Competency Development, a principle of Balanced and Restorative Justice, is defined as the process by which juvenile offenders acquire the knowledge and skills that make it possible for them to become productive, connected, and law abiding members of their communities. The role of the juvenile justice system is to facilitate efforts and activities that advance youths’ competencies so they are less likely to take part in anti-social delinquent behaviors. Priority is attached to activities that provide for skill building, strengthening of relationships with law-abiding adults, and contributing to the community. Fostering competencies in youths not only increases their self-esteem, but also assists in reducing behavior that leads to re-offending.
Competency development is viewed from a developmental standpoint. The most effective interventions for reducing recidivism entail helping the youth learn new skills by participating in cognitive behavioral/therapeutic interventions, structured and specific skill-training, and opportunities to practice and demonstrate these new skills.