SORC Toolkit Module 3: Planning and Implementing System Change
Published Apr 30, 2014, Status Offense Reform Center, Vera Institute of Justice
Transforming a juvenile justice oriented status offense system – one that is likely complex and has been in place for decades – into one that is community-based, family-focused, and service oriented can be difficult. Questions commonly raised by state and local officials looking to make such changes include: Who should be involved? What should our new system look like? And, most critical, how will we know if it’s effective?
To help address these and many other questions, the Status Offense Reform Center (SORC) has developed A Toolkit for Status Offense System Reform. The purpose of the toolkit is simple: to provide the guidance and tools you need to create—outside of the juvenile justice system—an approach for responding to and serving youth charged with status offenses in the community.
The toolkit is organized into four modules: (1) Structuring System Change (2) Using Local Information to Guide System Change (3) Planning and Implementing System Change and (4) Monitoring and Sustaining System Change.
Planning and Implementing System Change describes how you can actively use information about your local system, in combination with a review of promising practices from across the country, to plan and implement system change that best meets your local needs.
Step 1: Look to Promising Practices across the Country describes how to learn from states and localities that have shifted away from traditional court responses to provide immediate access to community-based social services and supports to families in crisis.
Step 2: Prioritize Areas for Reform describes how to prioritize two to three reform areas and then set achievable, measureable objectives for each.
Step 3: Articulate your Aspirations for Local Change describes how to work collaboratively to envision what you want your local system to look like down the road.
Step 4: Design the Reform describes how to identify the structural and programmatic supports necessary for your desired system change to take hold. Specifically, it offers guidance on how to think through the following eight questions:
- What is your method of change?
- Who are you trying to help?
- How will you screen and assess the target population?
- What community-based services will you provide?
- How will you manage and monitor cases?
- Who is responsible?
- How will you pay for your reform?
- How will you measure success?
Step 5: Implement the Reform describes key actions that can help smooth the often bumpy road of implementation. Specifically, it offers guidance on how to:
- Start small
- Promote the reform efforts
- Secure committed and inclusive leadership
- Promote staff competency through hiring, training, and coaching practices
- Monitor quality and adjust when needed