Human Sex Trafficking Screening

The Department of Juvenile Services is a national leader in screening, identifying and supporting juvenile victims of human sex trafficking. Secretary Abed was recently honored by the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force for Department of Juvenile Services' outstanding efforts to identify and coordinate support for human trafficking victims.

In 2012, the Department of Juvenile Services, in partnership with the Turnaround program, commenced screening for human sex trafficking victims at Thomas J.S. Waxter Children’s Center in Laurel, which is a secure juvenile detention facility serving females. The Turnaround program is a private program that counsels victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence. Through training and screening instruments provided to the staff at Waxter, 24 girls were identified as victims of human sex trafficking in 2012. Individualized treatment plans were developed for each victim with Turnaround providing counseling and support. In December 2012, Department of Juvenile Services expanded the use of the screening tool to the Alfred D. Noyes​ facility in Rockville, which is a co-ed facility.

The Department of Juvenile Services continues to expand the human sex trafficking screening tool to all Department of Juvenile Services facilities and community offices. The Turnaround program and other service providers will continue to be a valuable resource providing support to those youth who are identified as victims. For more information on the Turnaround program, visit


The Under-13 Initiative is a school-based intervention for youth ages 12 years and younger that are brought to Department of Juvenile Services' intake offices. It is a collaborative project between Department of Juvenile Services, local Department of Social Services (DSS) and the local school system. The Under-13 Initiative is based on the premise that if a youth is being arrested at such a young age that there are usually problems at home. So, the focus is on both the youth and his/her family.

The goal is to provide the youth and family the opportunity to receive services and support so the youth can avoid going deeper into the juvenile justice system. The meetings are coordinated by the local school system and are held in a local school.

The Under-13 Initiative officially rolled out in Baltimore City in May 2013. This program is now expanding to Prince George's County.

2019 Statewide Activity for Youth Under 13 (as seen on the Department of Juvenile Services Data Resource Guide FY 2019).

Juvenile Detention Alternatives

The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative or JDAI is a national program that is coordinated by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative is a best practice model that seeks to eliminate the inappropriate and unnecessary use of detention and reduce the failures of juveniles to appear in court. Department of Juvenile Services is using Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative in Baltimore City and is now underway in Prince George’s County. This successful program began more than 10 years ago and continues to expand throughout the country.

In 1992, as a step towards meeting its vision, the Annie E. Casey Foundation established the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative. Using detention as an entry point strategy, its primary target is overall juvenile justice system improvement. Beginning with a handful of jurisdictions, the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative core strategies were proven to reduce the unnecessary and inappropriate secure detention, reduce costs, increase system fairness and improve the juvenile justice system overall without compromising public safety. Today, reform efforts are under way in over 150 jurisdictions in 32 states and the District of Columbia, and Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative is now operational in those places responsible for almost 75 percent of the country's detained population.

The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) is designed to address the efficiency and effectiveness of juvenile detention across the United States. Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative demonstrates that communities can improve their detention systems without sacrificing public safety. The goals of Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative are to:

  • Decrease the number of youth unnecessarily or inappropriately detained;
  • Reduce the number of youth who fail to appear in court or re-offend pending adjudication;
  • Redirect public funds towards effective juvenile justice processes and public safety strategies;
  • Reduce the disproportionate minority confinement and contact of the juvenile justice system; and,
  • Improve the juvenile justice system overall.

Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative is a process, not a conventional program, which means Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative helps restructure policy and practice to create system improvements that reach far beyond detention alone. Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative sites have demonstrated safe reductions in the number of youth detained through a set of interrelated strategies which include:

  1. Collaboration among juvenile justice agencies, community organizations and other government agencies;
  2. The use of data in making policy and case-level decisions;
  3. Objective instruments to guide detention decisions;
  4. Operation of a continuum of non-secure detention alternatives;
  5. Case processing efficiencies to reduce time between arrest and case dis-position; improvement of conditions of confinement;
  6. Safe reductions of special populations (e.g. violations of probation, warrants and cases awaiting placement);
  7. Racial/ethnic fairness in policy and case-level decision-making; and, improving conditions of confinement.

For more information about the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative program, visit​​​​​