The main trends that I see are ones that are likely to have a negative effect on the juvenile justice system. These are A) the fiscal problems that state and local governments are experiencing and B) the desire on the part of the public for harsher treatment of offenders.
Both of these trends seem likely to cause the juvenile justice system to get worse. The juvenile system's main goal ought to be the rehabilitation of juvenile offenders. The system ought to be geared to helping them get back on the right track to becoming productive members of society. However, this is a goal which needs money to achieve. In our current climate of budget cutting it is likely that less money will be available to help juvenile offenders. At the same time, helping such offenders goes against the public desire for harsher punishment. Instead of a move to help juvenile offenders, we see a greater desire to charge them as adults. When combined with a lack of resources, this trend will make it much harder to create and maintain a juvenile justice system that will give offenders the help they need.