Focusing Juvenile Justice on Positive Youth Development

The concepts underlying positive youth development are beginning to have an impact on how policymakers, practitioners, and community members think about adolescent development and the methods of encouraging youth to achieve healthy transitions to adulthood. Despite the growing acceptance of these goals by some sectors in the social services system, juvenile justice programs are largely focused on the traditional goals of law enforcement -- detection, suppression, supervision, and punishment. This issue brief examines how juvenile justice agencies might draw from the growing body of evidence on positive youth development to improve services for youthful offenders.