Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Juvenile Justice Day Services (PA-JJD) 7: Developing Life Skills and Connections

Youth are engaged in programming and activities that help them build skills, explore interests, experience a sense of self-efficacy and belonging, and contribute to the community.
2020 Edition




Juvenile Justice Day Services promote public safety and reduce the need for out-of-home placements by allowing youth to reside in their communities while they address problems and develop the attitudes and skills needed to make responsible choices, avoid negative behaviors, and become productive, connected, and law-abiding members of their communities.
Examples: Cognitive behavioral interventions and interpersonal skills training, along with opportunities to use skills in productive and valued activities, are examples of promising ways to address youths’ risks and needs and help them develop the competencies they need to succeed.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Table of contents of program curricula
  • Program curricula
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Youth served and their families
  • Observe program operations
  • Review case records

PA-JJD 7.01

Youth are helped to understand the impact of past actions, and develop the social-emotional skills needed to:
  1. solve problems, resolve conflicts, and make responsible decisions;
  2. control impulses and manage anger; and
  3. interact appropriately with others.

PA-JJD 7.02

Youth have opportunities to practice and demonstrate their social-emotional skills:
  1. in daily interactions at the program; and 
  2. in activities outside the facility, when possible and appropriate.
Examples: Opportunities to practice and demonstrate skills outside the facility may include, but are not limited to, community service projects or vocational placements.

PA-JJD 7.03

Youth are helped to develop age-appropriate life skills that support positive functioning at home and in the community.
Examples: Relevant skills may include, but are not limited to: identifying networks of support; time management; accessing and using community resources; pursuing educational and occupational opportunities; household management; budgeting and money management; and accessing available financial assistance.

PA-JJD 7.04

Youth have opportunities to participate in program activities appropriate to their needs, skills, and interests, including:
  1. sports and athletic activities;
  2. cultural enrichment activities;
  3. academic enrichment and support activities; and
  4. social activities.

Fundamental Practice

PA-JJD 7.05

The agency evaluates youth for their ability to participate in athletic activities and obtains as necessary:
  1. written, signed permission slips from youths’ parents or legal guardians;
  2. a medical records release; or
  3. a signed document from a qualified medical professional stating that the youth is physically capable of participating.

PA-JJD 7.06

In an effort to cultivate positive connections outside the program, personnel help youth identify:
  1. pro-social recreational and leisure time activities; and
  2. sources of pro-social support, such as mentors, community members, peers, siblings, or other family members.
Examples: Recreational and leisure time activities may include, but are not limited to, sports and athletic activities, cultural enrichment activities, and positive youth development clubs.

PA-JJD 7.07

To promote their ability to maintain positive health practices, youth receive appropriate support and education regarding:
  1. proper nutrition and exercise;
  2. personal hygiene;
  3. substance use and smoking;
  4. sexual development;
  5. safe and healthy relationships;
  6. prevention and treatment of diseases, including sexually transmitted diseases; 
  7. HIV/AIDS prevention; and
  8. pregnancy prevention and responsible parenting.

PA-JJD 7.08

Pregnant and parenting youth are helped to develop skills and knowledge related to:
  1. basic caregiving routines;
  2. child growth and development;
  3. meeting children’s health and emotional needs;
  4. environmental safety and injury prevention;
  5. parent-child interactions and bonding;
  6. age-appropriate behavioral expectations and disciplinary strategies; and
  7. pregnancy planning and the spacing of children.
NA The agency does not serve pregnant or parenting youth.