About the Iowa Task Force for Young Women

The Iowa Task Force for Young Women involves key stakeholders in Iowa's juvenile justice system, particularly service providers who want comprehensive system change that reflects gender equity for girls and young women. Major activities of the Task Force include: the annual "Whispers & Screams" conference for girl-serving professionals; the biannual Girls' Summit to specifically address young women's needs with policy shapers; and the Courageous Advocacy Awards for exceptional advocates and young women. Further, the Task Force has many publications to assist female responsive service implementation, program location and understanding various issues related to young women.


Although Iowa has not traditionally placed emphasis on the provision of gender-responsive services for females, since the 1995 formation of the Iowa Gender-Specific Services Task Force (now the Iowa Task Force for Young Women) by the Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning (CJJP), there has been increasing discussion and action toward this end. Across the continuum of the Iowa juvenile justice system, service providers and system officials have been educated on female development and the need for more gender-responsive services that utilize the gender-specific services philosophy in programs that serve adolescent females. Encouragingly, there has been change in the way services are provided in various programs.

System changes are also slowly beginning to emerge. However, a comprehensive change across the juvenile justice system has not occurred. Change must occur on a more fundamental level within the system to facilitate utilization of innovative gender-specific approaches in all programs and services. Further, those involved in the planning of our efforts must expand to include a wider representation of players in the juvenile justice system. Both measures are necessary for Iowa to truly provide equitable services within its juvenile justice system.

Funding through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Planning

In 1998, the Iowa Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice and Planning Division entered into an agreement with the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women to provide staff support to the Task Force. This position coordinates the Task Force's activities.

The grant was secured to facilitate the utilization of innovative gender-specific approaches in meeting the needs of the adolescent female population in Iowa's juvenile justice system as part of and complementary to the use of positive youth development principles and practices in communities throughout Iowa.

Project Goal

  • Facilitate a comprehensive fundamental change in the juvenile justice system that will enhance the understanding and utilization of innovative gender-responsive approaches in all programs and services, particularly those that serve the adolescent female population of Iowa's juvenile justice system.

Iowa Task Force for Young Women Annual Plan

View a list of active Task Force Members.

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