to recommend that decision-makers appoint a task force or some other independent body to study
an issue and report its findings and recommendations within a specified period of time.
strategy ensured that the proposed reform remained on the table and increased the likelihood that
system decision-makers would have confidence in the reliability of recommendations made by an
entity that they themselves had identified.
F. Plan for Sustainability
All reform efforts, no matter how successful, risk losing ground unless affirmative steps
are taken to sustain them over time. New priorities, changes in leadership, loss of funding, and
inertia all pose threats to the momentum and political will that allowed change to occur in the first
place. There are, nonetheless, measures that can be taken to secure policy and practice advances
and continue the process of reform. Research suggests that strong leadership and the active
involvement of key stakeholders can cement existing reforms and accelerate the pace of change
107 How leadership and system engagement are built and nurtured, however,
depends in part on the governing structures and culture of each state. Illinois, for example, does
not have a tradition of active stakeholder membership organizations focused on juvenile justice
issues. As a consequence, those involved in the Models for Change initiative realized that it would
be essential to establish new leadership structures that could steward system improvement efforts
after the MacArthur Foundation exited the field of juvenile justice.
Responding to this need, a key group of thought-leaders and decision-makers came
together to form the Illinois Juvenile Justice Leadership Council. The Council, co-chaired by two
Illinois Supreme Court Justices and the Director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, is
made up of over seventy stakeholders from across the state, including judges, probation and law
enforcement officers, prosecutors, defenders, service providers, academics, and youth
108 The Council meets quarterly to learn about the latest research, identify system
strengths and weaknesses, and establish priorities for change. To date, Council members have
focused their efforts on improving the state’s approach to data collection and analysis,
strengthening the role of families in the justice system, identifying effective diversion strategies,
and improving the delivery of mental health and substance abuse services. By working together to
learn about issues faced by juvenile justice policy-makers and front-line workers, members of the
Leadership Council are building a knowledge base and establishing relationships that build on the
foundation formed by Models for Change.
To aid the work of the Leadership Council and advance the state’s goal of grounding its
juvenile justice system in evidence-based knowledge, Illinois has also established a
inquency.html (citing reform core strategies of the Annie E. Casey Juvenile Detention Reform Initiative, including
the critical role of accurate data in overcoming myths and promoting agreement leading to improved policy and
practice). See also RAISE THE AGE CT, CONN. JUVENILE JUSTICE ALL., http://www.raisetheagect.org/how-
implementation.html (last visited Jan. 22, 2016) (describing how data collection on youth arrests overcame objections
that raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction in Connecticut would be too costly).
106 See supra note 24 and accompanying text.
107 NAT’L ASSEMBLY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERV. ORG./NAT’L COLLABORATION FOR YOUTH, FORMING &
SUSTAINING STATEWIDE JUVENILE JUSTICE COLLABORATIONS, 3–4 (2003); JANET K. WIIG, ET AL., SUSTAINING
CHANGE: A MODELS FOR CHANGE GUIDEBOOK 5 (2010).
108 See MEASURABLE PROGRESS, supra note 25, at 20 (summarizing the Leadership Council’s membership, goals and