About OYCR

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OUR

Mission

A commitment to restorative youth justice.

OYCR promotes trauma responsive, culturally informed, gender honoring, and developmentally appropriate services for youth involved in the juvenile justice system that support the youths’ successful transition into adulthood.

OUR

Vision

A shift to how California approaches youth justice.

The OYCR vision of youth justice is one that is framed by accountability and healing rather than punishment, and has been driven by on-the-ground advocates, researchers and probation departments, along with policy, funding, and practice changes, working together to make this new vision of youth justice a reality. 

DIVISIONS

How Our Office Works

Our team operates across several divisions, unified by the dedication to achieving better outcomes and system improvements for youth across the justice system.

Research and Data Division

Collects and shares juvenile justice data and practices to develop strong county-level programs and consistent treatment of youth to meet their individualized needs.

Systems Change and Equity Division

Provides technical assistance (TA) to all 58 counties on issues related to equity and systems change to improve policies and practices that decrease disparities of youth of color in the system, as well, deliver TA on promising practice and evidence-based healing and trauma-responsive, culturally respectful, and gender specific, less restrictive programs for youth involved in the juvenile justice system. 

Ombudsperson Division

An impartial problem solver that investigates and tries to resolve complaints about rights violations and harmful conditions or practices in juvenile facilities.

Health Policy Division

Provides stakeholders assistance with policy implementation strategies to improve physical and behavioral health services with the goal of reducing or eliminating symptoms and in support of overall wellness and healthy living for youth involved in the juvenile justice system.

MEET OUR

Executive Team

Katherine Lucero

Katherine Lucero
Director

Juan Carlos Argüello, D.O.
Chief Health Policy Officer

Alani Jackson

Alani Jackson
Deputy Director

Marcia Rincon-Gallardo

Marcia Rincon-Gallardo
Chief of Systems Change & Equity Division

Alisa Hartz

Alisa Hartz
Ombudsperson

OYCR

Policy

As a statewide policy leader, OYCR seeks to break down barriers among child-serving systems to ensure that youth who are court-involved receive support focused on restorative justice and healing, rather than punishment. OYCR is charged with evaluating the efficacy of local programs to ensure that youth who are court-involved are being supported by best practices.

Some key policy areas for OYCR are:  

  • Promoting equality for youth who are court-involved and youth involved in the child welfare system
  • Reducing the transfer of young people into the adult system 
  • Reducing racial, ethnic, and gender disparities in the juvenile justice system 
  • Promoting access to higher education and sustainable careers 
  • Promoting data transparency

OYCR

Committees & Workgroups

Youth Justice Committee

The Youth Justice Committee, formerly known as the OYCR Committee of the Child Welfare Council, is tasked with realizing the mission and vision of OYCR. Committee members consist of a variety of judges, juvenile law experts, trauma responsive/therapeutic care experts, youth with direct youth justice system experience, youth advocates, and more.

See meeting materials


Youth Advisory Board

More information will be shared when available.


Listening Sessions

OYCR developed listening sessions open to the public to allow for comments, questions and suggestions about the use of funding for projects and grant priorities.


CBO Capacity Development Workgroup

After the May 4, 2022 OYCR Committee meeting, OYCR Committee members voted to prioritize partnerships with community-based organizations (CBO). They also decided to convene a small workgroup to continue to brainstorm, formulate and ultimately complete meaningful, actionable CBO tasks based on feedback and voting from the committee meeting.


OYCR Education Advisory Committee

  • OYCR has launched an Education Advisory Committee with a focus on higher education to identify opportunities, barriers, and strategies to promote higher education and career opportunities for justice-involved youth.
  • Met for the first time on February 22.
  • The Committee includes representatives from community colleges and universities, county offices of education, SELPA, State Board of Education, probation, advocates, and others.
  • An initial goal of the Committee is to promote the expansion of the Rising Scholars program into youth facilities.

OYCR

Initiatives

OYCR Initiatives focus on Youth in the Juvenile Justice System.

Vera – End Girls’ Incarceration

OYCR and the Vera Institute of Justice have partnered to initiate a statewide technical assistance effort: the Ending Girls’ Incarceration (EGI) in California Action Network (the Network). You can read more about EGI through our fact sheet.

The Network aims to immediately reduce, and ultimately eliminate, the incarceration of girls in the state of California. This collaboration will offer four counties—led by their probation offices in collaboration with other system leaders—the opportunity to receive funding from OYCR and technical assistance from the Vera Institute of Justice to implement equitable policies and gender-responsive programs for girls and gender-expansive youth. For more information on this initiative, visit their website

OYCR

Partners

OYCR works with partners across the juvenile justice continuum to support positive youth development, build capacity for community-based approaches, and reduce the justice involvement of youth.

