Juvenile Justice Reform in Jeopardy, or Headed for a Golden Age?
- The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) may be in trouble, if Congress reauthorizes it without increased funding for states to comply. That could mean that cash-strapped states may opt out, despite its long success and the high marks given to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) for the training and technical assistance it provides to support the JJDPA. What would happen in your state, if the federal allocation was reduced or stayed the same?
Got a great idea for improving outcomes for children, youth, families, and victims who come into contact with the juvenile court? The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) wants to hear from you.
NCJFCJ will hold its annual conference next year on March 27-30, 2011, in Reno, Nevada -- and would like you to submit your presentation proposal between now and September 15, 2010. Proposals will be entertained on a broad range of topics, including child abuse and neglect, mental health, delinquency, family law, domestic violence, and substance abuse.
If you still have questions, contact Diane Barnette via email, or via phone at (775) 784-6012.
Grants from the Bureau of Justice Assistance are now available to "establish or enhance residential substance abuse treatment programs in correctional facilities that include aftercare and recovery supportive services." Grants may be used to treat teens in juvenile detention.
Here's the official description:
FY 2010 Second Chance Act Reentry Demonstration Program Targeting Offenders with Co-occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders Program funds may be used for treating co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders in prison programs, jails, and juvenile detention facilities, providing recovery support services, reentry planning and programming, and post-release treatment and aftercare programming in the community.
Application deadline is June 3, 2010.
(Hat tip to the National Reentry Resource Center.)
Drug use among youth is a serious concern that cannot be solved by punishment. So it’s great to see the juvenile justice field increasingly considering and involving families. For example, the New York Governor’s Task Force on Transforming Juvenile Justice recently published a report that is replete with recommendations underscoring the importance of family. The report, developed with support from my colleagues at Vera’s Center on Youth Justice, reminded me of a comment by Derek Hitchcock of the Michigan Bureau of Juvenile Justice, who said, “We so often institutionalize our kids; any way to get them linking back to the outside is great.”
Vera’s Family Justice Program shares this goal, which helps drive our work with juvenile justice agencies, guiding them as they integrate family-focused, strength-based tools and methods that benefit incarcerated youth.
Sometimes, facility staff resist the idea of working with families, but it usually doesn’t take long before we’re discussing the benefits. I often just have to ask, “Who is the first person to know when a young person has relapsed?” or “When kids succeed, who celebrates with them?” Even if every family member does not provide support to a young person, identifying those individuals who do is important to the youth’s recovery and well-being.
In case you missed it, the National Reentry Resource Center hosted an excellent webinar on juvenile entry last month, featuring David M. Altschuler, Ph.D., principal research scientist at the Institute for Policy Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and Shay Bilchik, founder and director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University Public Policy Institute.
The presentation, titled "Juvenile Reentry in Concept and Practice," defines juvenile reentry; lays out a conceptual framework for thinking about how youth should be reintegrated into the community; identifies the key risk and protective factors that services need to address; how to structure those services; and common obstacles to establishing adequate case management.
You can find a recording of the webinar and download the PowerPoint presentation at the National Reentry Resource Center's web page devoted to juveniles in the justice system.
Other Posts of Interest
The 2010 Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ) conference is fast approaching: it'll be held April 9-13, in Washington, D.C. The theme? "Ensuring School Engagement and Success for Youth At-Risk."
Interested in presenting? CJJ will be selecting twelve 75-minute presentations for the breakout sessions. You can learn more here. Deadline for presentation proposals is February 19th.
Also, we've created a web page about the conference that you can bookmark. It will be updated as more information about registration and the conference agenda becomes available.
In part because of research that indicates that the human brain doesn't fully mature until about age 25, we now know that youth who are "connected by 25" -- have sufficient education, employment skills, and a positive social network -- are likely to be successful in life. But youth without such preparation are likely to struggle, at great cost to themselves and to society.
Anyone in the field of juvenile justice or teen treatment knows that youth who return to the community after a period in a secure residential setting are in for a rough ride. Many return to drugs and crime -- even when aftercare is available.
According Dr. David Altschuler (see photo), it's not surprising that so many youth fail in aftercare, since the skills they must learn in order to succeed in residential care are not the same skills they need to succeed in the community.