Image of one teen smiling and looking at the camera; the words: Care and closure with the subtitle of a plan for youth healing, accountability, and community safety.

All young people in King County deserve to thrive and reach their full potential. Yet many face a legal system that is harmful, punitive, and overwhelmingly targets youth of color.

Care & Closure is a plan to center youth, care, and connection and reduce the harms of the punitive system in which we currently operate as King County moves to close the youth detention center. Ultimately, King County aims to unwind generations of systemic racism by transforming the criminal legal system and enhancing public safety, so every person is safe in their home and community.

In order to close the youth detention facility at the Judge Patricia J. Clark Children and Family Justice Center (CCFJC), King County must expand alternatives to youth detention by proposing and adopting a holistic range of community-based alternatives that address the complex needs and risk levels of young people who would otherwise be in detention. 

King County Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) is leading the Care & Closure process to identify community-based alternatives to youth incarceration and oversee community engagement to create a roadmap that supports the health of young people and their healing, accountability, and community safety.

Juvenile incarceration has harmful, profound, and long-lasting impacts on young people’s mental and physical health. It impacts their future employment and educational outcomes. It also increases the likelihood of being involved in the criminal legal system in the future.

Notably, young people of color are harmed most because of structural racism, historic community disinvestment, and overpolicing. Although the County has reduced the number of young people in detention by 75% since 2010, youth of color are overrepresented in detention and the youth legal system. Youth of color made up 81% of the young people in detention in 2022.


Bold action is needed to further transform the youth legal system and support young people.




We can build more just and accountable alternatives for young people responsible for serious harm in their communities.

Creating youth healing, accountability, and community safety without relying on punitive and harmful systems will take all of us. Join us in this effort. 

Ready to get started? Click on the tabs above to take a short survey, learn about the Advisory Committee, and see what we are learning. 


Mark your calendars! Our first meeting in 2024 will be on Monday, March 25 from 4 pm to 5:30 pm.

Check back soon for the agenda and call-in information.

Learn more about the project

Check out a summary document of the project. 

 Three teenagers are sitting outdoors on stairs; they are all smiling and looking at the camera

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