The National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) was funded by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund to conduct an independent research study of girls in the Florida juvenile justice system in order to inform a comprehensive approach to gender-specific juvenile justice programming. This report presents new research findings on the pathways of girls into the Florida juvenile justice system and identifies their treatment needs. Additionally, it furthers the discussion about an essential set of services and a system of care that meets the multiple needs of girls in the juvenile justice system. The research supports change in the response to girls, both in treatment services and in policy/system changes that are needed to increase success with the girls. This research should be of interest to every child advocate, Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) staff from prevention to residential, lawmakers, law enforcement, judges, and concerned Florida citizens.
The NCCD research sample includes a total of 319 girls in the Florida system -- 244 girls from 13 different residential DJJ programs (low, moderate, high, and maximum risk) and 75 girls from six non-residential programs (PACE Centers). NCCD used its Juvenile Assessment and Intervention System (JAIS) interview instrument to learn more about girls in the system at the aggregate level, including their intervention needs and risk level of offending, and also to suggest supervision strategies for working with them. NCCD also conducted focus groups with staff to better understand the gaps in services and barriers to implementation. The following is a summary of the major findings and recommendations of the final report.