We engage communities, organizations and individuals through quality research, community organizing, advocacy, training and model programming to advance the rights of girls, young women, and youth who identify as female, especially those in the justice system.
Everything the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center does is grounded in research. The Policy Center is committed to building practice-based evidence to support strategic reform for girls in the juvenile justice system, and for girls whose circumstances are likely to lead them into those systems. The Center’s leadership is nationally recognized for groundbreaking studies of girls in juvenile justice and their pathways into the system.
Our research is grounded in the voices of girls. Powerful insight into what is needed to better serve girls can be gained from listening to them. Specific strategies for eliciting girls’ input include facilitating individual interviews, focus groups or surveys with girls along the continuum of services in the education, child welfare and juvenile justice systems. In addition to girls’ experiences, we must also be able to assess the challenges that staff face in working with girls, and the policies and practices that contribute to disparate or harmful treatment.
Locally, we are committed to providing stakeholders in Northeast Florida with valuable information for best practices and informed decision making. Research informs our training curricula for various audiences, supports theoretical and best practices for interventions, program models and our advocacy platform. Further, the research team is documenting the impact of our comprehensive model on system reform for girls. Utilizing the latest research trends by gender, we investigate and understand the differences in educational, child welfare, and juvenile justice experiences by gender and ask hard questions where disparities can be seen. Where answers are not available, we conduct our own research.
Similar to statewide trends, the majority of girls on the First Coast were committed for less serious offenses (i.e. misdemeanors and violations of probation) (64% of girls vs. 26% of boys).
Almost three in four girls who are locked up have diagnosed mental health problems related to the impact of trauma and violence. Addressing the need: Model Programming
Girls who are locked up from the First Coast community have experienced loss (e.g.; death of a primary caregiver, parent incarceration, abandonment).
Half of girls who are locked up have histories of sexual or physical abuse. See the Research