2016 Stoneleigh Spring Forum



On May 4th, nearly 200 nonprofit and government leaders joined us for our fifth annual Spring Forum. The event highlighted the momentum generated in Philadelphia to implement new approaches to the way we think about addressing young people's behavior – based on the growing consensus that making mistakes is a normal part of growing up.


US Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Administrator Robert Listenbee delivered the keynote address, in which he discussed OJJDP's national agenda to ensure that young people’s contact with the system is “rare, fair, and beneficial to them.”  He also noted how critical OJJDP’s work with the National Academy of Sciences has been to incorporating research on adolescent brain development into the agency’s road map for reforming juvenile justice.  In addition, he stressed the importance of implementing trauma-informed approaches across the juvenile justice system – shifting the focus of the system from asking youth “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?”.


Crystal Arim, a Youth Advocate from Juvenile Law Center’s Youth Speakers Bureau, followed Administrator Listenbee’s speech by describing her own experience with the juvenile justice system and her thoughts on its reform. Crystal concluded her remarks with the following call to action for system leaders: “The mission of the juvenile justice system is to rehabilitate youth — not punish them. To accomplish this mission, we need more individualized service plans for youth. We need community programs and support systems that take youth as they are and prepare them for where they want to go.”


Following her remarks, the audience heard about the work of two of our Stoneleigh Fellows, Drexel University’s Dr. Naomi Goldstein and former Philadelphia Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel. Kevin spoke about his nationally recognized Police School Diversion Program, which provides services – not sanctions – to hundreds of youth who have committed first-time low-level offenses in schools.  Naomi highlighted her work with Philadelphia’s Juvenile Probation Department and other system leaders to create and implement a new graduated response system designed to help more youth successfully complete probation.


Following these remarks, Stoneleigh’s first Visiting Fellow, Juvenile Law Center co-founder Robert Schwartz, moderated a lively panel discussion focusing how Naomi and Kevin scaling their approaches at the state level in Pennsylvania and they plan to tackle sustainability challenges.


The final speaker of the afternoon was Eva Gladstein, the City’s new Deputy Managing Director for Health and Human Services, who offered her reflections as the Philadelphia Mayor Kenney’s administration begins to develop its own agenda to address the issues facing the City's most vulnerable youth. 


The Foundation and its Fellows look forward to continuing to build on the approaches shared at the Forum – by partnering with public sector leaders to help ensure that fewer youth are referred to the justice system and that those who are involved in the system benefit from their involvement. 


From left, Eva Gladstein, Naomi Goldstein, Robert Listenbee, Kevin Bethel, and Robert Schwartz.


 Top left, JLC Youth Advocate Crystal Arim answers questions from the crowd. Bottom left, Stoneleigh Board Chair 
Carole Haas Gravagno shares her perspective.

 Right, Stoneleigh Fellow Kevin Bethel presents his work.


 Executive Director Ronnie L. Bloom, Board Chair Carole Haas Gravagno, and Stoneleigh Fellows pose for a photo.