Policy Reports + Resources

Special reports are prepared occasionally as part of collaborative policy and engagement partnerships and projects. To request a hard copy of any of these publications, please contact the Schubert Center.

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Release Date Special Report

The Impact of Adolescent Developmental & Brain Research on Juvenile Justice Reform.

Major findings in developmental neuroscience over the past couple of decades have shed new light on our understanding of adolescence. In particular, the prefrontal cortex part of the teen brain, which controls executive function and its connectivity with the limbic system, is still developing through late adolescence and into young adulthood. This brief will examine how these developmental characteristics of adolescence make teens different from and less culpable than adults in the criminal justice system by covering these topics:

  1. An overview of the juvenile justice system in the U.S. and Ohio
  2. Key adolescent behavioral and cognitive developmental attributes
  3. How this research on adolescence has shaped law
  4. How a developmental approach continues to inform law and policy impacting children and youth.

Climate Change, Environmental Justice and Maternal and Child Health in Greater Cleveland

In this Policy Brief, the Schubert Center highlights the critical intersection of health threats from climate change and social-environmental factors, particularly affecting pregnant women and young children who are among the most vulnerable.  Over 80% of the global burden of climate-related diseases is borne by children under 5 years of age. In Cleveland, historical discrimination and aging infrastructure contribute to health disparities, emphasizing the urgent need for a cross-sector environmental justice policy agenda. The vulnerability of pregnant women and young children to environmental threats, such as air pollution and extreme heat, is detailed, and the disparities in Cleveland's neighborhoods are linked to racial segregation and past discriminatory policies.  The brief concludes by advocating for immediate and long-term interventions, including land policy reforms, healthy housing initiatives, and a shift towards sustainable alternatives, necessitating healthy housing initiatives and interdisciplinary collaboration to address environmental justice for the most vulnerable.



Addressing and Preventing Child Abuse in Cuyahoga County: Toward a Coordinated Approach

The Schubert Center partnered with the Cuyahoga County Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) to draft Addressing and Preventing Child Abuse in Cuyahoga County: Toward a Coordinated Approach, a report highlighting the need for a more coordinated system to prevent and reduce the impact of child abuse.  At the request of the DCFS Advisory Board, we conducted a review of child protection team (CPT) models nationally, explored how this type of approach would work within our county structure, and prepared a report on findings and recommendations.

The report describes the current landscape of child abuse and neglect in Cuyahoga County and the current system for addressing child abuse cases, as well as other models for a coordinated response and prevention of revictimization.  It is informed by academic literature, research reports, and interviews with key stakeholders from around the nation and an advisory group of local experts who work in child welfare, pediatrics, advocacy, and research.  It is intended to offer information that will advance an effort toward a county-wide, coordinated model for addressing child abuse that involves close collaboration among medical practitioners, a multi-displinary team of key stakeholders, and a coordinating entity. 

A two-page Executive Summary of the report is also available. 


“Recognizing & Responding to Traumatized Youth” - Cleveland Division of Police Training, Pre- and Post-Training Survey Results

The Schubert Center analyzed pre- and post-surveys connected to a series of Recognizing and Responding to Traumatized Youth trainings that were held from July-November 2019 for approximately 1,375 Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) officers by Strategies for Youth.  The surveys were analyzed to evaluate changes in CDP officers' self-rated knowledge and beliefs of youth and personal skills related to youth interactions and to understand CDP officers' manner of describing youth and their expectations and feedback for the training.  The survey results show that CDP officers gained functional skills as a result of the training and impacted the largely negative perception of youth held prior to the training. Overall, the results derived from the pre-and post-training surveys demonstrate the value of the training, both in the objective gains of knowledge and skills and in the reflections from trainees.

A one-page summary, Training Police in Responding Effectively to Youth, is available.


