, trauma informed and developmentally appropriate; and
  • Elevate the voices of girls and their families as partners for change.


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

Innovation Awards

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

Funds will be 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 include:

  • 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:



Of justice–involved youth, females are more likely to die violently as adults than males.

Delinquency in youth predicts a significantly higher rate of violent death in adulthood. Females died violently at nearly five times the rate of those in the general population, while delinquent males died at three times the rate of the general population rates. Delinquent Latina teens died at 9 times the general population rate.

Reference: Firearm Homicide and Other Causes of Death in Delinquents: A 16-Year Prospective Study, Pediatrics; originally published online June 16, 2014; Marquita L. Stokes and Leah J. Welty, Linda A. Teplin, Jessica A. Jakubowski, Karen M. Abram, Nichole D. Olson.