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Better Responses to Youth Status Offenses November 12, 2013. MARIE WILLIAMS | Coalition for Juvenile Justice ANNIE SALSICH | Vera Institute of Justice TARA GRIESHOP-GOODWIN | Kentucky Youth Advocates. Photo: Jen Pagonis (_ pidge ). Leads a national movement

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better responses to youth status offenses november 12 2013

Better Responses to Youth Status OffensesNovember 12, 2013

MARIE WILLIAMS | Coalition for Juvenile Justice

ANNIE SALSICH | Vera Institute of Justice

TARA GRIESHOP-GOODWIN | Kentucky Youth Advocates

Photo: Jen Pagonis (_pidge)

slide2

Leads a national movement

  • State-based juvenile justice coalitions and organizations (43 members in 33 states)
  • Laws, policies and practices that are fair, equitable and developmentally appropriate for all children, youth and families

Photo: Moriza

slide3

A nationwide coalition of State Advisory Groups (SAGs) and allies.

  • Dedicated to:
    • preventing children and youth from becoming involved in the courts and
    • upholding the highest standards of care when youth are charged with wrongdoing and enter the justice system. 

Photo: Moriza

slide4

Our Speakers

Marie Williams

Acting Executive Director

Coalition for Juvenile Justice

Annie Salsich

Director, Center on Youth Justice

Vera Institute of Justice

Tara Grieshop-Goodwin

Chief Policy Officer

Kentucky Youth Advocates

slide5

More Harm Than Good:

Developing National Standards to Address Needs of Youth Charged with Status Offenses

More Harm Than Good:

Developing National Standards to Address Needs of Youth Charged with Status Offenses

why status offender reform
Why Status Offender Reform?

Major Goals

  • Support CJJ’s longtime formal position on prohibiting detention of status offenders
  • Advance in practice, the policy change we seek in JJDPA reauthorization
  • Promote optimal and evidence-based policies and practices across all states to limit court contact and prevent adjudication and detention of youth at risk of being charged as status offenders
deinstitutionalization of status offenders dso core requirement of the jjdpa
One of the Original Core Requirements

Youth charged with status offenses (and youth who are alleged to be dependent, neglected or abused) shall not be placed in secure detention or correctional facilities.

Valid Court Order (VCO) Exception - 1984

Youth charged with status offenses who violate a valid court order may be held in a secure juvenile facility for the period allowable by state/local law.

Deinstitutionalization of Status Offenders(DSO) Core Requirement of the JJDPA
is the valid court order exception still used
The nation is divided:

In all, 28 states and territories prohibit or choose not to use the VCO exception in practice. Of these, 14 have state laws citing prohibitions.

In 2008, 27 of 55 states recorded allowable uses of the VCO exception as part of their JJDPA compliance efforts.

Additionally:

Wyoming is the only state that does not participate in the JJDPA – appears to lock-up many status offenders.

Some non-VCO states are struggling with JJDPA compliance due to detentions of minors in possession of alcohol.

Is the Valid Court Order Exception still used?
is the valid court order exception still used1
Approx. 9,850 VCO-related detention orders are issued annually in the 27 jurisdictions.

Typically a few courts or jurisdictions are responsible for the VCO-related detention orders.

According to OJJDP data from 2007-2008, nearly 60% of all such VCOs occur in 3 states: Arkansas, Kentucky and Washington.

Is the Valid Court Order Exception still used?
nationwide concern about status offender detention
When detained, there are safety concerns:

Nearly 20% of status offenders are placed in living units with youth who have killed someone;

More than 25% reside with felony sex offenders;

Half participate in programming with youth who have been charged with murder and/or rape.

When detained, there are poor outcomes:

Re-offense rates increase;

School engagement and success are diminished;

Emotional, social, familial and other problems are exacerbated.

