Juvenile Justice Reform


Evidence-Based Associates (EBA) is committed to helping reform juvenile justice systems. Collectively, the leadership team at EBA represents nearly a century of experience within the juvenile justice field, as well as with evidence-based programs. Additionally, our team has an equally extensive background of working in and with Fortune 500 firms. It is this unique combination of experience, acumen and expertise that is essential to initiate reform and change, to move away from 'business as usual' and to move forward to more efficient, cost-effective solutions that produce better outcomes that will contribute to a stronger, safer society.

This graph exemplifies the positive results experienced by violent youth in the state of Florida through the Redirection project, a collaborative effort between EBA and Florida's Department of Juvenile Justice.



Budget-conscience states are faced with critical decisions about how to utilize taxpayer dollars more efficiently to achieve the best results with the lowest risk. With nearly 100,000 juveniles in facilities around the country the need and opportunity for reform is dramatic. As illustrated in the graph above, EBA understands what steps need to be taken in order to better serve youth and their families and make better use of tax dollars.


The answer: Become more efficient

How? Through the use of performance-based contracts.

Performance-based contracting transfers performance risk to EBA and through EBA's oversight, providers are held accountable for results. Performance-based contracts have a proven history of reducing program costs and increasing desired outcomes.

One way that EBA manages risk is by utilizing only the very best treatment approaches available, referred to as evidence-based programs (EBPs). Backed by more than 30 years of research each, programs like Functional Family Therapy (FFT) and Multisystemic Therapy (MST) serve as the foundation for reforming how youth delinquency can be addressed. These gold-standard, community-based EBPs have consistently proven to be effective and much less costly than the average daily $240 cost [Source: American Correctional Association] of residential facilities. Despite their high quality and outstanding ability to produce results, these programs have not yet been well integrated into most juvenile justice systems. By offering these gold-standard programs to our clients and by overseeing the implementation of the programs through strict, quality-assurance measures, EBA is able to deliver four key benefits to our clients.
  • Increased efficiency. From experience, EBA knows how to become more efficient in serving high-risk youth.
  • Lower risk. EBA offers procurement options that lower risk and provide measurable outcomes.
  • Enhanced accountability. EBA has a proven track record of improving government accountability
  • Improved cost-effectiveness EBA ensures better use of taxpayer dollars by providing cost-effective alternatives to ineffective out-of-home placement.
With years of experience, expertise, insight and nationally recognized reform projects, EBA knows how to work closely with key stakeholders in the community to obtain the resources needed to implement and sustain successful juvenile justice system reform.


The result: Better outcomes and cost-savings

As the Justice Policy Institute pointed out in their June 2011 article Funding, Implementing Evidence-Based Practices, securing consistent and long-term funding for programs that use evidence-based practices continues to pose a challenge. EBA works with state leaders to maintain long-term funding to ensure our reform efforts are sustainable. However, unless leaders are willing (and able) to close facilities that house juveniles, or cancel private contracts that provide these services, then potential savings will not be realized. The key to juvenile justice reform is closing juvenile beds and reallocating those dollars to less expensive, more effective evidence-based programs.

Another factor that is critical to success is ensuring fidelity to the evidence-based programs being implemented. When model programs are not competently delivered, performance outcomes suffer and expected benefits will not accrue. EBA is so committed to fidelity to the programs we represent that one of our core competencies is supporting our clients by training providers and holding them accountable for results. We provide the infrastructure necessary to collect and monitor data in order to establish performance benchmarks.


The bottom line: Reform in the juvenile justice system translates into long-term positive results and reduced burden on the adult correctional system.