Reforming Youth Justice in DC

A newly released report shows how local foundations in Washington, DC and national funders, including the Public Welfare Foundation, collaborated to help bring about important reforms of the District’s juvenile justice agency. The report, calledNotorious to Notable, recounts the agency’s transformation from one of the worst in the country to one that was recognized by Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government as a top 50 innovator in American government.

An event to launch the release of the report was held at the True Reformer Building, home of the Public Welfare Foundation, on December 1. The event featured updates on reforms at the District’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS), from current director Neil Stanley and Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Beatriz “BB” Otero. It also featured discussion of the 2009 closure of the District’s former youth detention facility, Oak Hill, which was known for its inhumane conditions, as well as progress that DYRS has achieved with the opening of a smaller youth rehabilitation facility, New Beginnings. Participants – including funders, local officials, community representatives and advocates – also viewed a film produced by DC Lawyers for Youth, “Reel Reform: The Road to Rehabilitation,” which tells the story of the DC reform effort.  The event concluded with a panel discussion that helped put the transformation of DC’s juvenile justice agency in the context of reforms happening nationally and also addressed local community perspectives on the reforms.

To see the full report, click here.
To see the Foundation’s statement about the report, click here.

To view a photo gallery of the event, click here.


The Public Welfare Foundation supports efforts to advance justice and opportunity for people in need. These efforts honor the Foundation’s core values of racial equity, economic well-being, and fundamental fairness for all. The Foundation looks for strategic points where its funds can make a significant difference and improve lives through policy and system reform that results in transformative change. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter or on Facebook.

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