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OJJDP News @ a Glance April 2024

News In Brief

Office of Justice Programs Requests $407 Million for Youth Justice Programs in FY 2025
The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) presented its fiscal year 2025 budget request on March 12, requesting more than $5.5 billion in funding for assistance to state, local, and Tribal partners to advance community safety, build community trust, and strengthen the role communities play in promoting safety and justice. The proposed budget includes $2.5 billion to support OJP discretionary programs, including $407 million designated specifically for juvenile justice programs, to be distributed by OJJDP. 

“A big theme you’ll see running through the budget is a focus on communities—recognizing the vital role that community organizations and community leaders play in public safety, in partnership with police, prosecutors, courts and corrections agencies,” Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Solomon said during a briefing for stakeholders.

The proposed OJJDP budget includes a $3 million request to fund the Collaborative Reform for Juvenile Justice program, a new initiative to provide technical assistance and support to help states and localities address emergencies in their juvenile justice systems. Other requests include:

  • $107 million for youth mentoring programs. Mentoring is at the core of OJJDP’s programming, because a relationship with a trusted mentor can change a young person’s life for the better. 
  • $65 million for the Delinquency Prevention program. This includes $6.5 million for the Justice and Healing of Girls program, to reduce risk factors and promote protective factors among girls who come in contact with the juvenile justice system. It also includes $18 million for the Tribal Youth Program, to fulfill OJJDP’s longstanding commitment to supporting strong, healthy communities for Native youth, their families, and Tribes. 
  • $75 million for the Formula Grants program. Formula grants go directly to states and territories, which decide for themselves where to apply the awards. Funding can be used to support a variety of services for youth, including job training, mental health and substance use treatment, community-based prevention and intervention programs, and school programs to prevent truancy.

OJP Congressional Open House Highlights Agency Work and Impact
Leaders from the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) participated in a panel discussion and meet-and-greet with congressional staff in Washington, DC, on March 26 for the OJP Congressional Open House to discuss OJP’s mission, funding opportunities, and initiatives to promote safer communities.

“New congressional staff may be unfamiliar with OJJDP, our mission, and our priorities,” OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan said. “OJP’s Congressional Open House is a great opportunity for meaningful discussion and relationship building. It’s truly energizing.”

OJP invited each of the 535 congressional offices to attend. The event showcased the impact of OJP’s work, funding opportunities, grantee success stories, and OJP resources, such as OJJDP’s Statistical Briefing Book, Model Programs Guide, and a publication describing OJJDP’s priorities.

Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Solomon moderated a panel discussion featuring leaders from the six OJP program offices: OJJDP Administrator Ryan, Bureau of Justice Assistance Director Karhlton F. Moore, Bureau of Justice Statistics Acting Director Kevin M. Scott, Ph.D., National Institute of Justice Director Nancy La Vigne, Ph.D., Office for Victims of Crime Director Kristina Rose, and Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking Director the Hon. Helena Heath. 

Coordinating Council Members Offer Support for OJJDP’s Continuum of Care Framework 
The Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention met April 10, 2024, to learn about OJJDP’s Continuum of Care for Communities—a framework for understanding the broad array of youth justice programs and services needed to prevent delinquency and the further progression of youth into the juvenile justice system—and discuss ways that its work can support this model. 

OJJDP is using the continuum to help communities identify service gaps and allocate resources needed to prevent youth from becoming further involved in the system, but the approach can also serve as a critical tool to guide the Council’s activities and recommendations, said OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan. The framework can be used by the Council to coordinate youth justice activities across federal agencies, identify opportunities for youth that may not yet exist, and realign federal investment toward prevention and early intervention.

“I’m very excited about this new initiative. We believe it’s the way forward in serving at-risk and justice-involved youth from all of our sectors, and we’re looking forward to taking this model to scale,” Amy L. Solomon, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs, told the Council. 

Following a break, the Council considered 16 recommendations for its 2024 report to the President and Congress developed by the members of its two subcommittees. The subcommittees crafted the list from approximately 100 recommendations the Council collected from youth, practitioners, federal staff, and the public between October 2022 and December 2023. After an initial discussion, Council members prioritized recommendations calling for improved access for justice-involved youth to community-based services, culturally relevant mental health treatment, and post-secondary education and training. Other high-priority recommendations address the need for trauma-responsive services and greater investment in prevention. 

The subcommittees will continue to refine the draft recommendations ahead of a Council vote scheduled for its June 2024 meeting. Visit the Council website to access notes, presentations, a list of draft recommendations, and a recording of the April meeting. 

New Training Resources Promote Trauma-Informed Approaches to Child-Parent Visits 
For children whose parents are incarcerated, visits to the jail or prison are important to maintaining the parent-child relationship. Strong family connections are critical to a child’s health and well-being, but facility visits can be stressful for both the children and their parents, emphasizing their separation and stirring up a range of emotions.

A new 20-minute video, Creating Conditions that Promote Safety, Healing, and Growth in Child-Parent Visits, is designed to help corrections staff and volunteers integrate trauma-informed approaches to strengthen parent-child relationships and minimize the potential for further stress. The film discusses steps corrections facilities can take to support parent-child visits, including training staff to work with children affected by trauma, creating a script to explain the visitation process to children, providing a child-friendly environment, and working with community partners that support families with incarcerated parents. An accompanying discussion guide includes questions intended to spark conversations among staff and promote skill-building and understanding.

The resources are intended to promote a healthy environment that supports safety, healing, and growth. Both were developed for OJJDP by the American Institutes for Research.

Date Created: April 23, 2024