The Road Map to Zero Youth Detention

The Road Map to Zero Youth Detention is King County’s strategic plan to not only further reduce the use of secure detention for youth, but to launch this County on a journey to eliminate it.

Read the executive summary

The Road Map to Zero Youth Detention makes the case for why getting to zero is essential. 

Building on 20 years of reducing the secure detention population, this region starts the journey to Zero Youth Detention with momentum. Informed by youth and their families, communities, and employees whose work touches the lives of youth, the Road Map outlines practical solutions designed to improve community safety, help young people thrive, keep youth from entering the juvenile legal system, divert youth from further juvenile legal system involvement, and support strong communities.

Road Map
Read the full report

This Road Map is a work in progress. The ultimate destination is Zero Youth Detention, but the journey itself is expected to yield changes in systems, policies, and services leading to better outcomes for youth and communities. To drive this work, King County is using a public health approach for Zero Youth Detention, bringing together community and system partners guided by science on positive youth development to understand and implement what best promotes the well-being of youth and families and community safety.

Diving into the Road Map

The Road Map is structured into three levels:

  • Objectives: Five overarching goals of Zero Youth Detention
  • Strategies: Means for achieving the objectives
  • Action Items: Specific steps or tactics to move the needle on strategies and objectives

To further explore these Road Map components, read the new blog series, Diving into the Road Map.

View the Road Map blog series ➜

The first installments in this series dive deeper into the five Road Map objectives:


Objective 1. Lead

Lead with racial equity.
More on Objective 1 ➜


Objective 2. Prevent

Prevent youth from entering the juvenile legal system by focusing upstream and on systems to have the greatest impact.
More on Objective 2 ➜


Objective 3. Divert

Divert youth from further law enforcement, formal legal processes, and secure detention into community based options.
More on Objective 3 ➜


Objective 4. Support

Support youth and families to reduce recurrence of legal system involvement and increase healthy outcomes.
More on Objective 4 ➜


Objective 5. Align

Align and optimize connections between systems to increase effectiveness.
More on Objective 5 ➜

Stay tuned to the blog for upcoming posts in the Diving into the Road Map series.