The John D. and Catherine T.
Increasingly, justice systems across the U.S. have come to treat juvenile offenders as if they
were adults: prosecuting them in adult criminal courts, imposing harsher and more puni-
tive sanctions, and often jailing juveniles and adults in the same facilities. These policies
have high social and individual costs that receive little public scrutiny. Of special concern
is the disproportionate weight of punitive policies borne by minority youths.
In addressing these and other issues in the ﬁeld of juvenile justice, the Foundation has
taken an unorthodox approach — one that is grounded in the growing body of research
on youth development. At its heart is the belief that a thorough understanding of child
and adolescent development will enable decision makers to develop more effective policies
and practices and make more rational choices in individual cases. It is a perspective that
seeks common ground between the critics who decry the system as not tough enough
to preserve public safety, and those who say that the system fails to consider children’s
The Foundation’s juvenile justice initiative comprises a coordinated set of activities in
research, training, policy analysis, public education, and advocacy. Its aim is to promote
a fair, rational, and effective juvenile justice system that is linked to other relevant
agencies and organizations and is held accountable for public safety and the rehabilitation
of young offenders.
Such a system— encompassing laws, regulations, court rules, policies, and administrative
practices— would be built on a framework of six basic principles:
• Fundamental fairness for all youth who become involved in the system
• Recognition of the developmental differences between young people and adults,
as determined by sound scientiﬁc research
• Recognition of young offenders’ potential to be rehabilitated and to change in a way
that beneﬁts them and society as a whole
• Safety for communities and individuals
• Personal responsibility for one’s own actions
• Community and system responsibility — society’s obligation to safeguard the welfare
of children and adolescents, to support them in need, and to help them grow into
healthy, productive citizens.
Through its grantmaking, the Foundation is implementing its strategy at three levels:
developing a knowledge base and tools to inform decisions in policy and practice; develop-
ing and promoting model demonstrations of system-wide reform in targeted sites; and
translating knowledge into action through advocacy and dissemination.
Developing the knowledge base. The Research Network on Adolescent Development and
Juvenile Justice is the anchor grant for this initiative. The goals of this long-term, compre-
hensive, interdisciplinary program are to identify areas in which there is existing knowledge
about adolescent development that might be put to better use by practitioners and policy-
makers; to develop new knowledge regarding adolescent development as it relates to
juvenile justice decision making by the courts, legislatures, and agencies; to disseminate
that knowledge to professionals and to the public; to improve decision making in the
current system; and to prepare the way for the next generation of juvenile justice reform.
Models of systems reform. On a national level, the Foundation has supported a variety of
efforts to train practitioners, to promote appropriate laws and policies, to establish commu-
nity-based alternatives for sanctioning and supervising juvenile offenders, and to develop
and foster more effective practices in Illinois and nationwide. While these are critical
elements of systems reform, the next challenge is to integrate the elements in speciﬁc sites.
Under the Models for Change: Systems Reform in Juvenile Justice initiative, the Foundation is
supporting the development of reforms it hopes will lead to model systems in a small
number of states. In Illinois, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Washington State, the Foundation
is working on a range of issues, including aftercare, community-based alternatives to
incarceration, and the coordination of the juvenile justice system with other partners in the
community such as the education, child welfare, and mental health systems. The goal is to
bring about changes in law, policy, and practice that may serve as models for juvenile
justice reform elsewhere. In each of the targeted states, the Foundation also is pursuing the
speciﬁc goal of reducing racial and ethnic over-representation in the system. We have
learned from experience that opportunities to correct these problems will not surface
unless racial discrimination and bias in decisions are addressed directly. Models for Change
works with more states through “issue networks” focused on the critical challenges of
disproportionality and mental health. By supporting work in these targeted sites and
bringing it to national attention, the Foundation hopes to create a level of awareness
about the promise of reform that will stimulate the interest and create the political will
to improve policies and practices in other jurisdictions.
Advocacy and dissemination. The Foundation has supported efforts to strengthen and build a
constituency for rational and effective juvenile justice policy by engaging professional
organizations and civic and community groups not previously involved in juvenile justice
advocacy. We also seek to expand state advocacy efforts through grants to national advo-
cacy organizations with state and local afﬁliates and networks of reform organizations
active across the country.
T H E J O H N D. A N D C A T H E R I N E T. M A C A R T H U R F O U N D A T I O N 2
CENTER FOR CHILDREN’S LAW AND POLICY, Washington, D.C. NATIONAL COUNCIL OF JUVENILE AND FAMILY COURT
$1,500,000 in support of activities to reduce dispropor- JUDGES, Reno, Nevada
tionate minority contact and racial and ethnic disparities $1,500,000 in support of technical assistance, docu-
in the Models for Change states (over three years). mentation, and coordination for the Models for
Change initiative (over two years).
CHILD WELFARE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, Washington, D.C.
$1,200,000 in support of the Juvenile Justice Division NATIONAL COUNCIL OF LARAZA, Washington, D.C.
(over three years). $350,000 in support of the Latino Juvenile Justice
Network (over two years).
COALITION FOR JUVENILE JUSTICE, Washington, D.C.
