Council of State Governments Justice Center Improving Outcomes for Youth (IOYouth) Initiative

In June 2019, leadership from Connecticut’s three branches of government—Governor Ned Lamont, Judge Patrick Carroll, and Representative Toni Walker – launched the Improving Outcomes for Youth (IOYouth) Statewide Task Force with the goal of assessing whether recent juvenile justice system reforms have been implemented as intended and have had the expected impact. The Task Force’s charge was to determine what next steps are needed to ensure that policies, practices, and resource allocation decisions are aligned with what the research says works to strengthen public safety and improve outcomes for youth. The IOYouth Task Force, co-chaired by Rep. Walker and Melissa McCaw, Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, included other elected officials, representatives from all three branches of government, state and local juvenile justice system leaders, and advocates, among others.


To read the media coverage from the press conference, click here.

Under the guidance of the Task Force, the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center conducted a year-long comprehensive assessment of Connecticut’s juvenile justice system from referral to reentry, including:

  • Extensive analyses of case-level juvenile justice and fiscal data;
  • Focus groups with stakeholders across Connecticut, such as juvenile justice and other youth-serving agency officials, prosecutors, public defenders, judges, law enforcement, probation staff, community-based providers, advocates, and youth and families; and
  • Reviews of state policies, regulations, practices, and resource allocation.

The IOYouth Task Force met several times in 2019 and 2020 to review the CSG Justice Center’s assessment findings and identify data-driven strategies to improve outcomes for youth. In July 2020, the Task Force convened its final meeting and reached consensus on a broad set of research-based policy recommendations to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for youth in Connecticut’s juvenile justice system.

An IOYouth Implementation Committee was established as a work group of the Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee (JJPOC) to oversee the adoption and implementation of the IOYouth recommendations. The Implementation Committee is chaired by Rep. Walker, Secretary McCaw, and Gary Roberge, Executive Director of the Judicial Branch Court Support Services Division (CSSD), and includes representatives from the Office of Policy and Management, Judicial Branch, Department of Corrections, Department of Children and Families, the state’s attorney and public defender’s offices, the advocacy community, and a parent and youth representative. The Implementation Committee is responsible for translating the consensus-based IOYouth recommendations into legislative and administrative policy changes for JJPOC approval, as well as providing feedback to the Judicial Branch and Department of Children and Families on agency policy changes resulting from the IOYouth initiative.