Community Connections for Youth (CCFY) is a New-York based nonprofit organization, whose mission is to mobilize indigenous faith and neighborhood organizations to develop effective community-based alternative-to-incarceration programs for youth. CCFY believes that increasing local community capacity to work with youth in the justice system is the key to reducing youth crime and delinquency, and improving long-term life outcomes for youth.
CCFY envisions a world in which incarceration is no longer a primary response to children who run afoul of the law. Recognizing that overreliance on the juvenile justice system is a harmful, ineffective, and costly, CCFY seeks to develop the capacity of communities to respond to youthful misbehavior. The work we describe as building community capacity for juvenile justice reform includes the following elements:
System Engagement: providing expert consultation for juvenile justice agencies on ways to reduce reliance on the juvenile justice system by strengthening partnerships with communities.
Community Capacity Development: training grassroots faith and neighborhood organizations to effectively engage youth in the juvenile justice system.
System – Community Partnerships: facilitating system-community partnerships that are research-based and data-informed to divert youth from deeper juvenile justice system involvement by deepening their connection to the local community.
CCFY believes that reducing overreliance on the juvenile justice system can only happen when strong community networks are mobilized to care for youth and hold them accountable. This requires engaging community stakeholders closest to the problems, which includes faith and community leaders in affected neighborhoods, family members of system-involved youth, and the young people themselves. CCFY champions an approach that is restorative, strengths-based, and treats young people, their families and communities as assets in the juvenile justice reform process.