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Authorizing Legislation

Congress enacted the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act (Pub. L. No. 93-415, 42 U.S.C. § 5601 et seq.) in 1974. This landmark legislation established OJJDP to support local and state efforts to prevent delinquency and improve juvenile justice systems.

In November 2002, Congress reauthorized the JJDP Act. The reauthorization (the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act, Pub. L. No. 107-273, 116 Stat. 1758) supported OJJDP's established mission while introducing important changes that streamlined the Office's operations and brought a sharper focus to its role. The provisions of the reauthorization took effect in FY 2004 (October 2003). 

In December 2018, the Juvenile Justice Reform Act (JJRA) of 2018 was signed into law, reauthorizing and substantially amending the JJDP Act. The amendments made by the JJRA became effective in FY 2020 (October 1, 2019). Review the amended JJDP Act and the redlined JJDP Act publication, which allows users to see and track changes implemented by the new law. 

However, some provisions of the Act will become effective at a later date (see state plan requirements). Detailed information about the current regulations for the OJJDP Formula Grants program is contained in the OJJDP Formula Grant Regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 31, Subpart A.

Read more about the Key Amendments to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act Made by the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018

Information is available to assist states in monitoring and achieving compliance with the core requirements specified in the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.

JJDP Act Legislative Timeline*  

The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) of 1974 was signed into law (Pub. L. No. 93-415, 42 U.S.C. 5601 et seq.) on September 7, 1974.

  • The JJDPA created an Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) within the DOJ Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) now the Office of Justice Programs.
  • Created the Title II Formula Grants program.
  • Established the Sight and Sound Separation core requirement.
  • Established the deinstitutionalization of status offenders (DSO) core requirement.
  • Created the inter-agency Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

1977 - JJDPA modified (Pub. L. No. 95-115) with the following amendments:

  • Increased and expanded requirements for DSO and sight and sound separation core requirements.
  • Emphasized prevention and treatment.
  • Provided that 5% of minimum allotment be made available to State Advisory Groups (SAGs).

1980 - JJDPA modified (Pub. L. No. 96-509) with the following amendments:

  • Adopted valid court order (VCO) exception to DSO core requirement.
  • Established OJJDP as a separate entity within the new DOJ Office of Justice Assistance, Research and Statistics and removing it from under the LEAA.

1984 - JJDPA modified (Pub. L. No. 98-473) with the following amendments:

  • Created the Office of Justice Programs within DOJ to replace the Office of Justice Assistance, Research and Statistics.
  • Enhanced and amended the Jail Removal and DSO core requirements by further defining the VCO Exception and providing more details for the Rural Exception.
  • The Missing Children's Assistance Act was added as Title IV under the JJDPA and called for the creation of a national toll-free line to report information regarding the location of a missing child and established a national resource center and clearinghouse to provide technical assistance to law enforcement, families and other stakeholders in locating and recovering missing children.

1988 - JJDPA modified (Pub. L. No. 100-690) with the following amendments:

  • Added a requirement for States to submit a plan to address the overrepresentation of minorities in secure detention/correctional facilities, jails and lockups. (i.e., Disproportionate Minority Confinement).
  • Established a new (under Part D) program to provide prevention and treatment programs relating to youth gangs, drug abuse, and drug trafficking.

1992 - JJDPA modified (Pub. L. No. 102-586) with the following amendments:

  • Amended DSO, jail removal, and separation core requirements.
  • Elevated DMC to a core requirement.
  • Established Title V - Incentive Grants for Local Delinquency Prevention Programs to support delinquency prevention programs and activities for youth who have had or are at risk of contact with the juvenile justice system.
  • Emphasized prevention and treatment, family strengthening, graduated sanctions, and risk/need assessments. 

2002 - JJDPA modified (Pub. L. No. 107-273) with the following amendments:

  • Broadened the scope of the DMC core requirement from "disproportionate minority confinement" to "disproportionate minority contact".
  • Reauthorized Title II Formula Grants Program. 

2018 - The Juvenile Justice Reform Act (JJRA) of 2018 was signed into law (Pub. L. No. 115-385), reauthorizing and substantially amending the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 on December 21, 2018.

  • The JJRA added program areas that states may support with Title II formula grant funds, including, 
    1. legal representation for juveniles; 
    2. informing juveniles of the opportunity for records expungement and sealing, and providing them with assistance; 
    3. addressing the needs of girls in or at risk of entering the juvenile justice                 system; and 
    4. monitoring for compliance with core requirements and providing training and         technical assistance on the core requirements to secure facilities.

Also see the PDF version of the legislative timeline. 

Related Legislation

In addition to the JJDP Act, other pieces of legislation are relevant to OJJDP and its policies and priorities; several are listed below. The United States Government Publishing Office (GPO) govinfo website provides free public access to official publications from all three branches of the federal government. Search for public and private laws enacted from the 104th Congress to the present on the govinfo website.

  • The Adoption Promotion Act of 2003 (Pub. L. No. 108-145).
  • Runaway, Homeless, and Missing Children Protection Act (Pub. L. No. 108-096).
  • Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (Pub. L. No. 108-79).
  • Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (Title I, Pub. L. No. 108-036).
  • PROTECT Act (Pub. L. No. 108-021).
  • No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Pub. L. No. 107-110).
  • Violence Against Women Act of 2000 (Division B, Pub. L. No. 106-386).
  • Strengthening Abuse and Neglect Courts Act of 2000 (Pub. L. No. 106-314).
  • Immigration Services and Infrastructure Improvements Act (Title II, Pub. L. No. 106-313).
  • Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act (Title XXXVI, Pub. L. No. 106-310).
  • Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act of 1998 (Pub. L. No. 105-314).
  • Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act, Title I (Part R, Chapter 46, Subchapter XII-F) Juvenile Accountability Block Grants.
  • Victims of Child Abuse Act Reauthorization Act of 2018 (Pub. L. No. 115-424).


*This list is not comprehensive.