Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children



Research Component | Westchester County | New York State Advisory Group | Additional Readings and Resources


The New York State Girls’ Justice Initiative (GJI) – a collaboration led by the New York State Unified Court System and implemented by the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children in partnership with the New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services – will address the documented criminalization of girls’ behaviors, including those related to status offenses and technical violations of probation that too often reflect trauma-induced responses, and the need to implement gender-specific, trauma-informed policies and programs for girls at-risk or involved with the juvenile justice system. In New York State, girls account for 26 percent of juvenile arrests.

GJI intends to develop a trauma-informed probation- and court-based approach for girls involved in the juvenile justice system that is informed by and involves the decision-makers at each point of contact within the juvenile justice system in partnership with the community, girls and their families. The local-level component – functioning as the incubator for the GJI – will be implemented in Westchester County and inform the state-level component to translate the findings and bring the policies and practices to scale across the state.

During the 2016-2017 planning year, the GJI will develop a 3-year implementation plan for this approach by simultaneously implementing three complementary components: 1) a research component; 2) a local county-level pilot “incubator” to test preliminary policy, practice and programmatic components; and 3) the development of a statewide implementation plan.

GJI Poster

The Research Component: New York University
Dr. Shabnam Javdani, a full time, tenure-track faculty member in the Applied Psychology Department at New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, is the principal investigator for the research component of the grant.

The research component relies on accessing data from the Unified Court System, Department of Criminal Justice Services and Office of Children and Family Services in order to inform the local and state advisory groups of the patterns and status of girls in our juvenile justice system at each of the progressive points of contact. Given the importance of each stage and contact point, the data from each of these agencies is independently important. The research component will also identify gender-specific, trauma-informed best practices for identifying and addressing trauma, status offenses, orders of probation, technical violations of probation, and diversion at every point of contact with the justice system.  

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The Local Component: Westchester Girls’ Justice Initiative
Westchester County already had an established multi-disciplinary juvenile justice advisory group, convened by Supervising Judge of Family Courts in the Ninth Judicial District Judge Kathie Davidson who is interested in implementing a trauma-responsive approach for girls involved in Family Court that is informed by and incorporates the diverse stakeholders. Westchester County – the incubator for the probation- and court-based approach for girls involved in the juvenile justice system – will be a systems-wide reform effort, implementing a collaborative community-, school-, probation-, child welfare- and court-centered initiative to effectively and expeditiously respond to girls’ needs and to improve girls’ outcomes.

The Westchester Girls’ Justice Initiative, now known as the Westchester County Gender Responsive Initiatives and Partnerships (GRIP) will provide opportunities and improve outcomes for Participants at risk or involved in the juvenile justice system, in particular, for girls of color who are overrepresented at every contact in the system. By bringing together leaders of the juvenile justice system and the community, the GRIP Court will develop a responsive environment that is built on culturally competent gender- and trauma-informed policies and practices for Participants at risk or involved in the justice system. This will include assessments, resources and services to prevent Participants from being arrested, formally referred to court, and/or placed in detention or placement, and to serve Participants who enter the system. The GRIP Court will be informed by research, data analysis, and the decision-makers at each point of contact within the justice system, in partnership with the community, the Participants, and their families. For more information, please see the GRIP brochure.

On July 31, 2019 the Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children hosted the second Girls Justice Initiative Conference in the Kimmel Center for University Life at New York University. The conference described the efforts of the development and delivery of the GRIP court in Westchester County. The GRIP court, launched in October of 2018, is the culmination of three years of work led by the Honorable Kathie E. Davidson and a multi-disciplinary local council including key stakeholders within the family court system and from a variety of local, community-based organizations. This conference described the process of developing the first gender- and trauma- responsive court continuum in New York State, and break down the strategies, challenges, and key take-aways for developing and delivering a continuum of care for girls that can be translated across multiple contexts in other counties across New York State.

In June 2020, the Gender Fairness Committee of the Third Judicial District in conjunction with the NYS Permanent Commission on Justice for Children, New York University, the Albany County Bar Association and Albany Law School presented an extraordinary CLE program on the emerging issues of girls, particularly girls of color, being overrepresented in the juvenile justice system, along with an overview of GRIP court. A recording of the presentation can be accessed here:

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The Statewide Component: New York State Girls’ Justice Advisory Group
The goal of the NYS Girls’ Justice Advisory Group is to develop a 3-year statewide policy and program implementation plan that brings the results of the data analysis, best practices research and lessons learned from the local component to scale. The intent is to create recommended statewide policies, tools and practices and trainings and engage additional counties in the transformative gender-specific work.


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Additional Readings and Resources

A Meta-Analysis of Program Characteristics for Youth with Disruptive Behavior Problems: The Moderating Role of Program Format and Youth Gender

A Radical Model of Decriminalization: Research Model & Initial Findings

Gender Injustice: System-Level Juvenile Justice Reforms for Girls

Gender Matters: Using an Ecological lens to Understand Female Crime and Disruptive Behavior

Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood

INSIGHT: Handcuffs Over Homework – The Criminalization of Black Girls (August 12, 2020)

Juvenile Justice Statistics: National Report Series Bulletin, Girls in the Juvenile Justice System

Listening to Black Women and Girls: Lived Experiences of Adultification Bias

Spotlight on Girls in the Juvenile Justice System

The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline: The Girls’ Story



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