Models for Change

The MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change initiative is an effort to create successful and replicable models of juvenile justice system reform through targeted investments in key states, including Pennsylvania. Through Models for Change, the Foundation sought to accelerate the pace of change towards a fairer, more effective, rational, and developmentally appropriate juvenile justice system.

Juvenile Law Center directed the initiative in Pennsylvania from 2004 through 2010. The effort focused on reforms in three areas that state leadership identified as priorities. These three “targeted areas of improvement” were:

1. Coordination with the Mental Health System

Goal: To identify youth who come in contact with the juvenile justice system and have mental health and co-occurring substance abuse treatment needs as early as possible; to divert them from the juvenile justice system where appropriate; and to provide timely access to treatment.

2. The System of Aftercare Services and Supports

Goal: To ensure that youth in the juvenile justice system are provided with the services needed for their smooth and successful transition back into the community.

3. Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC)

Goal: To move Pennsylvania toward becoming a model of DMC data collection and to use the data collected to bring about needed change

MacArthur and Pennsylvania’s State Advisory Group (Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency) made grants to target counties to advance the three TAIs.  In addition, grants went to state agencies and non-profits.

For a thorough discussion of Models for Change in Pennsylvania, see