On Monday, Sept. 17, Washington Grantmakers will meet with the Department of Youth Rehabiliation Services (DYRS) at the Oak Hill Juvenile Detention Center to discuss how local and national funders can help the city to bring ground-breaking juvenile justice reform to fruition in DC, and to document/publicize the efforts nationally.
The visit, sponsored by the Children, Youth, and Families Working Group of Washington Grantmakers, will include a tour of the facility led by the youth, an overview from Mayor Adrian Fenty, and an in-depth discussion with DYRS Director Vincent Schiraldi and his staff about the reform effort and national implications for best practices in juvenile justice reform. Among national funders in attendance will be the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Open Society Institute, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the JEHT Foundation, and the Public Welfare Foundation.
Washington Grantmakers’ Children, Youth, and Families Working Group has been supporting Vincent Schiraldi’s effort to build the first juvenile justice system in the country to use positive youth development as its guiding principle. Support is taking many forms:
- - Advocacy: Letters of support to D.C. Council at key junctures urging support for Schiraldi’s reforms
- - Grants: Support for learning opportunities for youth in custody, including the opportunity to perform Shakespeare at DC’s Folger Shakespeare Theater and to create a documentary of their experience in the Gulf Coast building homes for those who lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina. Schiraldi is currently requesting foundation help for activities that government sources won’t readily fund: 1) hiring expert consultants and 2) publicizing and advocating for the model nationally.
- - Expertise: Regular meetings with Schiraldi and his advisors to brainstorm ideas and to share plans and priorities.