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PbS Reentry Standards

The Juvenile Reentry Measurement Standards project was launched by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in October 2015 to create a set of national standards and outcome measures aligned with the most current adolescent development research to increase the effectiveness of reentry services and promote positive youth reentry practices and outcomes. The project was a natural extension of PbS’ national standards for secure facilities and community residential programs.

PbS began development of the reentry standards and measures with an extensive literature review, as well as research including a national field scan of existing reentry services, practices, tools and positive youth outcome measures. The research and scan were integrated into 11 domains most likely to provide young people leaving juvenile justice – residential care and community supervision – with the best possible chance to be successful. Justice experts and leaders, reentry professionals and researchers convened to draft the first set of standards based on these 11 domains. The draft standards and measures were pilot tested in more than 30 different and varied reentry programs in Arkansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Sacramento County, Ca. and Utah.

The project resulted in a framework of standards and measures to assess youths’ preparedness and readiness when they leave residential placement, post-placement supervision and/or when their system involvement ends that is grounded in research and practice. The framework, guided by principles of fairness, accountability, family and collaboration, is organized by key reentry domains such as preventing reoffending, and increasing positive youth outcomes in the areas of education, employment, well-being, health, and connection to community. Additionally, domains for best reentry practices in assessment, case management, quality improvement and assurance are included and central to achieving a comprehensive data collection. Each domain includes a list of measures that provide timely, short-term indicators of how well agencies prepare youths for reentry and how ready the youths feel as they are returning to the community. See the full technical report for a complete listing of the standards and measures.


Be fair:

  • Ensure all youths are treated fairly; and
  • Promote racial, ethnic and gender parity.

Hold youths accountable without criminalizing normal adolescent behavior:

  • Use a system of graduated sanctions that are age-appropriate and flexible to meet youths’ unique needs; and
  • Promote positive behavior changes through incentives and positive reinforcement.

Value families:

  • Engage families as valued partners in development and implementation of all planning; and
  • Maximize families’ strengths to help their child succeed.

Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate:

  • Establish a state-level multi-agency entity to ensure youths have accesses to services; and
  • Ensure a multi-disciplinary team develops, implements and continually monitors all youths’
    reentry plans.

Assessment Goal:

To determine appropriate placements, levels of supervision and services and what personal strengths and/or specific individual factors might influence their effectiveness.


  1. Assess all youths using empirically-validated tools that are guided by the principles of risk-need-responsivity, are appropriate for the youths and administered by trained and qualified staff.
  2. Complete additional assessments to gather information relevant to youths’ successful reentry planning.
  3. Use risk-need-responsivity assessments to match youths with the appropriate level of supervision and types and dosage of services and how to intervene effectively.

Reentry Planning Goal:

To develop reentry plans that provide the roadmap for youths to transition from juvenile justice custody/supervision to living and thriving post-system involvement.


  1. Begin reentry planning as soon as all youths arrive in placement.
  2. Establish a multi-disciplinary/agency team to develop, implement and continually monitor all youths’ case management and reentry plans.
  3. Use assessments, prior history, progress reports and collateral contacts to inform case management and reentry planning.
  4. Identify and prioritize youths’ needs and set clear goals, objectives and action steps that can be measured and adjusted.
  5. Ensure youths and families participate in reentry planning meetings and understand the expectations and responses to non-compliance.
Case Management Goal:

To provide consistent, relationally-grounded support and meaningful, prompt access to services.


  1. Assign a reentry case manager as soon as every child arrives in placement.
  2. Ensure the case manager engages youths in a developmental relationship.
  3. Ensure the case manager develops a real and sustainable connection with families.
  4. Ensure all services indicated as needed by the multi-disciplinary/agency team have been provided.
  5. Ensure all youths and families have meaningful, prompt access to the services and supports needed to make the youth’s reentry successful.
Continuous Quality Improvement Goal:

To apply a continuous quality improvement process based on ongoing data collection and analysis of program fidelity.

  1. Ensure fidelity of youths’ assessment and their seamless transition to services, school and employment in the community.
  2. Match youths appropriately to the program’s target population.
  3. Ensure staff are qualified, well-trained and well-supervised.
  4. Provide appropriate treatment dosage and duration.
  5. Collect and use data regularly to assess, monitor and adjust practices to adhere to the program model.

Education and Employment Goal:

To develop a long-term career pathway with primary input from the youths that lays out the
sequence of education, training and workforce skills they need to obtain and retain employment.


  1. Ensure all youths have a clear plan for their long-term education and employment.
  2. Ensure all youths complete their academic goals including higher education.
  3. Ensure all youths complete their career technical education or skills goals.
  4. Ensure all youths master employability skills necessary to obtain and sustain employment.
  5. Connect all youths to meaningful employment.
  6. Ensure all youths have access to all documents necessary to obtain and sustain employment.
  7. Ensure all youths have access to all supports necessary to obtain and sustain employment.

Well-being and Health Goal:

To respond to all youths’ needs and experiences to establish well-being and good health.


  1. Ensure all youths feel safe physically, emotionally and psychologically.
  2. Ensure all youths are healthy physically, emotionally and psychologically.
  3. Ensure all youths cultivate a sense of hope and purpose.
  4. Ensure all youths have mastered social competencies and resiliency skills.
  5. Teach youths lifelong healthy habits.

Community Connection and Contribution Goal:

To ensure youths develop long-term social connections and a sense of belonging in the community.


  1. Ensure all youths develop trusting, reciprocal relationships with prosocial adults and peers.
  2. Ensure youths develop strategies to negotiate with negative peers and gang relationships.
  3. Ensure all youths develop civic awareness and promote positive values.