Seven nonprofit alliances and organizations have been selected as the first recipients of the National Girls Initiative’s Innovation Awards, a program designed to spotlight and support creative efforts to advance systems-level juvenile justice reforms for girls.
Gender Injustice: System-Level Juvenile Justice Reforms for Girls
Despite decades of attention, the proportion of girls in the juvenile justice system has increased and their challenges have remained remarkably consistent, resulting in deeply rooted systemic gender injustice. The literature is clear that girls in the justice system have experienced abuse, violence, adversity, and deprivation across many of the domains of their lives—family, peers, intimate partners, and community. There is also increasing understanding of the sorts of programs helpful to these girls. What is missing is a focus on how systems—and particularly juvenile justice systems—can be redesigned to protect public safety and support the healing and healthy development of girls and young women.
This week we were honored to host the national meeting of the National Girls Initiative Innovation Awardees in Portland. Amazing organizations and women from Hawai’i, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Texas, Iowa, and across California. Thanks to OJJDP and the NoVo Foundation for their support. It’s all about the girls!
TNCF and the Crittenton family of agencies has been working diligently for more than 130 years to ensure that the needs and potential of girls and young women who have faced adversity and survived violence have the supports they need to heal and thrive.
Jeannette Y. Pai-Espinosa and Jessie Domingo Salu co-wrote an op-ed describing the needs of girls and young women impacted by violence, childhood adversity and trauma and are involved with the juvenile justice system.
Raised by a single mother, Tanya was physically and emotionally abused by her on regular basis and was also repeatedly sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriends and male friends. In an effort to get help, Tanya told her mother about the sexual abuse but was told that it was her fault. To escape her life — the pain, betrayal and abuse, she continually ran away taking refuge on the streets. Eventually, she was picked up and detained for running away. In court, her mother told the judge that Tanya was incorrigible. She was placed in a secure juvenile detention facility and after being released she was returned to her mother.
Today, October 23rd is Girls Justice Day and as it approached I kept thinking about the girls and young women who I have come to know over the last few years, who are or were involved with the Juvenile Justice system. Their stories are as diverse as they are, but one thing that remains constant is the way in which their early lives have been shaped for them by abuse, neglect, violence and the betrayal of their trust by the very people whose job it was to love and protect them. Their experiences are unthinkable to most of us and yet it is essential that we see them not as victims or “bad girls” but as courageous and resilient survivors that need support in order to heal.
We have a long history as advocates for young women and girls
Become a Crittenton Advocate for Change
- 135 Stories
- 135 Years
- Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE)
- BOLD Program
- Centering Girls in Systems Change
- Commercial Sex Trafficking
- Foster Care
- Girls at the Margin
- Guest Post
- In Solidarity We Rise
- In the Press
- Juvenile Justice
- National Girls Initiative
- Opportunities for Girls
- Press Release
- Two Generation Approaches
- Young Moms