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High Risk: Girls at the Deep End


In June 2022, Chief Justice Susan Christensen’s Juvenile Justice Task Force (JJTF) requested a review by the Iowa Task Force for Young Women (ITFYW) of the recommendations from the original "Serious, Violent and Chronic Juvenile Female Offenders: Service and System Recommendations for Iowa" report in order to reflect any knowledge gained or relevant system change since its publication in 2017.  

The following publication includes that updated information:  

The Iowa Girls Justice Initiative (IGJI) developed an innovative, viable, and effective plan for services to young women involved at the deepest levels in the juvenile justice system. In doing so, this group explored the potential use of innovative, female-responsive approaches at earlier stages of juvenile justice system involvement.  Through these efforts, members developed the final report containing system and services recommendations for girls in the juvenile justice system.

The Iowa Task Force for Young Women (ITFYW) served as the initial core collaborative group for IGJI.  The ITFYW expanded its existing membership to include a broader range of juvenile justice system officials and stakeholders.  The purpose was to address the gap in services for this population of young women prompted by the closure of Iowa’s only state training school for girls in January 2014.  It is the function of the ITFYW, using staff support from CJJP, to facilitate planning using the expertise of its expanded membership in consultation with national experts and using available technical assistance. 

Iowa Girls Justice Initiative Final Reports

Data Reports

Iowa Girls' Justice Initiative Goals and Objectives

GOAL 1: Establish an accurate, current and complete picture of the services, needs and gaps pertaining to high risk and/or high need juvenile female offenders. 

Objective 1: Conduct a gap analysis

GOAL 2: Provide a structure to develop a process to objectively analyze the current effectiveness of services for deep-end female juvenile offenders, and identify strategies to improve the level of care, the effectiveness, and the quality of services for young women under juvenile court jurisdiction that is proportionally equivalent in resources to the same level of care afforded to male juvenile offenders with similar risks and needs.

Objective 1: Augment existing capacity for the project

Objective 2: Conduct the planning process

GOAL 3: Integrate the female and culturally responsive, trauma-informed care, strength-based, and developmentally appropriate plan for services into the existing system.

Objective 1:  Coordinate the implementation of the plan for services

Iowa Girls Justice Initiative Task Force Members

Ashley Artzer

5th Judicial District Juvenile Court Services

Des Moines

Terri Bailey

Family Life Center

Youth & Shelter Services


Linda Bisgaard

Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa

Des Moines

Jim Chesnik

Div. of Adult, Children, & Family Services

Iowa Dept. of Human Services

Des Moines

Kristen Corey

Office on the Status of Women

Iowa Dept. of Human Rights

Des Moines

Hon. Susan Cox

5th Judicial District

Des Moines

Steve Crew

Iowa Dept. of Education

Des Moines

LaTasha DeLoach

Johnson County Social Services

Iowa City

Kim Denning

8th Judicial District Juvenile Court Services


Andrea Dickerson

Youth & Shelter Services


Rita Ferneau



Ruth Frush

1st Judicial District Juvenile Court Services

Jasmine Garrison

Youth Member

Evelyn Garrison

Youth & Shelter Services

Des Moines

Nicole Hart

Youth Member

Stephanie Hernandez

Family Resources, Inc.


Jeremy Kaiser

Scott County Juvenile Detention


Nathan Kirstein

Disability Rights Iowa

Des Moines

Julie Martin

Linn County Juvenile Justice Center

Cedar Rapids

Kristie Oliver

Coalition for Family & Children Services in Iowa

Des Moines

Brent Pattison

Middleton Children's Rights Center

Drake University School of Law

Des Moines

Lori Rinehart

Polk County Juvenile Court

Des Moines

Tom Southard

2nd Judicial District Juvenile Court 


Monica Stone

Iowa Dept. of Human Rights

Des Moines

Jennifer Tibbetts

Catherine McAuley Center

Cedar Rapids

Patti Wachtendorf

Iowa Correctional Institution for Women


Julie Walton

Scott County Attorney's Office