Nationwide Concern about Status Offender Detention
jjdpa reauthorization push to improve outcomes
Phase-out use of the VCO exceptionto the DSO core requirement;

Prohibit detentionof children under the custody of child protection/child welfare agencies;

Place strict limits on lengths of stayin secure detention for all non-delinquent youth, including status offenders;

Provide funds to enrich the continuum of servicesfor community based and/or family-connected care for status offenders.

JJDPA Reauthorization Push to Improve Outcomes
broad consensus to eliminate all detention for youth charged with status offenses
OJJDP at the U.S. Department of Justice

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee (x2 in legislation)

CJJ, NCJFCJ and more than 380 organizations, including:

The American Bar Association

American Probation and Parole Association

Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators

Fight Crime Invest in Kids

National PTA

Broad Consensus to Eliminate ALL Detention for Youth Charged with Status Offenses
national state and local trends support deinstitutionalization
Preventing non-delinquent children from entering locked facilities where they are housed with more serious offenders;

Reducing out of home placements and incarceration of youth charged with delinquent offenses;

Reducing reliance on secure custody for the full range of juvenile offenders, with community supervision and case management approaches: therapeutic, educational and/or skill-building components;

Family and community-connected services/interventions produce the most positive outcomes for youth development and community safety.

National, State and Local Trends Support Deinstitutionalization
states leading the charge to avoid detention
Recent efforts in VCO states – such as Alabama, Louisiana, Ohio, Utah and Washington – are cutting VCOs by 50% or more with practice changes and alternatives to detention.

Other states have enacted legislative changes to move status offenders away from the delinquency system, such as Connecticut, Georgia, New York and Pennsylvania.

States Leading the Charge to Avoid Detention
overview the sos project
Overview: The SOS Project
  • Three Core Strategies
    • Promote and support judicial leadership
    • Developtools and information to support change
    • Identify, assess and/or develop model policy
partners
Partners
  • Public Welfare Foundation
  • NCJFCJ and NCJJ
  • Vera Institute of Justice
judicial leadership strategy
Judicial Leadership Strategy
  • Identify and elevate examples of judicial leadership on the use of alternatives to court involvement and detention for youth with unmet needs who are charged with status offenses.
  • Provide peer-to-peer support opportunities for judges seeking alternatives to confinement.
  • Distill lessons from judicial leaders on DSO.
positive power
Positive Power
  • Profiled Examples of Judicial Leadership on DSO
  • Focus on:
  • Demand for evidence-based approaches
  • Balancing of interests
  • Reliance on partnerships
  • Use of judicial convening power
model policy strategy
Model Policy Strategy
  • Identify and develop state statutes that effectively divert youth and families from court and confinement and toward family- and community-based services.
  • Analyze, contextualize and measure the effectiveness of current state statutes in achieving the goals of DSO and producing optimal outcomes for youth, families and communities.
national standards development process
National Standards Development Process
  • Phase I - Convening expert advisory group in a consultative role to develop standards for practice.
    • Includes stakeholders from various points of contact with the JJ system, SAG members, representatives from schools, child welfare and law enforcement.
  • Phase II - Developing the standards for addressing the needs of youth charged with status offenses without court involvement.
  • Phase III – Comment and Dissemination to broaden and solidify buy-in and begin to promulgate the Standards in the field.
promoting the use and sustainability of standards
Promoting the Use and Sustainability of Standards

Goal #1

State level change in practice.

Goal #2

State level change in policy.

Goal #3

Ground-up support for federal restoration of the original DSO core requirement, i.e. elimination of the valid court order exception.

overview of the national standards
Overview of the National Standards
  • Introduction
  • Section I: Principles for Responding to

Status Offenses

  • Section II: Efforts to Avoid Court Involvement
  • Section III: Efforts to Limit Court Involvement
  • Section IV: Policy and Legislative Implementation
  • Section V: Definitions
introduction to the national standards
Introduction to the National Standards
  • History of status offenses
  • Overview of recent understanding about status offenses as sometimes symptomatic of complex needs
  • History of DSO core requirement, the VCO and state response
section i
Section I

