Contra Costa County 2021 Report on Juvenile Justice Programs and Services

Contra Costa County 2021 Report on Juvenile Justice Programs and Services

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Contra Costa County Probation Department


The Contra Costa County Probation Department and RDA have a long history of working together. In 2021, RDA worked closely with Contra Costa County Probation to develop the 2021 Report on Juvenile Justice Programs and Services, the first report of its kind in Contra Costa County. The impetus for this report, as designed by county staff and stakeholders, was to define, collect, and analyze data on 1) juvenile justice system involvement, 2) youth needs, and 3) the utilization and effectiveness of current programs and services available for youths and their families in order to identify strengths, gaps, and opportunities to ensure a continuum of equity-informed, healing-centered services is in place to prevent juvenile justice system involvement and support youths who are already system involved.


An overarching framing question was used to guide the development of the report: How can Contra Costa County develop a continuum of equity-informed services that prevent juvenile justice system involvement and place youths in the least restrictive environment possible consistent with the needs of the youth and public safety? From that framing question, three guiding questions further refined the direction of the report.

  • Guiding Question 1: What are the number and characteristics of youth who have contact with law enforcement in Contra Costa County, what was the outcome of their contact, and to what extent are those outcomes equitable by race?
  • Guiding Question 2: What are the top needs of youth with law enforcement contact and at risk of law enforcement contact, and to what extent are services available to meet these needs?
  • Guiding Question 3: To what extent are service providers delivering programs that are cost effective and achieve positive outcomes?

RDA used a mixed-methods approach—using both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis—to triangulate findings across data sources for each of the guiding questions and to provide multiple perspectives on the complex, multi-dimensional issues that are explored in this report. Quantitative data included publicly available data as well as aggregate data collected from county agencies (e.g., Probation, District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, County Behavioral Health Services, County Office of Education) and JJCPA- or YOBG-funded agencies. Qualitative data included interviews and focus groups with staff from juvenile justice system-serving agencies, service providers, and youths with and without juvenile justice system involvement. In total, 68 individuals participated in the interviews and focus groups.


Released in 2022, the report provides findings for each of the three guiding questions and 16 recommendations for the Contra Costa County Probation Department and its stakeholders to consider for enhancing the juvenile justice system. In November of 2022, the Probation Department will be participating in an action planning workshop with RDA to prioritize the recommendations and develop an action plan for the Department. Review the executive summary and report here.


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