however, was that passage of a new law does not automatically result in its successful
implementation. For that reason, Models for Change partners affirmatively sought out
opportunities to inform justice system personnel about newly-enacted laws, to answer questions
about the legislation, and to suggest practical implementation strategies. Another effective post-adoption effort was to conduct follow-up studies to measure the effect of new legislation. In several
cases these studies turned out to be important opportunities for laying the groundwork for
subsequent policy and practice changes.
C. Focus on Local Communities
In addition to promoting statewide “top-down” reform efforts, the Models for Change
initiative invested heavily in supporting systems change at the local level where juvenile crime
occurs and where it most directly affects individual victims, offenders, family members, and the
community. Recognizing that local leaders are in the best position to understand their
communities’ unique problems and needs, five geographically-diverse jurisdictions ranging from
large urban locales to small rural counties were selected to receive modest grants to identify and
implement proposed reforms in their own local jurisdictions.
91 Some of the most successful and
replicable models of systems improvement grew out of work done in these sites.
One example of how the work carried out by local Models for Change sites has impacted
the larger juvenile justice field arose in connection with their collaborative efforts around the issue
of adolescent domestic battery. Nationally, it is estimated that up to one-quarter of youth charged
with assault or battery are accused of having acted violently against a family member, often a
92 In Illinois, three local Models for Change jurisdictions (Cook, DuPage and Ogle
Counties) independently observed that a disproportionate number of the youth in their detention
centers were charged with battery in the home.
93 They also noted that traditional juvenile justice
interventions did not appear to be effective when dealing with this group of young offenders.
Because these jurisdictions were regularly brought together to report on their reform efforts and to
share experiences and observations, they decided to work together to better understand the issue
of adolescent domestic battery. After extensive review of local data, state domestic violence laws,
and programs in other jurisdictions, the three sites together developed and tested new models for
working with families in crisis, with a goal of diverting many of these youth from the justice system
95 The three jurisdictions collaboratively identified and built a continuum of care for
90 See, e.g., supra notes 38–42 and accompanying text.
91 The five Illinois counties and organizations that were selected as Illinois Models for Change pilot sites were DuPage
County, Ogle County Juvenile Justice Council, Children’s Home Association of Illinois (Peoria), Second Judicial
Circuit, Youth Outreach Services (Cook). See MEASURABLE PROGRESS, supra note 25.
92 See Linda L. Baker, Alison J. Cunningham, and Kimberley Harris, Violence Within Families and Intimate
Relationships, in JUVENILE JUSTICE: ADVANCING RESEARCH, POLICY AND PRACTICE 224 (Francine T. Sherman &
Francine H. Jacobs, eds., 2011) (citing research on high levels of abuse and victimization experienced by many youth
charged with household violence). Most of these youth have been exposed to various forms of maltreatment and
violence in their young lives. Id. at 224–28. See also Francine T. Sherman, Justice for Girls: Are We Making
Progress?, 59 UCLA L. REV. 1584, 1602–03 (2012) (citing a rise in girls’ arrests for assault for home-based violence,
with sixty percent of such arrests for violence against a parent).
93 See SHANNON HARTNETT, ET AL., ADOLESCENT DOMESTIC BATTERY: RESPONDING EFFECTIVELY TO FAMILIES IN
CRISIS, ILLINOIS MODELS FOR CHANGE 4 (2012) (citing an overreliance on arrest and detention of youth involved in