May | June 2019

Implementing the Juvenile Justice Reform Act

Thumbnail of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act of 2018 bookletCongress enacted the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act in 1974. This landmark legislation established OJJDP to support local and state efforts to prevent delinquency and improve the juvenile justice system. In December 2018, the Juvenile Justice Reform Act (JJRA) of 2018 was signed into law, reauthorizing and substantially amending the JJDP Act. The JJRA becomes effective on October 1, 2019.

JJRA grants the OJJDP Administrator the authority to increase the minimum allocation to states participating in the Formula Grants program, adds program areas states may support with formula grant funds, and includes new protections for youth who are charged and tried as adults. The Act also adds more stringent requirements for detaining low-level, nonviolent offenders who have violated a court order.

The statute replaces the term “adequate” with “effective” to describe the compliance monitoring universe; however, the statute does not define “effective.” To ensure the safety and well-being of justice-involved youth, OJJDP has seized this opportunity to review what has worked in monitoring facilities and what needs improvement, and will promulgate a rule defining an effective monitoring system.

OJJDP continues to carefully review changes to the legislation, and the Office is committed to sharing implementation resources with the field in a timely manner. The following resources are now available on the OJJDP website:

  • The 2018 JJRA redline allows users to closely track changes implemented by the new law.
  • A new fact sheet describes the major components of the JJRA, including the effective application date, definition of terms, annual reporting requirements, state allocations, state plan requirements, and the status of funds not allocated due to state noncompliance.

OJJDP will soon make available a video titled “Implementing the Juvenile Justice Reform Act,” which will offer an overview of the key JJRA provisions and OJJDP’s activities to inform the field about the JJRA. Additional outreach to inform the field about the JJRA provisions has included an e-blast to more than 20,000 listserv subscribers in January, a webinar for Title II grantees in February, and overviews presented at meetings of the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice and the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference in March. OJJDP will continue to inform the field through additional webinars, meetings, conferences, and other activities.

“OJJDP takes its obligation to support the field very seriously, and we are committed to making this transition both simple and successful,” said Administrator Caren Harp. “OJJDP will continue to help states prepare for the changes to this vital program.”


View the amended JJDP Act.

Visit the Office’s JJDP Act core requirements compliance webpage.