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Implementation & Accountability

Reduce Juvenile Detention

Implementation & Accountability


Because of the variety in proven interventions, states and communities have leeway to find programs that suit local values, opportunities and budgets. The key is to select strategies that have documented effectiveness, assure that they are implemented well and recognize the critical importance of a strong commitment to continuous program improvement.

  • Match expectations with sufficient resources.  Be clear about the goals, purpose and target audience for specific programs.  Provide sufficient resources to ensure fidelity to the evidence-based model, or modify expectations to accommodate variances.
  • Identify barriers.  Effective policy development requires the identification of factors that may impede effective implementation.
  • Make provisions for broad-based input.  When involvement will increase the likelihood that the needs of children and families are being met by the policy,engage community stakeholders in implementation.
  • Support local capacity and communication. Provide technical assistance, monitoring, and oversight to local programs and agencies.  Create opportunities for local-to-local communication, best practices sharing, and local input on state policy decisions.
  • Support ongoing evaluation and continuous program improvement.

The Texas Juvenile Probation Commission (TJPC) and the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) are directed by statute to jointly develop a biennial coordinated strategic plan (Texas Human Resources Code, §61.0911, §141.0471, and §141.0472). Requirements for the strategic plan have included short- and long-term policy goals, projections of the juvenile justice population, aftercare services evaluations, establishment of measures for recidivism and educational progress, objective criteria to address disparate treatment of minority youth, and plans for data-sharing and communication between the two agencies. The Executive Strategic Planning Committee is required to include representatives from stakeholder groups including juvenile offenders, families of juvenile offenders, local probation departments, mental health treatment professionals, victims of delinquent or criminal conduct and local educators.


Accountability requires determining whether programs are implemented correctly, the right programs and strategies are used, progress is measured appropriately and children and families are benefiting. Oversight, by both the legislature and the executive branch, is important for understanding why some policies fail to be implemented effectively and efficiently and the options available to make corrections and revisions. The ultimate purpose of these inquiries is to measure both results and performance.

What You Need to Know

  • Monitor results.  Through data, other information, and consultation, it is possible to determine if the results we set out to achieve for children and families have been attained.  By reexamining the selected indicators we can measure our progress toward the desired result.
  • Monitor performance.  Oversight requires policy makers to determine if policy objectives have been achieved by focusing attention on the performance of specific programs or agencies. This involves reviewing individual programs and their impact on the lives of the people the program is designed to serve.
  • Assign responsibility for realistic outcomes. Responsibility for outcomesshould be designated based on the appropriate roles, resources and capacity of public and private stakeholders. 
  • Establish oversight bodies that consistently review key actions by state agencies.
  • Measure and report progress to stakeholders and the community. Require public availability of data to allow administrators, policymakers and the public to measure the state’s progress on key outcomes.

The New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission has expanded its capacity to evaluate the performance and outcomes of its facilities, programs and contracts through its Research and Evaluation Unit. Because the primary goal is to reduce recidivism, the Commission conducts research and evaluation in an effort to systematically examine recidivism rates of youth. In addition, the Commission is analyzing program outcomes pertaining to personal growth (such as reduction of antisocial attitudes and improvements in anger control) that are supportive of a more productive and law-biding adult life.


Maine Marks, the accountability system of the Maine Governor’s Children’s Cabinet, monitors and reports on 12 results and 80 indicators. Maine’s Governor uses these data to report annually on the well-being of the State’s children and families.


See an example of a report outlining efforts to “turn the curve” oversight report.


A checklist of questions to ask in order to improve accountability and monitoring.


Juvenile Justice Bill Tracking Database.
Created by the National Conference of State Legislatures, a searchable database allows you to locate juvenile justice legislation by State, topic, key word, year, status, or primary sponsor.


A checklist of questions to ask in order to increase the likelihood of successful implementation.