Kitsap County Girls Court
Washington State’s 1st Therapeutic Court Model for Girls
What is Girls Court?
“Girls Courts” is a therapeutic court model designed to provide gender-responsive services to female-identifying youth. Our research has found that justice-involved girls experience histories of trauma, challenges, pathways to justice involvement, and outcomes that are uniquely different than boys. Girls Court is a direct response to holistically support justice-involved girls and promote promising outcomes.
The Kitsap County Pilot Program
In partnership with Kitsap County, CCYJ has researched, designed, and piloted the first Girls Court Program in Washington State. The Girls Court program is in its second year of a 3-year pilot program, and is currently being evaluated by the Washington State Center for Court Research (WSCCR).
Kitsap County’s Girls Court pilot program is a therapeutic court which provides services to young women who pose a moderate to high risk to reoffend. These services are based on the latest research and provided by a highly-trained team. As of June 28, 2021, the program will move from a post-dispositional to a pre-adjudication model, where girls have the opportunity to access the program before any charges of delinquency are made.
Read: Press Release – Launch of CCYJ’s Girls Court Program
Some key elements of Kitsap County’s model include:
- Committed supportive adults, including Judge, probation counselor, defense and prosecuting attorneys, case manager, & mentors
- Weekly case staffing with entire Girls Court Team, including case manager, probation counselor, prosecutor, & defense attorney
- Small caseload of only female-identifying young people
- Relational & supportive structure, including shared social activities, food, & meetings outside of court
- Individualized therapeutic interventions such as Functional Family Therapy
- Trauma-informed programming through partnerships with Kitsap Strong
- Frequent & consistent group meetings, including hearings & group therapy
- Support for young people involved in both the juvenile justice & child welfare systems
- Required Community Service for participants
- Provision of appropriate incentives & sanctions for program progress
- Provision & requirement of health care & self-care
- Provision of concrete supports to the young people enrolled, by Soroptomist and Olive Crest
- Educational programming & engagement support
- Independent living services, including parenting & family support & employment training
- Culturally competent mentorship, provided by OurGEMS
Girls Court Program Evaluation
The Washington State Center for Court Research (WSCCR) is currently evaluating the Kitsap County Girls Court Program. Below are links to three new evaluation reports:
- First-year Girls Court Participants: Experiences and Challenges. This report provides a summary of key descriptive characteristics of the Girls Court participants during the first year of the program, including their demographic characteristics, risk level, behavioral health issues and other needs arising out of their life circumstances. This information is critical for understanding who the clients are and what they bring into the treatment setting.
- Voices from the Field: Findings from Interviews with Court Professionals and Service Providers. This report summarizes the findings from the interviews with service providers and juvenile justice system stakeholders. The interviews were designed to better understand the effectiveness of the Girls Court Program through the lens of key experts and individuals that are directly involved with the program and or/program participants. Professional stakeholders generously shared invaluable feedback that collectively provide a map to guide the future work with justice-involved girls as related to program operational aspects, service delivery and program effectiveness.
- Community Profile: Kitsap County Community Assessment. The goal of this assessment was to summarize key contextual characteristics of the local community in which the Girls Court program is operating. These include school experiences, substance use, and mental health. For each dimension, the report describes the prevalence of the issue(s) in Kitsap community, discusses its implications for the program, and suggests recommendations for program implementation. From an evaluation perspective, examining community contextual factors provides important information about barriers and challenges to program implementation that can explain variation in outcomes in a manner that can be used to improve future intervention design.
Interested in learning more?
To learn more about Kitsap County’s Girls Court Program, please contact CCYJ’s Associate Director of Programs for Girls Court, Morgan Silverman at 206.696.7503 x 110 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.