$400,000 to sponsor the National Network of State NATIONAL JUVENILE DEFENDER CENTER, Washington, D.C.
Juvenile Justice Collaborations and to promote a $1,275,000 in support of activities to provide profes-
Nationwide Partnership for State Juvenile Justice sional development and training to juvenile court
Reform (over two years). personnel in adolescent development and enhance the
capacity of juvenile defense counsel in the Models for
COUNCIL OF JUVENILE CORRECTIONAL ADMINISTRATORS, change estates (over three years).
$450,000 in support of project management in three OHIO UNIVERSITY, SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION STUDIES,
pilot counties in Pennsylvania to deliver mental health Athens, Ohio
services to youth involved in the juvenile justice system $75,000 for a demonstration of social network analysis
(over three years). to understand the structure of inﬂuence in Pennsylva-
nia’s juvenile justice system.
JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE, Washington, D.C.
$300,000 in support of policy advocacy and com- PHILADELPHIA DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES,
munications planning to promote juvenile justice Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
reform in targeted states (over two years). $240,000 in support of the Reintegration Reform
Initiative (over three years).
JUVENILE COURT JUDGES’COMMISSION, Harrisburg,
Pennsylvania POLICY RESEARCH, Delmar, New York
$276,000 to provide technical assistance and training $1,200,000 in support of the National Center for
to judges and probation ofﬁcers in model aftercare Mental Health and Juvenile Justice and for efforts
approaches (over three years). to improve policy and practice in the Foundation’s
targeted sites (over three years).
JUVENILE JUSTICE INITIATIVE, Evanston, Illinois
$375,000 in support of efforts to improve the juvenile STATE OF LOUISIANA, OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR,
justice system of Illinois (over three years). Baton Rouge, Louisiana
$120,000 to develop a redesigned integrated child
JUVENILE LAW CENTER, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and family services system as a platform for a model
$1,025,000 in support of activities as the lead entity juvenile justice system.
for the Models for Change initiative in Pennsylvania
(over three years). TEMPLE UNIVERSITY, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
LOYOLA UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, CIVITAS CHILDLAW $5,600,000 in support of the Research Network
CENTER, Chicago, Illinois on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice
$750,000 in support of activities as the lead entity (over four years).
for the Models for Change initiate in Illinois (over
three years). UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS AT WORCESTER,
NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF STATE LEGISLATURES,
$975,000 in support of the National Youth Screening
$400,000 in support of activities to develop interest and Assistance Project (over three years).
leadership capacity in juvenile justice issues in state
legislatures (over two years).
T H E J O H N D. A N D C A T H E R I N E T. M A C A R T H U R F O U N D A T I O N 3
About the Foundation
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is a private, independent grantmaking institu-
tion dedicated to helping groups and individuals foster lasting improvement in the human condition.
Through the support it provides, the Foundation fosters the development of knowledge, nurtures
individual creativity, helps strengthen institutions, helps improve public policy, and provides informa-
tion to the public, primarily through support for public interest media.
The Foundation makes grants through four programs and by making program-related investments.
• The Program on Global Security and Sustainability focuses on international issues, including peace and
security, conservation and sustainable development, population and reproductive health, and
human rights. The program also supports initiatives in Russia and Nigeria, particularly concerning
the improvement of higher education. International ofﬁces are located in Mexico, India, Nigeria,
• The Program on Human and Community Development operates primarily within the United States.
Issues of interest to the program include community development; regional policy; affordable
housing, with a particular emphasis on the preservation of rental housing; and system reform in
education, juvenile justice, and mental health.
• The General Program supports public interest media, including public radio and the production
of independent documentary ﬁlm; and makes grants to arts and cultural institutions in the
• The MacArthur Fellows Program awards ﬁve-year, unrestricted fellowships to individuals across all
ages and ﬁelds who show exceptional merit and promise of continued creative work. It is limited
to U.S. citizens and other residents of the United States.
Program-Related Investments (PRIs) are loans and equity investments provided at belowmarket
rates for projects that advance the philanthropic objectives of the Foundation. Used primarily in the
Program on Human and Community Development, most PRIs support U.S.-based community
development ﬁnancial institutions, organizations that provide affordable banking services for indi-
viduals and ﬁnancing for small businesses, low-cost housing, and community facilities.
The Foundation beneﬁts in its work from diversity at all levels of its operations. In working with
other organizations and individuals, the Foundation values those who understand and share its
commitment to diversity.
One of the nation’s ten largest private philanthropic foundations, MacArthur has awarded more
than $3 billion in grants since it began operations in 1978, and today has assets of about $5 billion.
Annual grantmaking totals approximately $180 million.
The Foundation believes its grantmaking is most effective when focused upon a relatively few
areas of work, combined with sufﬁcient resources over a long enough period of time to make a
John D. MacArthur (1897–1978) developed and owned Bankers Life and Casualty Company and
other businesses, as well as considerable property in Florida and New York. His wife Catherine
(1909–1981) held positions in many of these companies and served as a director of the Foundation.
For more information about the Foundation or to
sign up to receive MacArthur’s free monthly electronic
newsletter, please visit www.macfound.org.
The John D. and Catherine T. 140 South Dearborn Street FAX: (312) 920-6258
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