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ACCESS is a project that recognizes the ineffective and traumatizing impacts of the confinement and incarceration of girls and gender-expansive young people. ACCESS supports and assists jurisdictions demonstrating a commitment to reducing reliance on incarceration and to building a continuum of community-based supports and services to address the specific needs of this population.


ACCESS provides technical assistance and learning opportunities to support decision-makers in better understanding what drives cis and trans girls and gender-expansive young people into the system while providing advocates with information and support. Additionally, the work focuses on identifying and creating the continuum of services and support needed in the community to effectively address the needs of cis and trans girls, young women, gender-expansive young people, and their families.

A cornerstone of the work is building a collaborative partnership between decision makers, advocates – including young people most impacted – with Minnesota Ramsey County Social Services; the Department of Health & Human Services, Division of Youth and Family Services in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin; and the Kansas Department of Corrections.

Milwaukee County, WI

In partnership with the Department of Youth and Family Services, the ACCESS team provides technical assistance to respond to the loss of the two youth state prisons by assisting in the development of a continuum of care in the community, specifically for girls and gender-expansive youth.

Ramsey County, MN

In partnership with Ramsey County leadership, the ACCESS team is taking an innovative and upstream approach to develop a report that will highlight data on girls and gender-expansive youth of color, and the drivers that push them to the deep end of the system. Working with Child Welfare researchers, the report will disaggregate existing quantitative data by gender and race, and provide data on girls and young women impacted by the system. As available, qualitative data will be used to explore differences based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This will include factors that push them into the system and describe the link that exists between juvenile justice and child welfare.

State of Kansas

In partnership with the Kansas Department of Juvenile Corrections, the ACCESS team provides support to develop and create a girls report in helping the state understand drivers for girls and gender-expansive youth, and provide recommendations on alternatives to incarceration.

Continuum of Care Report

This report will describe the necessary elements of an effective and responsive continuum of community-based care services and supports. It will also include lessons learned from states and jurisdictions participating in the ACCESS project, and best practices from across the country. Look for the release of this report in 2022.

Related Content

Gender Injustice, Executive Summary

Gender Injustice, Full Report

UnUNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES: Addressing the Impact of Domestic Violence Mandatory and Pro-Arrest Policies and Practices on Girls and Young Women

OJJDP Girls Policy Guidance


Project Partners

The project is supported by the Public Welfare Foundation and currently includes work with Minnesota Ramsey County Social Services: the Department of Health & Human Services, Division of Youth and Family Services in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin; and the Kansas Department of Corrections.

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