JJ Monitor
May 2020
Kansas Reforms Focused on Keeping Kids at Home, Providing Supports
In the four years since Kansas enacted strong statewide juvenile justice reforms, the number of youths in out-of-home placements has dropped by 63 percent. During that same time, the state has saved over $30 million from reductions in out-of-home confinement. This money is being reinvested in a wide range of youth and family services in local communities, including Functional Family Therapy, a counseling program that aims to support families with children who are involved in the system, now available statewide.

A growing number of states are using research to help drive system reforms that improve public safety and save taxpayer dollars. In 2016, Kansas leaders, with the help of the Pew Charitable Trusts, engaged in an extensive analysis of data, research and broad input from stakeholder outreach, and reached consensus on reforms the state adopted in law. Among its sweeping changes, the comprehensive reform focused use of out-of-home placements to be used only for youth with the most serious offenses and backgrounds, increased diversion opportunities, limited length of supervision, and reinvested funds in community-based services and other system improvements.

The Pew Charitable Trusts recently released a brief entitled, “ How State Reform Efforts are Transforming Juvenile Justice .” The report explores the steps Kansas and other states have taken to reduce the number of youth removed from their homes and increase the availability of evidence-based services and community-based interventions. In the report, Randy Bowman from the Kansas Department of Corrections spoke about Kansas’ juvenile justice reforms.

“I think we all just realized that kids are better served in their own families and communities and that we needed to do better,” Bowman said when asked what prompted Kansas to start making these large-scale changes. In 2013, Kansas had the sixth highest out-of-home placement of youth in the country, according to Bowman.

Bowman said that Kansas’ original struggle with high out-of-home placements was due to a lack of available data and the inability to understand the meaning of data that showed the downside of high detention and out-of-home placement rates. Courts in Kansas were also not completing and using risk assessments in consistent ways, resulting in many youth assessed as low-risk being detained and sent to group homes or facilities. 

One of the key changes Kansas made was standardizing the administration of its Immediate Intervention Program across the state. Now, most youth charged with misdemeanors with no prior adjudications must be offered the opportunity to participate in this pre-court program; others may be offered this opportunity. Over 88 percent of participants in this revitalized program have successfully finished and had their charges dismissed. 

When asked what he has learned through this process, Bowman replied, “Thinking back, I don’t know if I fully appreciated just how many stakeholders recognized the need for change and wanted it to happen.”

Bowman says that they are continuing to make steady progress and are taking reforms one step at a time. By listening to community groups and youth, along with analyzing existing data, Kansas is starting to better understand young people’s needs.

“Do everything you can to make sure every voice can be heard,” Bowman says. “Those stakeholder roundtables are so important. Let everybody be heard and share the data and research.”

Click here to read the full report. This article is part three of a three-part series on state youth justice reform. Click here for part one, focused on Hawaii, and here for part two, focused on South Dakota.
CJJ Implements New Equity Statement

CJJ is committed to a more just and and equitable system for our youth. As such, CJJ and its board have created and launched an equity statement that reflects our values as an organization.

C oalition for Juvenile Justice is committed to creating more just and equitable outcomes for all youth and children who are involved with or at risk of becoming involved with the juvenile justice system. We continue to work to eliminate our own biases and creating an inclusive and equitable environment.

Read our full equity statement on our website .
CJJ's Annual Conference Moved to November 18-21
 Due to concerns for our members' health and safety, we have rescheduled CJJ's  2020 Annual Conference,  Dreaming Big Together: Youth Justice Reimagined which was originally scheduled to take place June 3-6.

CJJ's Annual Conference will take place Nov. 18-21 at the  Grand Hyatt Washington  in Washington, DC.  All attendees registered by June 2 will also gain access to seven hours of recorded content that they can access at their leisure beginning on June 3. Click here to register.

Registration fees that were already paid for CJJ’s 2020 Annual Conference will automatically be applied to the new conference registration dates of November 18-21, 2020. If you are in need of a letter confirming this or if you are unable to attend the rescheduled conference, and would like to discuss options, we are ready to assist. Alternatively, if you cannot attend and would like to help further CJJ’s mission, we would be happy to convert your registration fee to a donation and would be very grateful for your support. If you have any further questions, please contact Naomi Smoot Evans at  evans@juvjustice.org .

