Public Policy Associates, Inc. is helping leaders and staff of a juvenile court services program in Iowa understand their organizational climate and continue to improve it. A key part of the work involves examining how well the practices within the organization, as well as services provided to youth and families, reflect the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

PPA first conducted a survey of the entire staff of Juvenile Court Services (JCS) for the Fifth Judicial Circuit in Iowa in 2019. Researchers followed up with individual interviews of about one-third of the staff. The data and analysis provided JCS with a deeper understanding of the organizational climate and included recommendations for improving it.

Now, JCS has retained PPA to consult on the development and implementation of action plans based on the recommendations and conduct a series of follow-up assessments to measure progress over the next five years.

“Positive, inclusive work environments not only have a big effect on staff morale, they also play a key role in improving the quality of services,” said Robb Burroughs, PPA’s director for justice policy and project manager. “Given the challenging nature of the work, it is very difficult to adopt evidence-based approaches for serving court-involved youth when staff members don’t feel like supported, valued members of a team. I am impressed with how engaged the whole organization has been. People were excited to do interviews and provided thoughtful, honest feedback.”

PPA does extensive work in the area of juvenile justice and supports equitable public policy. For more information, contact Mr. Burroughs at