Recipient of the 2022 Bold Steps for Children Award
At the 15th Annual Santa Clara County Children's Summit, hosted by Kids in Common, the Juvenile Justice Gender Responsive Task Force (JJGRTF) was presented with the Bold Steps for Children Award for their work to end incarceration for girls and gender-expansive youth in Santa Clara County.
Women and Girls’ Justice - Advancing gender-responsive, trauma-informed strategies to address the needs of justice-involved women and girls.
Juvenile Justice Gender Responsive Task Force
Since 2015, the Juvenile Justice Gender Responsive Task Force (JJGRTF) has created a collaborative space for government and community stakeholders to collectively prioritize the needs of system-involved girls and gender expansive youth and to tackle the County's most pressing challenges at the intersections of gender, race, and justice. In 2019, the JJGRTF set its sights on the ambitious goal of ending girls' incarceration in Santa Clara. Under the leadership of the group's co-chairs, Santa Clara County applied to and was selected to join the Vera Institute of Justice's first cohort of sites across the country with this mission. At the same time, the co-chairs looked to promising models from across the state and worked to bring the Young Women's Freedom Center, a best practice gender-responsive program, to Santa Clara County.
Over the past few years, the JJGRTF has partnered with Vera and worked hard to take an honest look at how the juvenile legal system functions and to create the change needed to better serve the County's young people. The courts and probation have implemented practice changes aimed at eliminating the practice of confining girls and gender-expansive youth for their own safety or to connect them to resources. Government and community stakeholders are working together to avoid custody by fully exploring programming to support girls and gender-expansive youth in their community. The County has committed to investing in new economic and housing supports for young people and their families to prevent girls and gender-expansive youth from sitting in Juvenile Hall because they have nowhere else to go. Throughout it all, government partners regularly share data so that they are held accountable for their commitments and progress, and the work has been done with a clear commitment to centering the needs and leadership of directly impacted young people and the adults that support them.
Between 2018 and 2020, Santa Clara County saw a nearly 60% decline in girls' annual admissions to Juvenile Hall. In 2020, the County had its first few days with zero girls in custody. Last year, zero became the norm: since July 2021, the monthly average daily population of girls in Juvenile Hall has held steady at 1, and there has not been a girl held at the Ranch.
Now, through the continued leadership of Office of Women’s Policy, the JJGRTF is focused on institutionalizing important practice changes, overseeing implementation of new solutions and developing a new leadership structure that prioritizes shared leadership between government, community. based organizations, and directly impacted young people.
The JJGRTF is comprised of government agencies, community-based organizations, community members and directly impacted young people from Santa Clara County.
The Honorable Michael Clark, Presiding Judge, Santa Clara County Juvenile Court
Julie Ramirez, Interim Manager, Office of Women's Policy
Nick Birchard, Deputy Chief, Juvenile Institutions Division, Santa Clara County Probation Depart
JJGRTF Member Agencies and Organizations
Alianza for Youth Justice
Art of Yoga Project
Bill Wilson Center
City of San Jose Mayor's Gang Prevention Task Force
County of Santa Clara Behavioral Health Services
County of Santa Clara District Attorney's Office
County of Santa Clara Office of Women's Policy
County of Santa Clara Probation Department
County of Santa Clara Superior Court Juvenile Justice Division
Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY)
Juvenile Justice Commission of Santa Clara County
National Center for Youth Law (NCYL)
New Hope for Youth
South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking
Vera Institute of Justice
Young Women's Freedom Center
If you would like to be invited to the task force meetings, please email [email protected]