Career

Opportunities

As our office grows, we are searching for individuals passionate about restorative youth justice and reducing the justice involvement of youth in California. If that sounds like you, please find our active OYCR job openings below:

OUR

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the enabling statute for the Office of Youth and Community Restoration (OYCR) and what does that status allow OYCR to do?

OYCR was born out of a monumental piece of legislation, SB 823, but this office is more than just a government mandate. SB 823 marks a shift in California’s approach to young people who commit law violations from a punitive approach to an approach centered on health and healing. The youth justice transformation has been driven by on-the-ground advocates and researchers along with policy, funding, and practice changes that can make visions a reality. It not only allows OYCR to identify and disseminate best practices to help inform rehabilitative and restorative youth practices but also offers technical assistance that advises individuals in the space on how to achieve outcomes and system improvements for youth across the justice system.

Why is OYCR housed in CalHHS?

OYCR was created within the Health and Human Services Agency to focus on youth who are court involved through a health-oriented, evidence-based rehabilitative mindset that is informed by an understanding of youth and their development.  

The establishment of OYCR within the Health & Human Services Agency aligns with recent research on brain science and healthy youth development.  Young people’s identities are shaped by their experiences, and traumatic experiences early in life make it more likely that youth will develop risky behaviors. In order to develop rehabilitative solutions that increase a youth’s opportunity to successfully transition out of incarceration, those solutions need to take into account an individual’s adverse childhood experiences and that is what OYCR does.

How do counties receive funding to support the realigned youth?

Counties are eligible to receive funds annually from the Juvenile Justice Realignment Block Grant (JJRBG) program. To be eligible for such funds, counties must deliver a plan that includes a number of elements that address a range of topics including how the funds will be used to provide trauma-informed, culturally responsive, and developmentally appropriate services and programs.

What is the status for counties who have submitted their plans?

All revised plans have been posted on OYCR’s webpage along with OYCR’s summary of the plans.

What is the timeline for the closure of DJJ and realignment of youth back to their home counties?

The DJJ closed on June 30, 2023. Henceforth, additional youth will not be committed to the DJJ except under the exception provided in the California Welfare and Institutions code, which allows youth being transferred to adult court to be cared for by the DJJ temporarily.

What happens to youth who would have been committed to DJJ? What is OYCR’s role in caring for the youth?

Research shows that youth who are court-involved are more successful when they remain connected to their families and communities. Youth who are involved in the justice system and remain in their communities have lower recidivism rates and are more prepared for their transition back into the community. For this reason, California decided to close its state youth facilities and return the responsibility for the care of all youth who are court-involved to their local jurisdictions. 

OYCR does not have a direct role in caring for youth who are court-involved. Instead, OYCR’s role is to support counties in trauma-informed, developmentally appropriate programs for the youth in their care and to ensure that they have access to the best research and understanding of evidence-based programs. OYCR’s role is also to receive and investigate complaints from youth and families related to the juvenile justice system, and to evaluate the effectiveness of local programs. 

Young people are resilient. When proven approaches are used, many of the impacts of adverse childhood experiences can actually be reversed. OYCR’s focus on a health and healing approach is a way to celebrate, honor, and leverage the resilience of youth who are court-involved to thrive, despite the adverse experiences they may have faced. 

What was the relationship between OYCR and DJJ?

OYCR and DJJ were two separate entities within different agencies who both have different responsibilities. OYCR is part of the California Health and Human Services Agency and is responsible for identifying and promoting trauma-informed, developmentally appropriate, evidence-based practices for the rehabilitation of youth who are court-involved, among other functions. 

DJJ was part of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and was responsible for the youth within its care until its closure on June 30, 2023.

What is the relationship between OYCR and BSCC?

The Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) is an independent Board composed of 13 appointed members with a staff of approximately 121. With respect to juvenile facilities, the BSCC is responsible for establishing regulations for juvenile facilities, inspecting facilities to determine suitability, and more. BSCC has Field Representatives assigned to each juvenile facility who conduct inspections and provide technical assistance related to compliance with the regulations. 

OYCR is not a regulatory body but has the mandate to provide technical assistance, policy leadership, and the promotion of best practices in relation to the care of youth. 

There are two key areas of overlap in OYCR and BSCC’s responsibilities. First, OYCR is charged with overseeing the regulations that BSCC is developing relating to Secure Youth Treatment Facilities. Second, OYCR is charged with overseeing all juvenile grants administered by the BSCC and will assume the administration of juvenile grants no later than January 1, 2025.

What is the role of other individuals in the juvenile justice space in informing the vision and direction of OYCR?

OYCR is committed to maintaining strong relationships with these individuals and has regular contact with county probation officers, youth advocates, representatives from the judicial branch, district attorneys, and more. All of these views are critical to strengthening the cause for youth who are court-involved.