July | August 2019

News From the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice
Seal of the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice

The July 15, 2019, meeting of the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice (FACJJ) featured reports from newly created FACJJ subcommittees on their efforts to ensure compliance with the Juvenile Justice Reform Act (JJRA) of 2018, increase state advisory groups’ (SAGs’) access to informational resources, and more effectively meet the needs of at-risk youth in rural areas.

In her introductory remarks, OJJDP Administrator Caren Harp reported that she has invited representatives from the Department of Education’s Title I funding programs to participate in OJJDP’s State Relations and Assistance Division National Training Conference in Kansas City, MO, in September. “The Title I programs address the needs of at-risk youth, the same population as OJJDP’s Title II [Formula Grants] programs,” said Administrator Harp. “There’s a huge opportunity for SAGs to partner. I’ve asked the Department of Education folks to come to the September meeting and talk about Title I funding and areas we can be partnering in, including corrections, reentry, prevention, and school intervention.” TeNeane Bradford, head of OJJDP’s State Relations and Assistance Division, added that representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Runaway and Homeless Youth program will also attend the September conference to share information about that program and resources available to SAGs.

Judge David HejmanowskiDavid Hejmanowski is a judge in the Delaware County (OH) Probate/Juvenile Court, where he previously served as a juvenile/probate magistrate and juvenile court administrator. He is an instructor at the Ohio Supreme Court Judicial College, where he teaches juvenile and family law, among other topics. He also worked as an assistant prosecuting attorney in the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office. Among other professional activities, Judge Hejmanowski is a member of the Ohio Judicial Conference Juvenile Law and Procedure Committee, the Governor’s Council on Juvenile Justice, and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges’ Curriculum Committee. Judge Hejmanowski was chair of the Delaware County Bar Association’s Juvenile Committee from 2006 to 2015. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hiram College and a law degree from Ohio State University., Chair of the Subcommittee on Compliance With the Juvenile Justice Reform Act, said the group has been working to help OJJDP draft regulations pertinent to the JJRA. The Act replaces the term “adequate” with “effective” to describe state systems that monitor for compliance with the core requirements; however, the statute does not define “effective.” The JJRA also imposes additional requirements for the use of the valid court order exception, which allows judges to issue detention orders in status offense cases if youth have violated a valid court order. The Act states that “a second or subsequent order” may not be issued, and Judge Hejmanowski noted that states have been requesting clarification of that term. OJJDP will promulgate rules defining an “effective” system of monitoring and “a second or subsequent order.”

The Subcommittee on Educating the Field, headed by Anthony PierroAnthony Pierro is Chief Juvenile Attorney in the Ocean County (NJ) Prosecutor’s Office, where he previously served as chief of special litigation and director of the Community Relations Unit as well as assistant prosecutor. The New Jersey Governor appointed Mr. Pierro to New Jersey’s SAG in 2014. Mr. Pierro is a member of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform’s Juvenile Prosecutors Leadership Network, New Jersey Juvenile Prosecutors Leadership Network, New Jersey Council on Juvenile Justice System Improvement, Ocean County Council on Juvenile Justice System Improvement, and Ocean County Youth Services Commission. He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Seton Hall University and a law degree from New England Law/Boston., has been working to develop an online “gateway” to information, resources, and training for practitioners who are new to the juvenile justice field. “We want to make sure that anyone entering the juvenile justice [field can] . . . access the information they need to become familiar with all the work we do in juvenile justice.” He added that the subcommittee aims to develop a basic training program for juvenile justice professionals that “will be available to anyone . . . at any time.”

Kathryn RichtmanKathryn Richtman is Director of the Ramsey County (MN) Attorney’s Juvenile Division, which is responsible for the diversion and prosecution of all of the county’s delinquency cases. She previously served as assistant Scott County attorney and as a judicial law clerk in the First Judicial District. She is a co-chair of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association’s Juvenile Law Committee and a member of the Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force, the Ramsey County Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, and the Ramsey County Safe Harbors for Youth Planning Committee. Ms. Richtman has served more than 10 years as a member of Minnesota’s SAG. She received the Advocates for Human Rights Special Recognition Award in 2012 and the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office Special Achievement Award in 2008. Ms. Richtman received a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Minnesota and a law degree from William Mitchell College of Law., head of the Subcommittee on Special Topics, reported that the group has identified addressing the needs of at-risk youth in rural areas as a major priority. According to Ms. Richtman, the group met with Betty-Ann Bryce, a special advisor on rural issues at the Office of National Drug Control Policy, who offered to provide specialized trainings to SAGs on meeting the challenges of poverty and drug abuse in rural communities. The subcommittee offered a range of recommendations to OJJDP, including increasing rural communities’ access to opportunities to apply for federal funding, providing training and technical assistance to ensure the sustainability of grant-funded programs, expanding OJJDP collaboration with other federal agencies serving youth and families in rural areas, and designating an OJJDP go-to person for information and resources on rural issues.

OJJDP has restructured the FACJJ to enable the Office to better meet its mandate of responding to states’ concerns and addressing emerging issues in the juvenile justice field. The streamlined committee consists of 14 SAG members who represent diverse perspectives, subject-matter expertise, and geographic locations. Joseph VignatiJoseph Vignati is Assistant Commissioner/Chief of Staff at the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, where his previous service included work as deputy commissioner. In his earlier years at the Department of Juvenile Justice, Mr. Vignati developed a continuum of privatized alternative services for youth detained in Fulton and Dekalb Counties. From 2008 to 2014, he worked as administrator of the Justice Division at the Governor’s Office for Children and Families. Mr. Vignati also served as deputy director and grants monitor for the Children and Youth Coordinating Council. His grants work included oversight of 65 state and local grant-funded projects. His term as a SAG member began in 2016. Mr. Vignati received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Augusta University and a master’s degree in public administration from Georgia State University. is the FACJJ Chair and Melanie ShapiroMelanie Shapiro is Director of Juvenile Justice Policy for Maryland’s Office of the Public Defender, where she previously served as chief attorney and supervising attorney in the Baltimore City Juvenile Division. As director, she represents the Office during the Maryland legislative session and in joint efforts to improve the juvenile justice system, including participation in Maryland’s SAG, the Work Group to Study Safe Harbor Policy for Youth Victims of Human Trafficking, and the School to Prison Pipeline Commission. She has also developed trainings and policies for the Office’s juvenile defense practice. Ms. Shapiro most recently served on FACJJ from 2016 to 2018. She received a bachelor’s degree in government with a minor in religious studies from Franklin & Marshall College and a law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law. is Vice Chair.

The Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice is a consultative body established by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, as amended (Section 223), and is supported by OJJDP. Composed of members of state advisory groups on juvenile justice, the committee advises the President and Congress on matters related to juvenile justice, evaluates the progress and accomplishments of juvenile justice activities and projects, and advises the OJJDP Administrator on the work of OJJDP.