Citizens for Juvenile Justice
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CfJJ's 2012 Conference 

Positive Results: How Positive Youth Development Can Change Juvenile Justice

March 29, 2012Dr. Jeffrey A. Butts

Over 90 attendees from around Massachusetts participated in CfJJ's annual conference on March 29, 2012. This year's conference, "Positive Results," focused on how the positive youth development approach can improve the juvenile justice system.

CfJJ was honored to host keynote speaker Dr. Jeffrey A. Butts, the executive director of the Research and Evaluation Center at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and a key thinker in the field of positive youth development. In his presentation, Dr. Butts gave conference participants an overview of the "Positive Youth Justice" model, including insights from current research on youth behavior, mental health, and development. For details, please see slides from Dr. Butts' presentation (available here).

Conference attendees also participated in two activities. The first, led by Laurie Jo Wallace of Health Resources in Action, focused on integrating positive youth development into practice and included two examples of successful positive youth development approaches, given by Janet Daisley, director of the DYS Comprehensive Education Partnership and Sarah Davis from the Youth Advocacy Department of CPCS. The second activity, led by CfJJ's senior policy associate Naoka Carey, explored how positive youth development fits into the big picture for youth in Massachusetts. This activity included a presentation from Glenn Daly of EOHHS on their Shared Vision Framework for Massachusetts Youth & Young Adults.


Positive Youth Development resources

Looking for more information on positive youth development? Check out the great resources below, or download a copy of the list (including articles and publications) here.


Positive Youth Justice: Framing Justice Interventions Using the Concepts of Positive Youth Development

An April 2010 report from the Coalition of Juvenile Justice (CJJ) exploring the tremendous potential of helping court-involved youth develop their pro-social strengths and attributes, and increase their abilities to contribute to healthy, safe family and community life. By Jeffrey A. Butts, Gordon Bazemore and Aundra Saa Meroe.

Websites and links:

Act for Youth

After School Alliance

America's Promise

Annie E. Casey Foundation
See, e.g, “Barriers and Promising Approaches Workforce and Youth Development”:  Highlights fifteen programs as the most successful in the nation in terms of operating under comprehensive principles that view youth and their needs holistically.  Identifies key components of successful programs. 

Child Trends Databank

Corporation for National and Community Service

Forum for Youth Investment

The Foundation Center

The Innovation Center for Community and Youth Development

Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development

National Governor's Association for Best Practices

National Youth Court Center

National Youth Employment Coalition

Promising Practices Network

Spark Action

Search Institute
Search Institute has identified 40 building blocks of healthy development—known as Developmental Assets—that help young children grow up to be healthy, caring, and responsible adults.  See, e.g.,

Society for Research on Adolescence
See, e.g., 4H Study at  Discusses findings from a long term, large-scale study “designed to designed to test the idea that when the strengths of youth are aligned with ecological assets, [positive youth development] will occur.” 

Stand Up For Kids

Strengthening Families


Youth on Board