Gender responsiveness requires attention to the needs of girls so that programs and policies can address girls' development and help them to establish and sustain consistent, supportive relationships. Gender responsive programming provides girls with a safe opportunity to heal from trauma without fear that disclosure and discussion will carry negative consequences. It also provides girls with opportunities for success in which they can produce something of value to themselves and those around them.

The fact that girls develop differently than boys has been well documented. Accordingly, every stage of the juvenile justice system should be guided by girls' development and the unique needs of girls: foster-care, probation, detention, placement, and re-entry must all be gender responsive.

The Girls' Justice Initiative is committed to disseminating resources to assist advocates in developing gender responsive practices and improving the quality of justice for girls.