About the Girls Initiative

The invisibility of girls extends beyond the walls of their confinement, to the ways in which juvenile justice discourse and reforms neglect vulnerable girls. The mission of the Girls Initiative is to illuminate the lives of vulnerable girls and their involvement in the juvenile justice system, and advocate for the implementation of gender-specific and effective programs that honor the relational identities of girls and provide therapeutic, safe, and strength-based interventions to address the imprint of gendered violence on their development. The Girls Initiative also gives girls an opportunity to assume leadership roles in reforming the public policies and practices that keep girls vulnerable to violence, trauma, educational failure, and generational poverty.

The goals of the Girls Initiative are to:
Increase awareness of policy makers at the federal, state and local level of the impact of violence and neglect on the lives of girls and young women. Increase the number of programs available as alternatives to detention that approach girls and young women affected by violence from a gender-specific, trauma informed and strength-based perspective. Increase leadership and advocacy skills of girls and young women who have been affected by violence.

The objectives of the Girls Initiative are to
Educate congressional representatives and staff on the impact of violence on girls and young women through meetings, briefings and hearings.
Advocate for legislation that increases system accountability for the appropriate provision of programs that meet the needs of girls and young women.
Advocate for legislation that increases federal, state and local appropriations for programs that meet the needs of girls and young women
Participate in relevant coalitions and alliances to support current efforts directed towards girls and young women and to address existing advocacy gaps.
Produce factsheets, white papers, articles and newsprint media specific to the needs of girls and young women impacted by violence.
Highlight existing programs and systems that address the needs of girls and young women that are promising or evidence-based.
Provide speaking opportunities and skills building workshops/trainings that utilize spoken word, dance and other artistic forms of expression for girls and young women.