Sample MOU for Clarifying School Resource Officer Roles and Expectations

Nationally, and here in Ohio, there has been increasing attention to addressing challenging student behaviors while reducing the “school-to-prison pipeline” and looking to the role of law enforcement in the school setting to better ensure school safety.  Our Center collaborated with several other partners to prepare a sample MOU (memorandum of understanding) for schools to consider using in clarifying the roles and expectations of SROs (school resource officers). The development of this State of Ohio Sample SRO MOU was informed by reports and guidance from several agencies and groups, including the Council of State Governments Justice Center, the US Department of Justice and the US Department of Education, as well as members of the Ohio Attorney General’s Criminal Justice and Mental Health Task Force Juvenile Justice Sub-Committee and members of the OSROA (Ohio SRO Association). This Sample MOU, released in 2016, is intended to be a starting point for local school districts to use in developing their own MOUs with law enforcement in order to help ensure safe and healthy schools and successful students. 

Additional information is available here, including the reports and guidance used to develop this sample MOU.


A Citizen’s Guide to the Cleveland Police Consent Decree with a Special Focus on Implications for Children & Young People

The Schubert Center supports advancing positive interactions between youth and police and promotes developmentally informed policies and practices. This guide was created to help the Cleveland community, specifically young people, better understand the consent decree involving the CLE police.

After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2013-2014 of the Cleveland Division of Police (CDP), the Cleveland Consent Decree, or Settlement Agreement, went into effect on June 12, 2015. This court-enforceable agreement details problems that the DOJ found within the CDP and deadlines for correcting these problems. One of the important components of the Consent Decree is that the Cleveland community should be involved in its implementation. To help make the large 105-page document accessible to the larger community, and specifically youth, the Schubert Center for Child Studies created a “Citizen’s Guide to the Consent Decree.” This guide is being released today, February 14, 2017, as part of the Community Police Commission’s Day of Justice for Cleveland students.


Getting Smarter on Sex Offenses & Youth: A Resource Guide for Ohio Policymakers 

The Schubert Center wants to prevent sexual offenses from occurring. Most laws, including Ohio's, focus not on prevention, but accountability and punishment of offenders.  Together with our community partners, we seek to better address this issue by focus­ing attention on how best to intervene with youth who commit sex offenses. 

We believe that Ohio can lead the country in an effort to truly prevent sexual violence by shifting its focus and resources to education, prevention, and treat­ment and ensuring that developmentally appropriate, trauma-informed services for youth who commit these offenses and those who are victimized by them are con­sistently available throughout Ohio.

A great deal is known about sexual offending, much of which challenges popularly held beliefs. This guide com­piles information about sexual offenses involving children as victims and offenders. This information, derived from sci­entific studies, should inform policymaking focused on prevention. 


Getting it Right: Realigning Juvenile Corrections in Ohio to Reinvest in What Works — Gabriella Celeste, JD, Director, Child Policy

Ohio offers a promising example of juvenile justice system realignment and reinvestment efforts and may serve as a model for others interested in a collaborative approach to policy change and, ultimately, better results for those involved in the juvenile justice system. This brief highlights the importance of fiscal realignment and incentive strategies to invest in effective community-based programming as well as the critical need for effective state-local partnerships with juvenile courts and providers, among others, to ensure the best outcomes for young people and communities.


Expanding the Toolbox: The Use of Volunteers by Public Children Service Agencies in Ohio — Presented at the PCSAO Conference on October 24, 2013.

The Schubert Center in collaboration with the Public Children Services Agency of Ohio (PCSAO) conducted a study about the use of volunteers by Public Children Service Agencies (PCSAs) in major metropolitan counties in Ohio. Schubert Center Research Associate Julia Kobulsky was responsible for conducting much of the original research. Through this study we hope to encourage a dialogue regarding the use of volunteers by PCSAs and provide examples of successful volunteer programs for county PCSAs interested in expanding their volunteer utilization. Emergent best practices including the importance of designated staff, training and consistent fiscal support are discussed, as are implications for future research.


The Bridge to Somewhere: How Research Made its Way into Legislative Juvenile Justice Reform in Ohio: A Case Study — Gabriella Celeste, JD, Director, Child Policy

In 2011, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 86, landmark legislation for juvenile justice reforms based on an understanding of evidence-based practices and adolescent development research. This legislative achievement was the result of a collaborative policy change model that relied upon critical engagement among various experts, practitioners, key stakeholders, advocates and policymakers. The case study is intended to be a learning tool for those interested in understanding a collaborative approach to policy change and potentially pursing similar policy change efforts in the future.