Laura Abrams, professor of social welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, and Dr. Elizabeth Barnert, associate professor of pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, received a $1 million contract from the California Health & Human Services’ Office of Youth and Community Restoration to help create standards of care for young people moved to county-run programs.

The professors will help design a program called Stepping Home, which will provide youth held accountable for serious crimes with services and support so they can successfully rejoin their communities. A state law enacted in 2020 led to the closure of California’s juvenile corrections facilities, with hundreds of young people moved to their home counties to join supervised living arrangements.

Stepping Home aims to prioritize community safety and create an environment of healing, accountability and rehabilitation. Services will include physical and mental health care, educational and vocational programs, life skills training and gang intervention.

“We are working as consultants to the state to create and implement a more ideal, less harmful youth justice system,” Barnert said. Abrams and Barnert are longtime research collaborators whose work was recognized with a UCLA Public Impact Research Award in 2022.

Read the full story about the contract on the Luskin School website.