Youth In Custody Practice Model (YICPM)

CJCA MeetingInformed by research on “what works” in serving youth in custody, as well as professional standards and the field’s preeminent thinking on best practices, the Youth in Custody Practice Model (YICPM) initiative is designed to assist state and county juvenile correctional agencies and facility providers to implement a comprehensive and effective service delivery approach.

Utilizing the YICPM monograph as a roadmap, the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA), the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy (CJJR), and a team of consultants will provide participating agencies with 18 months of Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) to align core, research-based principles with everyday practice, and achieve more positive outcomes for youth, families, staff and communities.

The Youth in Custody Practice Model provides agencies with guidance on essential practices in four key areas:

  1. Case planning;
  2. Facility-based services (e.g., education, behavioral health, behavior management, rehabilitative programming);
  3. Transition/reentry; and
  4. Community-based services.

The enumerated practices stem from the view that services and approaches for post-dispositional youth and their families should be: research-based; developmentally appropriate; family-centered; individually focused and predicated on validated assessments; strength-based; trauma-informed; data-informed and outcome-driven; culturally responsive; and coordinated.

With support and guidance from CJCA and CJJR, the YICPM was authored by a team of national juvenile justice experts, including: Kelly Dedel, Ph.D.; Monique Marrow, Ph.D.; Fariborz Pakseresht; and Michael Umpierre, Esq.

Overview of the TTA Provided
Goals, Expected Outcomes & Evaluation
Why Apply & What to Expect
How to Apply

Overview of the TTA Provided

Intensive training and technical assistance will be provided to the sites to support their efforts to implement the YICPM. Each site’s 18-months of training and technical assistance will be a customized package of services within the general framework of the overall initiative. The training and technical assistance will support sites in:

  • Assessing current practices compared to the comprehensive, research-based blueprint presented by the YICPM;
  • Developing a customized action plan to implement desired policy and practice improvements and achieve measurable objectives;
  • Training staff on the research undergirding the YICPM and the strategies listed therein;
  • Building and broadening a coalition of support for the system improvements through an implementation team and a key stakeholders group;
  • Creating strategies designed to achieve long term sustainability of the efforts, such as policy development, training, quality assurance and performance measurement; and
  • Measuring the effectiveness of the training and technical assistance in changing practices and achieving positive outcomes.

CJCA PanelThe training and technical assistance will be delivered by national experts with experience in the youth in custody arena. The lead consultants providing training and technical assistance will include:

  • Mike Dempsey (Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators);
  • Shay Bilchik (Center for Juvenile Justice Reform);
  • Kelly Dedel (One in 37 Research, Inc.); and
  • Michael Umpierre (Center for Juvenile Justice Reform).
  • Stephanie Vetter (Juvenile Justice Consultant and National Trainer).

Additionally, the consulting team will include a number of specialized subject matter experts available to assist sites in targeted areas requiring further attention. The lead consultants will work with each site to identify areas of interest for this specialized consultation.

Goals, Expected Outcomes & Evaluation

 The Youth in Custody Practice Model initiative is designed to help systems achieve four primary goals:

  1. Promote safe, fair and healthy environments for youth, staff and families;
  2. Prepare, equip, empower and support staff to provide effective services;
  3. Increase positive youth and family experiences and outcomes; and
  4. Enhance community safety.

The table below lists some of the anticipated outcomes associated with each of the YICPM’s four goals. The extent to which they will apply to a specific site depends on the areas of need identified by the gap analysis and targeted by the action plan.


The training and technical assistance package includes a strong data collection component. Dr. Jennifer Woolard, Associate Professor of Psychology at Georgetown University and Co-Director the University’s Graduate Program in Developmental Science, and her staff will provide training and technical assistance to sites to support data collection, analysis, and report writing related to the YICPM research methodology. This effort is designed to measure the impact the YICPM has on changing practices and achieving positive outcomes.

Why Apply & What to Expect

The strongest applicants will have a history of juvenile justice reforms and a high-level commitment to quality system and practice improvements at the agency and facility levels, including through the use of policy development, training, quality assurance and performance measurement. They will also have the capacity to collect data over a sustained period of time though an exiting informational system in order to collaborate with the YICPM data collection and evaluation process. They will have a willingness to focus YICPM implementation in up to three facilities in the jurisdiction, with the goal of expanding implementation to other facilities in the jurisdiction (i.e. state,county, or regional area).

Implementing the YICPM will require a significant commitment from each of the participating sites. At a minimum, participating agencies should be prepared to:

  • Engage in monthly conference calls;
  • Participate in at least six site visits (including preparation and follow-up);
  • Communicate regularly with the consulting team;
  • Drive the data collection process; and
  • Coordinate the various implementation groups (e.g., implementation team, workgroups, guiding coalition).

Sites are expected to contribute funding to support the training and technical assistance. This fee must be paid in full prior to commencement of the training and technical assistance. This fee does not include the cost of local staff time devoted to this project. It is recommended that 50% of a staff person’s time be devoted to managing and coordinating this project with the consultant team.

How to Apply

Three sites (i.e., state or county juvenile justice agencies and/or facility provider organizations) will be selected to participate in the program through a competitive application process. The checklist below details the process step by step including key dates. If you are interested in learning more about and applying to the Youth in Custody Practice Model, download the information guide and application packet below.


 Quotes from Participants

“The Youth in Custody Practice Model (YICPM) has provided the Texas Juvenile Justice Department with a unique and structured method to not only take a very candid and critical look at how well we perform the most consequential aspects of our work, but also to determine what we will do differently and how we will implement the enhancements. The YICPM came along at a critical juncture in the reform effort in Texas and provided us the vehicle we needed to re-focus ourselves on those practices shown to produce the best outcomes and to do so in a way that will institutionalize best practice. As an agency, we could not have invested our time more wisely than to align our operations with this model.”   - David Reilly, Executive Director, Texas Juvenile Justice Department

“The Youth in Custody Practice Model (YICPM) technical assistance through the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform and the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators has been a very positive and productive process for our team here at the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services. Our goal entering the process was to achieve the next level of quality in the delivery of secure residential services. The YICPM process has provided us with the structure, support and guidance to do just that. It’s very interactive and the ‘compass’ is set by the customer. The YICPM team has experience and discipline related to setting goals and outcome measures that have helped us tighten up a number of our core residential practices. It’s been a great opportunity.” - Peter J. Forbes, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Youth Services

“The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice is proud to participate in the Youth in Custody Practice Model (YICPM) as it aligns with our efforts in recent years to strategically reform our state’s juvenile justice system. The partner providers piloting the YICPM have developed strategic plans to improve facility practice and better support staff, and have implemented new strategies to enhance the residential environment and the services provided to youth. In short, participation in the YICPM has allowed us to strengthen our service delivery, implement best practices, and moves us forward in our mission to have the most comprehensive juvenile justice system possible and provide optimal services for the youth in our care.” - Christina K. Daly, Secretary, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice

“As one of five private care management organizations contracted to deliver juvenile justice services in Wayne County, Michigan, StarrVista is always looking for ways in which we can provide services to our children and families that meet their risk and needs. Over the past year we have worked with the Youth in Custody Practice Model (YICPM) consultants who have guided us in assessing and enhancing our policies and practice. The YICPM initiative enables juvenile justice agencies to develop and refine policies and practice within a research-based structure. It is a blueprint that will result in improved outcomes for children and families while supporting and engaging staff. The YICPM is a ‘win-win’ on every level.”   - Michelle Rowser, CEO, StarrVista, Wayne County, Michigan