Status Offense Systems Change Toolkit

Click here to view the full toolkit in PDF

Juvenile and family court judges serve an important role not only in the lives of the youth and families in their courtrooms, but in their larger communities.  Using their convening power and position as an expert on legal and court issues, judges can educate others about better ways to address the needs of children and families. Other professionals, such as attorneys, juvenile justice agency staff, policymakers and advocates can also raise awareness and share knowledge on these important issues. As part of the Safety, Opportunity and Success (SOS) Project, the Coalition for Juvenile Justice created this "Making the Case for Status Offense Systems Change: A Toolkit," a set of resources which give users the tools they need to educate others about status offenses and the need for better responses to youth charged with these behaviors.

The materials in this toolkit will help judges and other professionals work with a wide range of audiences, including those who do not have extensive knowledge about status offenses or the court system. The toolkit contains talking points on status offenses, a fact sheet/handout that debunks myths about status offenses, a PowerPoint on improving responses to youth charged with status offenses, a brief on CJJ's National Standards for the Care of Youth Charged with Status Offenses, and additional resources. Readers can use these tools as an initial step in educating their colleagues and others about the need for improved responses to status offenses.  Additional materials from CJJ are included in the Appendix to the toolkit, and give more in depth guidance on creating broad and sustainable change.

Judicial Leadership Toolkit

I. Talking Points on Status Offenses


II. Debunking Myths about Status Offenses (Handout)


III. Improving Responses to Youth Charged With Status Offenses (PowerPoint)

IV. The National Standards for the Care of Youth Charged With Status Offenses (Brief)


A. Exercising Judicial Leadership to Reform the Care of Non-Delinquent Youth: A Convenor’s Action Guide for Developing a Multi-Stakeholder Process

B. Status Offense Laws (Model Policy Guide)

C. Use of the Valid Court Order Exception in the States (Fact Sheet)

D. Emerging Issues Briefs

a. Disproportionate Minority Contact and Status Offenses

b. Girls, Status Offenses and the Need for a Less Punitive and More Empowering Approach

c. Running Away: Finding Solutions that Work for Youth and their Communities

E. Policy Guidance

a. Addressing Truancy and Other Status Offenses

b. LGBTQ Youth and Status Offenses

c. Ungovernable and Runaway Youth

d. Status Offenses and Family Engagement

e. Juvenile Defense in Status Offense Cases

F. POSITIVE POWER: Exercising Judicial Leadership to Prevent Court Involvement and Incarceration of Non-Delinquent Youth

G. The National Standards for the Care of Youth Charged with Status Offenses