We hope that you will be able to join us in November.  To register click here .
To view a draft agenda, click here .
Early Bird Registration

Dec 11 - Feb 9

$345/ Members
$445/ Non-Members
$175/ Students
Regular Registration

Feb 10 - Oct 2

$395/ Members
$495/ Non-Members
$185/ Students
Late Registration

Oct 3 - Nov 6

$455/ Members
$555/ Non-Members
$195/ Students
CJJ invites you to consider sponsoring this year's Annual Conference. Sponsorship dollars help support a broad range of necessary functions, including materials production, speaker and workshop support, youth engagement, and other general functions.

To learn more about sponsoring this event, email  evans@juvjustice.org
CJJ Announces New Membership Category

CJJ has created a new membership opportunity for governmental agencies . Governmental agencies, particularly court systems, probation departments, child-welfare agencies, and educational agencies, play an important role in addressing the needs of young people in the justice system and those at risk of becoming involved in the justice system. These new organizational memberships are open to agencies of state and local governments that share CJJ’s Core Principles .

Read more about joining as a governmental agency and our full list of benefits here .
Want to see news that's important to you in the CJJ Members and Partners section? 

Join CJJ as a member today!
Federal Policy Update

On Tuesday, May 12, 2020, Congress released a stimulus bill meant to help address America’s needs during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This bill included a number of juvenile justice specific provisions. The legislation provides $75 million for rapid response grants through Title II of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. These funds will help support a variety of services, including testing of young people and staff in facilities, continued access to education and community supports for youth returning home at a time when positive tests in secure settings continue to rise. This bill also provides priority funding for communities that halt the use of fines and fees and outlines processes to reduce the number of youth who are incarcerated during the ongoing pandemic.

National youth justice advocates and stakeholders applaud House lawmakers for including provisions to protect some of our most vulnerable youth - those involved in the youth justice system - in the HEROES Act, and call on members of the Senate to support and pass provisions of H. 6800, particularly those related to youth justice.

To support the HEROES Act and urge lawmakers to help protect youth involved in the justice system, click here .

Read the full press release from Act4JJ here .
member only call
Upcoming Webinars

Members Only Call: COVID-19; Community-Based Responses
Tuesday, May 26 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern

Join the Coalition for Juvenile Justice and the National Juvenile Justice Network for a members only call to discuss how to utilize community-based responses and programs during COVID-19. Now more than ever, young people need the encouragement and support of their communities. We will discuss how providers can implement community supports for youth in the justice system during these unprecedented times.

To gain access to the call, please click   here to register .
Would You Like to Blog for CJJ?

CJJ is looking for bloggers for  CJJ Today  to author stories and posts about juvenile justice. We're particularly interested in stories from  State Advisory Group members  or staff, CJJ  individual  or  youth members , and CJJ  organizational members , about issues at the state or local level, interesting programs or approaches, and perspectives about the course of juvenile justice reform at the local or state level. We also welcome blog posts from other juvenile justice system stakeholders. Blog posts can be between 400-750 words in length. Click  here  to see our other guidelines for blogs.  

Suggested topics could include:  
  • School to Prison Pipeline
  • Girls in the Juvenile Justice System
  • Remedying Racial and Ethnic Disparities
  • Adolescent Brain Development 
  • Evidence-Based Practices
  • Status Offenses
  • Family and Youth Involvement
  • Promising Practices or Program Spotlights

If interested please email   info@juvjustice.org  for more details.
Member Spotlight: Maine

Maine's Juvenile Justice Advisory Group (JJAG) has approved funding to provide more services for youth who are incarcerated during the COVID-19 crisis.

In March of 2020, as COVID-19 started spreading, Maine- which was already in the process of revising and reviewing its juvenile justice policies and practices- started to look at how the virus and “stay at home” orders were effecting youth. In touching base with the few in-home providers that were still providing in-home services, state officials started hearing about specific needs. The first two that came up were related to technology: the need for handheld devices so that youth could touch base with their juvenile probation officers, therapists, and school, and making data plans available so that youth would be able to keep the connections with family and treatment providers.

