This report and the accompanying workbook provide information on the following four broad strategies for juvenile justice program sustainability: developing institutional response, synthesizing outcomes, documenting change, and piloting solutions. Further, it focuses attention on a fifth strategy—constructing infrastructure for ongoing reform—recognizing that many sites have already considered this imperative.

Long-term program sustainability is perhaps one of the most challenging issues facing new and innovative juvenile justice programs today. All too often, programs receive start-up funding from time-limited federal, state, or foundation funding sources. When these grants end or seed money runs out, programs must find long-term funding sources, often from local or state governments that are faced with competing and multiple priorities and limited fiscal resources. These sustainability challenges are particularly poignant at times of economic uncertainty and budget shortfalls.  Research suggests that programs should begin thinking about sustainability early in the program planning and implementation process, as well as identifying potential sustainability barriers and options and opportunities for minimizing those barriers.

The National Center for Youth Opportunity and Justice (NCYOJ) originally developed and maintained this resource. The NCYOJ was operated by Policy Research, Inc. and operated from 2001 to 2022 and was formerly known as the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice. The NCYOJ improved life opportunities for youth through systems and practice improvement initiatives.

This resource should be viewed as a reference document. It has not been updated since its publication. In addition, this document has not been made 508 compliant. If you would like a 508 compliant version of this document, please email

This resource was first shared in 2010.

(PDF, 139KB)