Convener Action Guide

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Every day, juvenile court judges bring together a range of family members, attorneys and advocates, service providers, and others to inform decisions in the best interest of youth and to preserve public safety. Judges in many ways are natural convenors in the juvenile justice system. Even so, not all judges have applied and extended their skills outside of the courtroom to bring about system change.

"Exercising Judicial Leadership to Reform the Care of Non-Delinquent Youth: A Convenor's Action Guide for Developing a Multi-Stakeholder Processis a tool to support judges seeking to do that work and have that impact. The Convener Action Guide offers concrete steps for judicial leaders who want to take action to achieve better outcomes for youth charged with status offenses. It shares the experiences of judges across the country who have leveraged their roles on the bench to make a difference in the lives of youth and families in need. It translates the lessons from Positive Power into a practical implementation guide for judges interested in effecting change and improving outcomes for non-delinquent youth in their communities.  

This guide is written for judges who hear cases or are otherwise responsible for systems that involve youth who were charged with status offenses. It is intended especially for those judges who are looking for ways to play a leadership role and to promote action-oriented discussion in their communities across stakeholder groups that address the needs of these youth.  

However, the use of this guide is not restricted to those who believe that confinement of youth charged with non-delinquent behavior is inappropriate. Regardless of a judge’s philosophy on how to address status offenses, the approaches outlined in the guide can still be used to form and sustain meaningful partnerships across stakeholder groups with a unified focus on identifying the best responses to the needs of these youth and their communities.