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. 


Youth 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 by youth detention because of structural racism, historic community disinvestment, and overpolicing. 

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 the King County Executive moves to close the youth detention center at the Judge Patricia J. Clark Children and Family Justice Center (CCFJC). 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.


There are six recommendations for the proposed community-based alternatives that address the complex needs and risk levels of young people who would otherwise be in detention. While many of these recommendations have shared support, there are two recommendations that require additional deliberation and consensus-building.


Recommendation #1: Create, operate, and maintain a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week respite and receiving center where law enforcement will take all youth under 18 years old upon arrest unless they can be released upon entering the center. More deliberation needed. 

Recommendation #2: Provide very short-term respite housing at the respite and receiving center for youth who cannot go home due to safety concerns. More deliberation needed. 

Recommendation #3: Provide enhanced immediate supports when youth return home to their families or are placed in kinship care with extended family members. Strong consensus. 

Recommendation #4: Create, contract, and provide oversight to a network of community care homes where youth would stay while their court case proceeds if they are unable to go home because of safety concerns. General consensus. 

Recommendation #5: Strengthen community infrastructure and capacity to ensure all youth have access to and can benefit from culturally responsive and linguistically relevant, developmentally appropriate, and youth- and family-centered supports that address their identified needs. Strong consensus. 

Recommendation #6: Ensure the next steps for these recommendations are informed by and centered on input, expertise, and ideas of the community members most directly impacted by the youth legal system. Strong consensus. 

In order to close the youth detention facility, King County will first 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. 


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


Ready to get started? Click on the tabs above to learn more about the recommendations, listen in and attend the Advisory Committee, and see what we are learning from impacted youth, families, and community members. 

Learn more about Care & Closure 

 Thursday, May 23 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. 

Join us for a webinar on the Care & Closure recommendations. This webinar is for anyone who is interested in learning more about the six recommendations proposed as alternatives to secure youth detention and hear about the progress on the next actions outlined in the report.

Register for the webinar here.  

Mark your calendars! Our next meeting is on Monday, June 3 from 4 pm to 5:30 pm. 

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

Sign up to receive project updates

Click to subscribe

Check out previous updates below: 

Group of words related to resources in a word cloud. Under that image are the words: Do you need resources? Click to get connected.