The National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) has been my professional home for 16 years. That’s a long tenure in today’s work world, but in the 110-year life span of this venerable institution, it’s a mere heartbeat.
NCCD was founded in 1907 to contribute to the then-emerging field of juvenile justice—a focus that remains at the heart of our mission and our daily work. When I was a young social worker in Georgia, I worked with young people and families whose lives intersected not only the juvenile justice system but also child protective services, family courts, and more. My experiences have shaped my personal mission to promote social change through viewing individuals—both children and adults—holistically, in the contexts of their families and communities.
That holistic viewpoint shapes the work we do at NCCD every day. In addition to our work in juvenile justice, we have been at the forefront in system improvement, data-driven policy reform, and best practices in child welfare, adult criminal justice, and adult protection. Working with partners across the country and around the world, we have greater potential than ever to make a strong, positive impact on the lives of children, families, and communities who come into contact with these systems.
I am proud that NCCD’s people, programs, and research are stronger and more determined than ever to deliver results to our project partners around the world. We have three offices across the nation and over 100 employees doing amazing work. We have built on solid bodies of work in justice and child welfare to make significant inroads into new areas, including adult protection, Pay for Success programs, and the integration of family engagement practices with research-based child welfare assessments.
Still, there are so many issues that demand yet more attention: the school-to-prison pipeline, unacceptable conditions of confinement, and the growing population of aging adults in social service systems, to name just a few. With so much going on, it is critical that we work effectively with our partners—in government, in the private sector, in service provision, in research, and in advocacy and education—to create change for those who need it most.
I am committed to ensuring that NCCD continues to leverage its historical knowledge and cross-systems expertise to drive effective and ethical system reform. For example:
- In juvenile justice, NCCD supports reform that doesn’t “widen the net,” or increase the system’s capacity to incarcerate young people. For those youth who are already in locked facilities, we want to work on ways to keep their well-being the top priority and get them safely and successfully back to their communities.
- In criminal justice, we are committed to promoting effective community violence-prevention strategies.
- In child welfare, our research continues to demonstrate that families and communities will benefit from protective service systems that successfully integrate research-based assessment with practices that invest in strengthening parents’ capacity to create safety for their children.
- In adult protective services, we advocate for greater investment of national resources to better understand the dynamics of adult and elder abuse, and we support the field in creating shared metrics for system success.
These positions are just some of the issues we at NCCD care deeply about and are determined to further through our work.
I look forward to sharing more with you, and I welcome your continued input and perspective. NCCD’s future is bright, and we are grateful for your partnership as we continue our efforts to envision and create the social service systems we all deserve.
Kathy Park, Chief Executive Officer