Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $603,387)
The Children and Family Council for Prevention Programs (the State Advisory Group) and the Department for Children and Families (Designated State Agency) submits this solicitation for year one of their FFY 2021 – FFY 2023 state plan. Given all data and experiential evidence, it is clear that all children and youth in Vermont do not have the same opportunities to grow and flourish. The SAG has identified three overarching goals to be addressed from FFY2021-FFY2023 to address those disparities for Vermont youth.
1. Ethnic and Racial Disparities: Eliminate Ethnic and Racial Disparities (ERD) within the juvenile justice system in the State of Vermont by initiating and acting as a catalyst for a combination of direct intervention and primary prevention strategies that achieve this goal.
2. System Improvement: Ensure that Vermont’s justice system treats youth and young adults fairly and provides the greatest possible opportunities for youth and young adults to lead productive lives and contribute to their communities.
3. Youth Services: Reduce delinquency in Vermont by supporting prevention and intervention programs in schools, community-based and other organizations, and state agencies.
The SAG recognizes that systemic and institutionalized racism is clearly pervasive throughout every facet of the juvenile justice system. In addressing these disparities, the SAG’s ethnic and racial disparities committee members have concluded that it is important not just to address the result of disparities within the system, but also to provide prevention services and supports targeting specifically to youth of color youth.
In order to protect the public, hold juvenile offenders accountable, and equip them to live crime-free lives, youth initiatives must incorporate restorative justice, positive youth development practices, and expansion of young adult justice response and early intervention. The state advisory group’s intent is to reduce youth involvement in the juvenile justice system through youth serving programs. They will seek to reduce delinquency in Vermont by supporting prevention and intervention programs in schools, community-based and other organizations, and state agencies.
Vermont’s youth justice system must be based on data-driven, evidence-based practices that properly commensurate the degree of intervention with the risk of re-offense. In fact, if youth interact with the system at all, the justice system must connect youths and young adults to age-appropriate services or risk level. Vermont’s youth justice system must shield youths and emerging adults from the adverse impact of a criminal record and include pre-charge options that keep low-risk offenders out of the system altogether.