Positive Youth Outcomes (PYO) Committee

Most legislatures, governors, media and stakeholders focus exclusively on recidivism as a measure of correctional outcomes and effectiveness. This focus on recidivism as the primary indicator of the success or failure of juvenile programs has discouraged juvenile correctional agencies from collecting and utilizing positive youth outcomes data to identify programs and services that effectively rehabilitate delinquent youths. Relying exclusively on recidivism to evaluate the effectiveness of correctional programs and services overlooks an entire spectrum of potentially protective factors.

The Positive Youth Outcomes (PYO) committee, made up of CJCA members, research and clinical staff, meets once a month by telephone and at CJCA’s semiannual business meetings.

To improve juvenile correctional agencies’ capacities to collect and utilize positive youth outcomes data, the PYO committee will:

  • Conduct a thorough review of all relevant literature;
  • Survey directors and their research staff to develop an understanding of what positive outcomes are currently being measured, how those outcomes are being measured, and how the data are being used; and
  • Conduct a thorough examination of all measurement instruments currently in use to measure positive changes in adolescents.

The information these efforts produce will help CJCA come to consensus, and develop guidelines, on the most appropriate and useful methods for collecting and analyzing positive outcome data within juvenile correctional agencies. CJCA looks forward to having available a set of flexible standards that underscore the values that we share and that encourage the development of juvenile correctional systems that work toward maximizing the potential of each youth in their care.

The PYO Committee 2018 Webinar Series on Education is featured under the Resources / webinar section. 


Peter J. Forbes, Positive Youth Outcome Committee - PYO Chair

Peter J. Forbes, Positive Youth Outcome Committee - PYO Chair

Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Youth Services

Peter J. Forbes was appointed Commissioner for the Department of Youth Services (DYS) in June 2013. Commissioner Forbes, a 30-year DYS employee, has an extensive history in human services, public administration and adolescent development. Forbes most recently served as the Department’s Deputy Commissioner where he managed field operations as well as ensured quality residential programming, community transition and supervision critical to the effective daily operation of the Department.

Commissioner Forbes’ long-standing commitment with DYS began in 1983 when he was first hired as a direct care worker at a long term Secure Treatment Unit in Boston. Forbes progressed in his professional career with the Department and held numerous direct-care and managerial roles with DYS as a Shift Supervisor, Caseworker, District Manager, Regional Director, and later as Assistant Commissioner of Operations. As the Regional Director in Boston for more than a decade, Forbes established a series of constructive relationships with public agency and community based partners that improved the services and outcomes for DYS youth.

Forbes served as the Department’s Assistant Commissioner of Operations for eight years. In this capacity he supervised field-based operations, and introduced and implemented policy and practices changes including providing oversight to ensure that the DYS residential continuum is safe for both youth and staff. Commissioner Forbes was also instrumental in the design and implementation of a structured community reentry model for DYS youth who are returning to their home communities.

Commissioner Forbes is committed to sustaining efforts that ensure low-risk youth do not penetrate the deep end of the juvenile justice system and youth in custody receive appropriate services where and when they need them.

Forbes holds a Master of Science in Human Services with a concentration in Administration from the College of Public and Community Service at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and an undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Peter also attended the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University in 2009 to participate in the Certificate program focused on Multi System Integration between the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice systems.