March | April 2017

OJJDP Prioritizes Strengthening Agency Relationships With the States

On March 13, 2017, OJJDP Acting Administrator Eileen M. Garry addressed a meeting of Maryland’s State Advisory Group (SAG), 1 of 56 advisory groups across the country that are responsible for monitoring and supporting their state's progress in addressing the core protections of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act. The Act establishes federal standards for a minimal level of safety and equitable treatment for youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system.

“Let me underscore that OJJDP is here to assist you,” said Ms. Garry. “From providing national leadership on juvenile justice issues to supporting vital programs through technical assistance to setting standards for protecting our youth. Our purpose is to support your efforts and to help you succeed.”

Acting Administrator Garry emphasized that OJJDP has recently begun a focused effort to establish and strengthen direct relationships between OJJDP and SAGs. Since 2016, OJJDP leadership and staff from the Office’s State and Community Development Division have visited or met with 10 SAGs. These meetings are the first wave in a multiyear plan to visit with each of the nation’s SAGs. This national outreach effort includes webinars and trainings for SAG members to increase collaboration and enhance compliance nationwide.

left quoteMy first priority is to provide outstanding customer service. To do this, we need to hear from you.right quote

—Eileen M. Garry, OJJDP Acting Administrator

Garry also discussed OJJDP’s proposed rule published in the Federal Register last August that aims to eliminate subjectivity in compliance determinations. The most significant change in the current regulation centers on the new compliance standards for deinstitutionalization of status offenders, separation, and jail removal requirements.

On January 17, the Office published the final partial rule, which had been informed by more than 300 comments from 71 stakeholders during the open comment period. Implementation was on hold as a result of a White House executive order issued on January 20, and the partial rule is now under internal review by the Department. Our Office anticipates that it will be approved for implementation soon. “OJJDP will issue notification to the field as soon as updated information becomes available,” Garry said.

In anticipation of enactment of the partial rule, OJJDP recently updated the document, Monitoring of State Compliance With the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. This document outlines the information states and territories must submit to demonstrate compliance with the core protections. “Providing clarity through our compliance manual and regulation is one way we are working with states to improve their ability to comply with the core requirements,” Garry said.

“The U.S. Department of Justice continues to support reauthorization of the JJDP Act, which established OJJDP to administer funding to and support local and state efforts to prevent delinquency and improve the juvenile justice system,” Garry said. “Its reauthorization would help strengthen our ability to support state efforts.” The Act was last reauthorized in 2002.

Acting Administrator Garry also highlighted the Changing Minds national public awareness campaign—a joint effort of the Justice Department, OJJDP, and partners—that provides adults with easy and accessible strategies to help children recover from trauma caused by exposure to violence. SAG members had previewed the campaign’s website and voiced their appreciation for its resources, notably the two videos that tell the stories of youth who were exposed to violence and the adults that helped them heal.


State Advisory Groups are welcome to contact OJJDP staff at the following e-mail addresses:

Robin Delany-Shabazz, Associate Administrator, State and Community Development Division:
[email protected].

Jennifer Yeh, Deputy Associate Administrator, State and Community Development Division:
[email protected].

Contact information for all states’ SAG chairs, compliance monitors, disproportionate minority contact coordinators, and other officials responsible for compliance with the JJDP Act is available on the OJJDP website.