In an effort to better monitor the services and programs provided to youth after a court’s disposition (sentence), the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) contracted with Vera’s Center on Youth Justice to expand the capacity of the city’s Juvenile Justice Database (JJDB), a resource designed and managed by Vera that draws on data from multiple agencies to track cases from arrest through disposition.

In early 2012, New York State transferred the custody of New York City youth who had committed a delinquency offense to ACS, an initiative called “Close to Home.” The expansion of the JJDB will allow the city to monitor the initiative’s implementation, and over time, evaluate its impact on youth, families, and public safety. In particular, the information will track post-disposition data, such as placement (residential care, equivalent to prison in the adult system) and aftercare, alternative-to-placement programs, and re-offense.

Close to Home is an ambitious initiative. With the transfer of custody of youth from the state to the city and the introduction of new community-based alternative options and processes, the New York City juvenile justice system is changing at a rapid pace. It is rare for jurisdictions to have access to a central database of information culled from multiple agencies to track and monitor an initiative of this scope. The JJDB’s expansion will provide an essential resource for gaining a better sense of decision-making and case processing for young people in the juvenile justice system, from beginning to end, and to continue to tailor and enhance reform efforts accordingly.