Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Juvenile Justice Day Services (PA-JJD) 9: Maintaining Safety and Security

The agency maintains a safe, secure environment where youth, personnel, and community members are protected from harm.
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.
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
  • Youth/personnel supervision ratios
  • Procedures for maintaining safety and security both on- and off-site
  • Procedures for conducting searches
  • Policy regarding weapons
  • Procedures for documenting, reviewing, and reporting noncompliance
  • Documentation of youth/personnel supervision ratios for the previous six months
  • Personnel coverage schedules for the previous six months
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Youth served and their families
  • Review case records
  • Observe program site

Fundamental Practice

PA-JJD 9.01

The agency provides sufficient supervision to ensure the safety of youth, personnel, and the community, and:
  1. supervision ratios are established based on youths’ risks and needs;
  2. additional personnel are available in case of emergency; and
  3. supervision ratios are adjusted accordingly when youth participate in activities away from the program site.
Examples: When youth participate in activities away from the program site, it may be advisable to have higher ratios of personnel to youth than are necessary for daily activities at the program site.

Fundamental Practice

PA-JJD 9.02

To promote the safety and security of youth, the facility, and the community, the organization:
  1. regulates entry into and exit from the facility;
  2. monitors youths’ attendance; and
  3. follows up when youth are unexpectedly absent.

Fundamental Practice

PA-JJD 9.03

When it is necessary to search youth or their property, trained personnel do so according to procedures that:
  1. are consistent with applicable state and federal law;
  2. define when there is reasonable cause to conduct a search;
  3. minimize the invasiveness of the search;
  4. respect youths’ dignity; and
  5. establish a process and timetable for administrative review.


Agencies should conduct more invasive searches only when there is reason to do so, and should demonstrate that these searches are: (1) conducted by qualified staff, and (2) accompanied by an increased level of administrative review.

Fundamental Practice

PA-JJD 9.04

Agency policy prohibits personnel, youth, and visitors from bringing weapons into the facility.


If agency policy allows armed law enforcement officers to enter the agency’s facilities, the agency should explain: (1) under what circumstances this practice is permitted, and (2) how safety is ensured while the armed officers are on site.

Fundamental Practice

PA-JJD 9.05

When youth have opportunities to participate in activities away from the program site, the organization:
  1. defines when youth are eligible for the opportunity; and
  2. evaluates youth for eligibility and appropriateness.

PA-JJD 9.06

The agency appropriately and consistently documents, reviews, and reports incidents of youth noncompliance in accordance with any requirements specified by the court or another party with jurisdiction over youth.