Principles for Responding to Status Offenses

12 key principles to which professionals can adhere to

protect youth and family well-being. The principles

acknowledge and address the individual, familial and

community contexts in which status offenses may

occur, and underlie all subsequent standards.

section ii
Section II

Efforts to Avoid Court Involvement

Discusses key principles and practices to shape how education, social service, child welfare, runaway and homeless youth, mental/behavioral health, law enforcement and juvenile justice systemsshould first respond to youth and families at risk and in need of immediate assistance. It offers examples of early intervention services that will help the child and family avoid court involvement.

section iii
Section III

Efforts to Limit Court Involvement

Focuses on judicial, legal and other professionals working within the court system, with guidance about how to use the court’s powers to ensure the proper services are implemented while avoiding deeper court involvement. Provides specific guidance at various stages of the case to ensure best outcomes for youth and families.

section iv
Section IV

Legislative, Administrative and Budgetary Policies

Proposes legislative, administrative and budgetary principles and policies that relevant authorities can promote and adopt to reform their current status offense responder systems, and support implementation of the National Status Offense Standards proposed in previous sections.

section v
Section V

Definitions

Common terms referred to in the Standards.

slide29

Beyond Courts to Communities: Better Ways of Responding to Status Offenses November 12, 2013Annie SalsichDirectorCenter on Youth Justice

November 11, 2013

presentation outline

Why status offense reform

  • What system change looks like on the ground
  • How practitioners, policy makers, and advocates can access information, support, and guidance in this area
Presentation Outline
why status offense reform

In 2010, juvenile courts across the country processed 137,000 status offense cases.

  • In 36% of these cases, the most serious allegation was truancy – that’s nearly 50,000 kids taken to court for skipping school.
  • Despite the noncriminal nature of these behaviors, youth in approximately 10,400 cases spent time in detention.
  • In 6,100 cases the court disposition was a longer-term placement in a residential facility .  
Why Status Offense Reform
why status offense reform1

Courts often over-burdened

    • Lack of immediate and appropriate crisis response
  • High financial and social cost of the juvenile justice system, particularly for non-criminal behavior
  • More effective alternatives
Why Status Offense Reform
what system change looks like

A new paradigm has been emerging in many jurisdictions:

    • Connect struggling families with social services in their communities, instead of turning to courts.
  • The MacArthur Foundation supported and encouraged this shift in its Models for Change initiative.
  • Vera has provided technical assistance and research support to more than 30 jurisdictions across the country in this area since 2001.
What System Change Looks Like
what system change looks like1

Effective community-based systems feature the following:

    • Court diversion
    • Immediate response
    • A process to triage and diagnose
    • Services that are accessible and effective
    • Internal assessment
What System Change Looks Like
what system change looks like2

Three Examples from the Field:

  • Florida
  • Calcasieu Parish, LA
  • New York State
What System Change Looks Like
florida

Impetus for Change:

    • Growing recognition that courts and detention were inappropriate for serving runaways and other youth who had not committed crimes
    • Passage of Runaway Youth and Family Act in 1983 created a statewide task force to plan a new system
  • Goal:
    • To strengthen the continuum of services that would serve troubled teens and their families in their communities
  • Reform Champion:
    • Legislature has been a key champion in the reform movement
Florida
florida cont

Reforms:

    • Department of Juvenile Justice contracts with Florida Network of Youth and Family Services to oversee FINS/CINS programs
    • Youth/families can access immediate services from over 30 sites statewide
    • Strong emphasis on quality assurance and accountability
  • Outcomes:
    • 91% of the 14,847 youth served from 2011-2012 were crime free six months after services
    • A 2011 cost effective evaluation found that Florida Network early interventions saved the state $160 million
Florida (cont)
calcasieu parish lousiana

Impetus for Change:

