Because the juvenile justice system involves the interaction of multiple systems, improvements require that all of those systems work together: to guide the reform process; to analyze problems and recommend solutions; to design changes to policies, practices and programs; and to monitor impact. This requires a commitment to joint planning, shared responsibility, and mutual accountability.
For these reasons, all JDAI sites begin their work by creating a collaborative steering committee and governance structure that includes system and community representatives who have the authority to make decisions on behalf of their agencies or groups. To ensure continued momentum and accountability, the collaborative should be chaired or co-chaired by influential leaders committed to quality pretrial justice for juveniles. JDAI collaboratives should be formally empowered to address detention reform, including racial and ethnic disparities. This may happen through a formal county resolution establishing the collaborative or through a memorandum of understanding signed by the collaborative’s key members.