Research is a vital component of the NCJFCJ’s efforts to improve the lives of children and families. Since its inception in 1973 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the NCJFCJ's research division, the National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ), has been a resource for independent and original research on topics related directly and indirectly to the field of juvenile justice. NCJJ remains the country’s only non-profit research organization concentrating solely on the juvenile justice system and the prevention of juvenile delinquency and child abuse and neglect. 

NCJJ's work looks at the nature of juvenile crime in the United States including occurrence, trends, and victimization, as well as the response of the justice system to these matters. Through empirical research and program evaluations, it works to improve the effectiveness and fairness of juvenile justice system processing, improve the outcomes of its many prevention and intervention programs and guide policy development.

Additional research is conducted on an ongoing basis at the NCJFCJ’s Reno office, providing technical assistance for juvenile and family courts across the nation with a focus on developing best practices in child abuse and neglect cases, court improvement and program evaluation.