Securing Federal Resources for Juvenile Justice Reform

The federal government plays a vital role in protecting children in the juvenile justice system and helping to ensure they get the resources and attention they need to exit the Cradle to Prison Pipeline™ and enter the pipeline to college, work and a successful adulthood. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) is specifically tasked with “strengthening the nation’s juvenile justice system and supporting prevention and early intervention programs that can make a difference for young people and their communities.”

In monitoring OJJDP and other federal juvenile justice efforts, CDF is engaged in the following

Reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) is Long Overdue

First passed in 1974, the JJDPA provides guidance and funding for states to make improvements to their juvenile justice systems and delinquency prevention programs, and requires states to address the over-incarceration of minority children. The JJDPA has been awaiting reauthorization since 2007 and CDF has worked with other advocacy groups to strengthen state requirements and spur greater juvenile justice reform efforts.

Federal Funding for Juvenile Justice Reform Must Be Protected

CDF works to ensure adequate federal funding for juvenile justice programming, which includes supporting local delinquency prevention programs as well as state-wide juvenile justice activities that comply with JJDPA standards. Unfortunately, juvenile justice programming funding was cut and decreased from $423.6 million in fiscal year 2010 to $276 million in 2011. The loss of federal juvenile justice funding often results in delinquency prevention programs closing their doors to at-risk youths, as federal grant opportunities decrease. President Obama’s 2012 budget proposed juvenile justice funding levels at $280 million. The President’s budget proposal would increase formula funding to states that comply with the JJDPA (View OJJDP's Formula Grants Program Summary), but cut the block grants that monitor state juvenile justice activities (See the Juvenile Accountability Block Grants Summary), as well as mentoring programs.

Partnering with the National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition

The National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition (NJJDPC) is a group of over 50 children’s advocacy, social justice, law enforcement, corrections, and faith-based organizations working to ensure healthy families, build strong communities and improve public safety by promoting fair and effective policies, practices and programs for youths involved or at risk of becoming involved in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. CDF is a member of the NJJDPC and part of the JJDPA reauthorization working group, Act4JJ.