Youth Reentry Technical Assistance Center

YRTAC supports capacity building efforts among 50+ Second Chance Act Reentry grantees.

Youth working in a park together

Thousands of youth return to communities from detention, state secure care facilities, and adult prisons each year in our country. The reentry outcomes can be as varied as the the youth themselves. Youth justice practitioners believe when reentry planning occurs early during the youth’s confinement and continues upon returning to the community there are better outcomes for the youth. 

April is Second Chance Month. Learn more about how YRTAC supports capacity building efforts among 50+ Second Chance Act Reentry grantees.

The Youth Reentry Training and Technical Assistance Center (YRTAC), administered by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), supports capacity building efforts among 50+ Second Chance Act Reentry grantees. The grantees are from over 30 states and are in various stages of their grant cycle. Grantees initially enter the work by completing their planning and implementation guide (P&I) with assistance from their AIR-assigned coach. 

Once the P&I Guide is approved by OJJDP, the grantee enters the implementation phase in the life cycle of their grant meeting at least monthly with their coach. Finally the grantee enters the evaluation and sustainability segment of the grant. The coaches remain with the grantees for the life of their grant to bring longstanding capacity to the community, state, organizations to increase the likelihood of positive outcomes for youth reentering the community following involvement in the youth justice system.

YRTAC coaches find ways to connect grantees together, creating a peer network for us to learn, grow, and become sustainable together. 

– YRTAC Grantee

Our technical assistance (TA) focuses heavily on best practices in successful reentry of youth and young adults as they reenter the community. We provide individualized TA and co-develop a TA plan with each grantee. The plan is designed as a tool to help guide our TA in supporting the grantee meeting the goals of their grant in a timely manner. Our approach takes research in the field of youth justice reentry and we translate the research into practice.

YRTAC engages our grantees in peer to peer learning activities as well as expose to experts through our partners and subject matter experts. Given our approach to TA, YRTAC delivers events that focus on trauma-informed care, pre-release programming and skill development, post-release aftercare programming, community engagement, positive youth development, recidivism reduction strategies, family engagement, and public safety.

AIR values the unique and valuable perspective of individuals with lived experiences in the youth justice system. A major component of the YRTAC is the selection and employment of two youth reentry fellows. The fellows are full time AIR staff members and are integrated in all aspects of the center’s TA effort. The fellows will also be engaged in thoughtful work with OJJDP. 

Second Chance Month Resources


Reintegration with Resilience: Supporting Mental and Behavioral Health for Youth Leaving Confinement

For youth and young adults leaving juvenile detention centers and other secure settings, addressing mental and behavioral health needs is critical to their success. Studies show that 40–90% of youth who are incarcerated have at least one diagnosable mental health disorder, and secure care settings can worsen mental health conditions through isolation, trauma, and a lack of treatment access. This youth reentry spotlight discusses why addressing mental and behavioral health needs is so critical and how reentry programs can best support young people in their wellness. The document also provides some practical tools to support this work.

Reintegration with Resilience: Understanding and Overcoming the Challenges of Juvenile Records

One significant hurdle youth and young adults face in their journey toward successful reintegration after detention or incarceration is the lasting impact of their juvenile court records, which can follow them for years, regardless of the outcomes of their cases. These records can trigger a series of collateral consequences that significantly limit opportunities in education, employment, housing, and beyond. This youth reentry spotlight discusses the important ways reentry programs should equip themselves with a thorough understanding of these consequences and the available options for addressing them, and several crucial steps programs can take to effectively support young people in navigating these challenges and improve reintegration outcomes. The document also provides some practical tools to support this work. 

Reintegration With Resilience: Helping LGBTQ+ Youth Thrive After Confinement

LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual) youth are disproportionately represented within the juvenile justice system, are more likely to be inappropriately placed within facilities and targeted for abuse, harassment, and victimization, and face a unique set of challenges for secure care staff and settings. This youth reentry spotlight discusses those challenges and examines ways reentry programs can play a critical role in ensuring LGBTQ+ youth are safe, supported, and well-resourced during reentry. The document also provides links to additional resources that can support reentry programs in their work. 



Each week this month we share a conversation with an inspiring OJJDP grantee and clients from their program to reflect on different aspects of Youth Reentry.

Utah: A Chat with Emma

This week, YRTAC talks with staff from the Utah Division of Juvenile Justice and Youth Services (JJYS) about the programs they have in place to address the needs of transition-aged youth. We are especially pleased for the opportunity to talk with Emma, an impacted youth who has thrived with support from JJYS. JJYS provides a continuum of intervention, supervision, and rehabilitation programs to detained youth while assuring public safety. The Office of Operational Policy and Special Projects provides support to the various areas of programming offered by JJYS. Read the transcript.

AMIkids: A talk with VP of Behavioral Health Amy Bradshaw Hoppock

This week, YRTAC sits down with Amy Bradshaw Hoppock, AMIkids Vice President of Behavioral Health. This discussion focuses on research funded under a Second Chance Act grant award that explores the impact of family engagement on the success of detained youth. We also discuss AMIkids' efforts to achieve a renewable annual funding allocation as a state of Florida budget line item.  Read the transcript.

Youth MOVE National: A chat with John and Brittany

This week YRTAC sits down with Youth MOVE representatives John and Brittany to discuss peer support processes. Youth MOVE National envisions a future in which young people are valued as empowered leaders, advocates, and designers of communities built so that all youth have opportunities to thrive. Read the transcript.

Youth for Change: A chat with Sarah and Karen

This week YRTAC sits down with representatives from Youth for Change (YFC), Sarah and Karen, to discuss youth-led reentry planning. YFC is dedicated to enhancing the lives of children, individuals, families, and communities. They are an inclusive, caring, and resilient agency that works from a set of core values that allows for the delivery of trauma informed, culturally sensitive, and client centered services. Read the transcript.