Preserving Family Ties
Investing in Girls: A 21st Century Strategy

If a primary goal of the juvenile justice system is to protect public safety now and into the 21st century, supporting the development of positive relationships between juvenile and adult female offenders and their children is a critical long-term strategy. This can be achieved in part by ongoing evaluation of the aforementioned Federal welfare and adoption legislation and by funding, at least in part, the Family Unity Demonstration Project (Amnesty International, 1999). In 1998, Congress enacted the Family Unity Act and by doing so recognized the essential need for family strengthening programs linking incarcerated parents and their children. Although Congress has not appropriated the funds required for implementation, it could begin to address this need by funding one major demonstration program to preserve the bond between incarcerated mothers, their children, and families. On the threshold of the 21st century, it is imperative to recognize the close relationship between the needs of girls and women and public safety—a relationship based in part on the ability of future generations to remain crime free.