ICCA believes policy-makers, juvenile justice officials and agencies should:
- Develop a system that offers a continuum of care, including prevention and early intervention, remedial, extended care, specialized treatment services, after care and custody. The priority of this continuum should be to eliminate the risk of delinquent behavior. The system should recognize the importance of partnerships with related service providers.
- Provide adequate, consistent and reliable funding that supports the continuum of care.
- Provide a system of comprehensive assessment.
- Address the child's need for permanence and bonding with the family and the community. Legislation and policy should support service systems (e.g., education, substance abuse and mental health treatment) that affirm individual growth and development of children and youth, and provide effective and humane approaches to treatment, supervision and custody.
- Expand and utilize research and evaluation of what treatment and services are most effective in preventing delinquency, working with status offenders, supervising juveniles accused of criminal behavior, and providing support and community reintegration for those released from secure care.
- Safeguard the accuracy and privacy of juvenile records.
- Make appropriate decisions on individual juvenile cases by communicating with all aspects of the juvenile justice youth service systems.
- Provide an appropriate range of community and residential programs and services to meet individual needs, including education, vocational training, recreation, religious opportunities, individual and family counseling, medical, dental, mental health, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS counseling, sexual offender treatment, and culturally and gender responsive health treatment.
- Monitor and evaluate program outcomes to assure quality.
Youth should be adjudicated in the juvenile justice system, except in the rare case of a chronic and violent offender and then only at the discretion of a juvenile court judge. An individual does not possess the capacity for mature judgment until at least age 16. Trying youth as adults denies them access to rehabilitative and educational programs, as well as future education and employment opportunities because of a criminal record.