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OJJDP News @ a Glance March 2024

News In Brief

Youth and Community Involvement Crucial to Justice Transformation, Administrator Liz Ryan Says

OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan underscored the importance of "targeted programs, informed policies, and lots of partnerships" in remarks given on March 18 at the National Conference on Juvenile Justice in Cleveland, OH. Sponsored by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the annual conference is intended for professionals working to improve the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

Administrator Ryan spoke enthusiastically about progress toward a more responsive and equitable youth justice system. Continuums of care will promote that momentum and should be one of the field’s first areas of focus, she said.

"If we want to keep young people in their communities, with their families, we need to ensure that communities have a broad array of youth justice programs and services to meet the needs of different populations," the Administrator said. Youth at risk for delinquency need prevention programs, while intervention programs help disrupt system involvement, and targeted reentry programs assist youth transitioning back to the community. 

Several OJJDP senior policy advisors offered workshops. Julia Alanen participated in Achieving Debt Free Justice: New Federal Guidance and Your Role in Eliminating Harmful Fees/Fines, speaking about recent Justice Department guidance on court-imposed fines and fees. Such costs often lead to debt for families and exacerbate inequities and youth recidivism. The Justice Department guidance instructs courts to automatically presume that justice-involved youth are indigent and unable to pay fines and fees.

In Youth Crime Trends: What Do the Data and Research Tell Us for Policy Implications?, Andrea Coleman presented research and data on trends in youth crime from the last 30 years, how such trends impact policy, and strategies that have contributed to decreases in youth crime. She was joined by Charles Puzzanchera, senior research associate from the National Center for Juvenile Justice.

During A Continuum of Care Approach to Effectively Serving High Risk Youth and their Families, Scott Pestridge spoke about OJJDP’s continuum of care framework for serving families and youth. Mr. Pestridge also presented OJJDP’s Preventing Youth Hate Crimes and Identity-Based Bullying initiative during a session titled, Preventing Youth Hate Crimes and Identity-Based Bullying: A Compendium of OJJDP Resources and Strategies. He was joined by Lisa Jones, a research professor of psychology from the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes against Children Research Center, whose research on hate crimes by youth was funded by the National Institute of Justice.


OJJDP’s Fiscal Year 2024 Funding Season Opens

OJJDP has released the first of its funding opportunities for fiscal year (FY) 2024, with more to be announced in the coming weeks. The Office awards competitive grants to states, localities, Tribal jurisdictions, and organizations to protect children, prevent and respond to delinquent behavior by youth, and transform the juvenile justice system. The FY 2024 grants will benefit diverse youth populations, including those at risk for victimization and juvenile justice system involvement, young people returning to their communities after confinement, those affected by the opioid epidemic and substance misuse, and youth from Tribal communities.

Solicitations that have been announced to date include:

Funding opportunities will be added to OJJDP’s funding page as they become available. The Department of Justice website includes a searchable list of all funding opportunities that OJJDP is planning to release this year. There are two application deadlines for each funding opportunity—one for initiating the application in Grants.gov and another approximately 14 days later for finalizing the application in JustGrants. OJJDP’s website includes a step-by-step overview of the grant application process.

To receive email announcements about upcoming funding opportunities and related webinars, subscribe to OJJDP’s JUVJUST listserv.


April Coordinating Council Meeting To Focus on OJJDP’s New Continuum of Care Framework

The Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention will meet April 10 in Washington, DC, to learn about OJJDP’s new Continuum of Care initiative and discuss the possibility of aligning Council recommendations with a continuum of care framework.

In the context of delivering youth justice services, a continuum of care framework employs a broad array of programming, ranging from early prevention programs for young children and youth who are at risk of delinquency or victimization to intervention programs serving young people confined in secure residential settings. OJJDP is using the approach to help communities prevent youth from becoming further involved in the juvenile justice system and to improve community safety. (Read this month’s feature article on the initiative.)

Coordinating Council members also will discuss recommendations for the Council’s 2024 report to Congress. The meeting is open to the public; registration information is available on the Council website.


Guides Help Practitioners Support Youth Who Identify as LGBTQ2S+  

Three new tip sheets from the Pride Justice Resource Center offer steps for youth justice providers to follow when working with young people who identify as LGBTQ2S+ and their family members. The guides are intended to ensure respect for youth rights and needs and to promote a more equitable juvenile justice system. 

Supporting Family Members of LGBTQ2S+ Young People suggests ways to support family members who are in distress about a child’s LGBTQ2S+ identity, to help them understand how they can affirm the child. The document also includes a list of supportive groups. 

Steps outlined in Supporting LGBTQ2S+ Families include undergoing cultural competency training, creating inclusive policies, using culturally sensitive language, and respecting stated names and pronouns.

The Importance of Judges Knowing a Youth’s LGBTQ2S+ Identity and the Outcomes of LGBTQ2S+ Youth in the Juvenile Justice System explains why judges should pay attention to the unique needs of youth who identify as LGBTQ2S+ and to the court’s outcome data for them. Such awareness is essential to providing tailored services, promoting inclusivity, and addressing systemic disparities, and can help judges make more informed decisions about placement and rehabilitation services. 

The Pride Justice Resource Center launched in 2023 to provide training and technical assistance for youth justice practitioners and improve outcomes for justice-involved youth. It is funded by OJJDP and supported by the Coalition for Juvenile Justice and the Gault Center.

Date Created: March 27, 2024