The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) held its 2021 State Relations and Assistance Division (SRAD) National Training Conference virtually on November 8–10, 2021. SRAD oversees the distribution of funds under the Title II Formula Grants program.
OJJDP provided critical training to designated state agency representatives, juvenile justice specialists and compliance monitors, state advisory group (SAG) members, and Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice members.
Office of Justice Programs Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Amy Solomon provided opening remarks in which she discussed juvenile justice reform and a system that "enables positive growth and development."
"The phrase 'rare, fair, and beneficial' governs our work at the Office of Justice Programs in the juvenile justice space. We believe that contact with the juvenile justice system should be rare: our goal should be to support most youth in most situations in the community," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Solomon.
One major approach to juvenile justice reform is a focus on youth and community violence. In April 2021, President Biden launched the Community Violence Intervention (CVI) Initiative that deploys trauma-informed and evidence-based approaches to prevent and respond to violence. OJJDP supports efforts to prevent and reduce community violence.
OJJDP Acting Administrator Chyrl Jones discussed how OJJDP prioritizes the CVI initiative in two fiscal year (FY) 2021 funding solicitations: Comprehensive Youth Violence Prevention and Reduction Program, and Strategies To Support Children Exposed to Violence.
Approximately 200 participants engaged in interactive discussions, panels, and workshops. View the full conference agenda. The annual meeting aims to enhance implementation of OJJDP's Title II Formula Grants program and support compliance with the core requirements of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act as amended by the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018 (JJRA). The amendments became effective in FY 2020 (October 1, 2019). Additionally, on June 11, 2021, the Office of Justice Programs amended the Formula Grants Program implementing regulation under Title II, Part B of the JJDP Act.
Conference sessions included:
- Updates from OJJDP national leadership on the latest efforts underway within SRAD.
- Leading With Youth Voice: Co-creating Equitable and Inclusive Systems and Practices for Positive Outcomes.
- Understanding and Rethinking the Racial and Ethnic Disparities (RED) Approach.
- Recommended Practices for Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ+ Youth in the Juvenile Justice System and Reducing System Involvement.
As in previous SRAD conferences, OJJDP emphasized the importance of youth engagement. The Leading With Youth Voice session discussed promoting youth and young adult engagement in program and policy development. A session on young adult SAG members discussed strategies for increasing youth engagement and support, and resources needed to encourage and retain youth members.
OJJDP Associate Administrator TeNeane Bradford detailed SRAD's accomplishments, such as providing technical assistance that includes quarterly webinars for state representatives and training for new SRAD members.
Several conference sessions addressed compliance with the requirements of the JJRA, including:
- Aligning With Section 223(a)(11)(B) of the JJDPA and Monitoring of Court Holding Facilities
- Activating Your Governor’s Report, Membership, and Young Adult Leaders to Move Change
- Strengthening Compliance Manuals: Aligning with the JJDP Act as Amended
- Formula Grants Eligibility and Compliance
To be eligible to receive a formula grant, a state must designate one agency to prepare and administer a comprehensive 3-year juvenile justice and delinquency prevention plan, establish a SAG appointed by the governor or other chief executive officer to provide policy direction, participate in preparing and administering the Formula Grants program plan, and commit to achieve and maintain compliance with the four core requirements of the JJDP Act.
Compliance with the JJDP Act and its four core requirements is a complex, ongoing process of assessment, evaluation, and data gathering.
The four core requirements of the JJDP Act are:
- Deinstitutionalization of status offenders.
- Removal of juveniles from adult jails and detention facilities.
- Separation of juveniles from adults in secure facilities.
- Reduction of disproportionate minority contact within the juvenile justice system.