    • Concern about the long length of time between referral and the development of a service plan for FINS youth
  • Goals:
    • To link youth and families to needed services in the community and facilitate immediate access to those services
  • Reform Champion:
    • Calcasieu’s Children and Youth Planning Board (CYPB) took the lead in planning the MARC
      • Engaged in a comprehensive planning process, which included reviewing FINS data, surveying youth and providers, and visiting model sites
Calcasieu Parish, Lousiana
calcasieu parish cont

Reforms:

    • Launched the Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC), a central point of intake for FINS and delinquent youth
    • Emphasis on data tracking and review of case processing times
  • Outcomes:
    • In 2011 (first year of MARC operation), less than 1 percent of referrals resulted in a court petition
    • Time between intake and service plan development has dropped dramatically, from 50 days to 2 hours
    • Since 2006, no youth have been committed to the Office of Juvenile Justice on FINS charges
Calcasieu Parish (cont)
new york state

Impetus for Change:

    • 2001 increase in age of jurisdiction raised concern about increases in court cases and high costs associated with non-secure detention and placement and spurred a closer look at the system as a whole.
  • Goals:
    • To examine how localities were using the status offense system and find effective alternatives to juvenile justice involvement.
  • Reform Champion:
    • The New York State Office of Children and Family Services contracted with the Vera Institute to conduct a study and provide technical assistance to 23 counties over a 3-year period.
New York State
new york state cont

Reforms:

    • Localities across the state set out to (1) divert more PINS youth from the court system and into supportive services in the community and (2) develop community-based alternatives to non-secure detention and placement.
    • Legislative change in 2005 to further encourage the use of court alternatives.
  • Outcomes:
    • Between 2003 and 2012, the state saw a 70% decrease in PINS court petitions.
New York State (cont.)
how to access guidance in this area

Vera’s on-line Status Offense Reform Center

    • Funded and supported by the MacArthur Foundation, as part of its National Resource Center Partnership.
    • Aims to help policymakers and practitioners create effective, community-based responses for keeping youth who commit status offenses out of the juvenile justice system and safely in their homes and communities.
    • Will go live in December – www.statusoffensereform.org
How to access guidance in this area
status offense reform center

Toolkit

    • Step-by-step guide outlining how to undertake a status offense reform effort
  • Library
    • Central repository of information related to status offense behaviors, system responses, and reform efforts
  • SORC Products
    • Notes from the Field
    • Research Briefs
  • Other Features
    • Webinars
    • Podcasts/Videos
    • Blogs
Status Offense Reform Center
kentucky progress on status offenses creating environment for reform

Kentucky Progress on Status Offenses: Creating Environment for Reform

Tara Grieshop-Goodwin

Kentucky Youth Advocates

youth locked up for status offenses
Youth locked up for status offenses

From 2nd to

4th highest

among

50 states

Data reported by Coalition for Juvenile Justice

use of secure detention has dropped in recent years for status offenses
Use of secure detention has dropped in recent years for status offenses

Data from Department of Juvenile Justice and Louisville Metro Youth Detention Services

strategies for creating change
Strategies for creating change
  • Showing the numbers
  • Media work
  • The message
publishing the numbers
Publishing the numbers
  • Numbers of bookings by
  • county
  • Estimated cost by county
the message
The message
  • Avoiding jargon
  • Public safety
  • Cost of secure detention
  • Offering a solution
starting to see success
Starting to see success
  • Family court rules of law
  • Local initiatives
  • Task Force developing recommendations
questions
Questions?

Tara Grieshop-Goodwin

Chief Policy Officer

Kentucky Youth Advocates

[email protected]

502-895-8167 x118

slide53

Contact Info

Marie Williams

Acting Executive Director

Coalition for Juvenile Justice

[email protected]

202-467-0864, ext. 113

Annie Salsich, Director

Center for Youth Justice

Vera Institute of Justice

[email protected]

(212) 376-3169

Tara Grieshop-Goodwin

Chief Policy Officer

Kentucky Youth Advocates

[email protected]

502-895-8167 x118

www.njjn.org

www.juvjustice.org

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