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OJJDP News @ a Glance April 2024

OJJDP's Continuum of Care Framework Spans Prevention, Intervention, Treatment, and Reentry Strategies

OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan traveled to Harrisburg, PA, on April 11 to present OJJDP’s Continuum of Care for Communities framework and to announce recipients of funding awarded under the fiscal year 2023 Building Local Continuums of Care To Support Youth Success initiative. Local youth justice stakeholders joined members of the press for the event. In all, OJJDP is awarding $17.1 million in funding to 26 grantees—including 6 states, 17 local jurisdictions, and 3 providers of training and technical assistance.

Continuum of Care Announcement on April 11, 2024 - OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan
Administrator Liz Ryan, in Harrisburg, PA, to announce recipients of OJJDP funding under the FY 2023 Building Local Continuums of Care To Support Youth Success initiative.

“Our Continuum of Care framework emphasizes evidence-based and promising programs and practices, so that young people can access the resources and services where they live and at every point in the juvenile justice system,” Administrator Ryan said. “It takes a holistic approach, spanning prevention, intervention, treatment, and reentry strategies.” 

Administrator Ryan also introduced OJJDP’s Continuum of Care for Communities infographic (above), which illustrates the framework and its array of services. It centers on youth, families, and communities, and reflects the dynamic, evolving nature of their needs, beginning with protecting and supporting children who are risk for becoming involved in delinquency or for being victimized.

“OJJDP’s continuum of care framework makes sense,” Administrator Ryan said. “Serving youth well—responding to their needs and offering them options and opportunities—strengthens communities and contributes to public safety.” 

During the event, Administrator Ryan officially announced the names of two continuum of care grantees in Pennsylvania—the state’s Commission on Crime and Delinquency and the City of Philadelphia—saying they have “extraordinary” plans to advance OJJDP’s goals and strengthen continuums of care in the state.

Lisa Varon, Deputy Director of Juvenile Justice Initiatives in Philadelphia’s Office of Criminal Justice, presented Philadelphia’s Continuum of Care Planning Project, an initiative supporting the decarceration of young people and expansion of services for those who are reentering the community after incarceration or who are at risk for system involvement. With OJJDP support, the city’s Office of Policy and Strategic Initiatives for Criminal Justice and Public Safety is working with youth, their families, and other stakeholders to map community-based prevention and intervention services and programs and develop inclusive methods to access them. Ultimately, the project aims to eliminate ineffective and redundant services, and strategically reinvest cost savings in diversion, prevention, and intervention programs that support youth success.

"This award comes at an opportune time with renewed commitment from city leadership to ensure that our juvenile justice system is effective, equitable, restorative, and—most of all, as Administrator Ryan just said—based in what the research tells us is best for our kids and our families," Ms. Varon said.  

Mike Pennington, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, introduced the Supporting Youth Success in Pennsylvania Statewide Planning & Assessment Initiative, a partnership between the commission and the WestEd Justice and Prevention Research Center. The initiative is using OJJDP funding to design, implement, and sustain local, coordinated continuums of care and opportunity for youth who are system-involved or at risk for system involvement, beginning with a comprehensive review of Pennsylvania’s youth-serving infrastructure. The process emphasizes communities with high levels of need and limited resources, guided by principles the state has embraced in its efforts to reform the juvenile justice system—balanced and restorative justice. In his remarks, Mr. Pennington spoke about Pennsylvania’s emphasis on partnerships to address youth needs and promote equity in the juvenile justice system.

"The funding announced today will further build on those efforts by coordinating a long-term plan for the broader ecosystem of justice, behavioral health, education, work force, public health, and other youth-serving systems," he said. "It's going to take more than one agency and one sector or one program to address these challenges. The growing needs of youth coupled with the strains on youth-serving systems point to a need for all of us to work together to better support young people, families, and communities." 

Date Created: April 23, 2024