James Anderson ’72, M’75, executive director of the Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission (JCJC), is being honored by Models for Change Pennsylvania for his work on policy and legislation aimed at improving conditions and outcomes for court-involved youth. He is one of four honorees receiving the inaugural Champions for Change distinction. The Champions were chosen by colleagues in their own states for national recognition at the annual meeting of Models for Change leaders. They stand out among the many who are working hard to bring about the kind of reform that is reflected in better lives for so many young people in this country. Anderson was recognized at a luncheon of juvenile justice reformers from across the country at the third annual Models for Change national conference in Washington, D.C.
From left: Robert Schwartz, executive director, Juvenile Law Center; James E. Anderson, executive director, Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission; Julia Stasch, vice president of the Program on Human and Community Development, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Among his successes is his work with the Pennsylvania Council of Chief Juvenile Probation Officers. JCJC and the Chief’s council engaged all sixty-seven Pennsylvania counties in the aftercare reform effort which will result in a closer alignment between juvenile probation and residential program providers leading to better planning and outcomes for youth returning home after placement. Most recently, he was instrumental in the passage of legislation promoting mental health services for delinquent youth by protecting them from self incrimination for comments made during screening, assessment, and evaluation.
“As the executive director of the Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission, Jim Anderson has been an invaluable leader of the Models for Change initiative in Pennsylvania,” said Robert Schwartz, executive director, Juvenile Law Center. “With Jim’s leadership and commitment, JCJC’s contributions to the Models for Change effort have gone well beyond anyone’s expectations.”
Anderson has been the executive director of the JCJC for over twenty-two years. “Jim and JCJC have made a vital impact in the policy and legislative arena,” added Schwartz. “Because of him, we have access to legislators on both sides of the aisle. He solves problems in a remarkably effective way, with unerring instincts and unmatched decency.”
Models for Change efforts in Pennsylvania are coordinated by Juvenile Law Center, a Philadelphia-based public interest law firm that has been advocating for children in jeopardy since 1975.
Models for Change Pennsylvania is part of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s $120 million Models for Change national initiative to reform juvenile justice across the country. Sixteen states are now involved—four “core” states working on a range of state and local reforms, including Pennsylvania, Washington, Illinois, and Louisiana; and twelve as part of three action networks focusing on disproportionate minority contact, mental health and juvenile indigent defense. The Models for Change initiative is an effort to create successful and replicable models of juvenile justice system reform through targeted investments in key states, and seeks to accelerate progress toward a more rational, fair, effective, and developmentally appropriate juvenile justice system.