The JJAG had just over $60,000 in current grants that needed to be expended by September 30th. In discussions with their program manager at the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), they found that OJJDP was willing to allow them to make some changes and be creative during this challenging time.

They put in a grant adjustment notice (GANS) to take the rest of the funds from the current grant and move them into a “COVID-19 response” line. The GANS was approved. The new parameters require that the funds be used to support youth (detained or committed) leaving a juvenile facility or to keep youth from entering the facility. In the planning they also wanted communities to be able to identify both their needs and the solutions.

In 2019 Maine helped to convene and fund a Juvenile Justice Assessment and
Reinvestment Task Force. The Task Force is assisting in the creation and support of
regional care teams to cover the State of Maine. When complete, the teams will be made up of staff from Health and Human Services, Juvenile Corrections, Department of Labor, local law enforcement, community providers, youth and families, local prosecutors and defenders, and other interested parties.

The goal is to provide sub-grants to local providers for each region, who will be able to respond to needs 24 hours a day. Maine’s Juvenile Corrections has been working hard to return as many youth as possible to their communities and they hope the JJAG funding can help youth, families, and communities while keeping youth at home with needed supports.
Q&A with Emerging Leaders Committee Member Evan Quaintance

Throughout the next several months, CJJ will be highlighting individual members of our  Emerging Leaders Committee .

Evan Quaintance is a 2020 ELC member from Jacksonville, FL

Q: Why did you join CJJ’s Emerging Leaders Committee?
A: I joined the ELC because I felt like this was my chance to change a system that has taken so many of my friends and family members. When I first heard about the committee my friend had recently been arrested and I felt I could make sure he was not only being treated fairly but given the opportunity to get back on the right track.

Q: What does juvenile justice reform mean to you?
A: To me, juvenile justice reform is the changing of the judicial system regarding young people. It’s allowing young people that may have done the wrong things in the past, the opportunity to get back on the right path and be welcomed back into society with the right methods.

Q: If you could change one thing in the system, what would it be?
A: The one thing I would change about the juvenile justice system is that I wouldn’t allow anyone without a fully developed brain to be housed in a detention center. I feel detention centers are essentially jails and they aren’t fit for someone who doesn’t have the ability to make thoughtful decisions. Scientists say our brains aren’t fully developed until around the age 25, so I think up until age 25 youth should be housed in character development centers.

Q: What advice do you want to share with other young emerging leaders?
A: Be unique. I think everyone on the committee should think outside the box and realize two things: the sky isn’t even the limit, and there is a lot of work for us to do. We cannot stop because there is an obstacle. The fate of the youth and the world depend on us.

Q: What is one fun fact about you?
A: A really cool fun fact about me is that I was born on the same day as my grandmother. My mother's birthday present to my grandmother was me!
Other News and Announcements
Events and Trainings

·        Gwen's Girls and The Black Girls Equity Alliance are hosting the 5th annual equity summit, " She Matters: Protecting and Uplifting the Well-Being of Black Girls ." The summit will take place September 24-26, 2020 at the Wyndham Grand in Downtown Pittsburgh. The summit features Keynote speaker Cyntoia Brown Long.

·       National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) will host their 83rd annual National Conference on Juvenile Justice . The conference will take place November 8-11, 2020 in Pittsburgh, PA.
New Publications and Resources

·        Act4JJ has started a new COVID-19 resource page where new resources will be continually added regarding best practices for youth during COVID-19.

·       Kristen Hathcock is a doctoral learner at Capella University. She is conducting a study with the goal of improving youth re-socialization strategies after being released from a detention facility. Kristen can be reached at kristen.hathcock@capella.edu

·        National Juvenile Defender Center released " Guidance to Juvenile Courts on

·        The Pew Charitable Trusts wrote an article discussing how states can look to
previous, data-driven reform to help address COVID-19.

·        The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) released a
statement regarding safe courts and access to justice during COVID-19.

·        Youth First released a new report to discuss what states should be doing in order to
protect system-involved youth during COVID-19.

·      CLASP's new report uplifts the importance of advancing economic justice for
individuals and communities impacted by the criminal justice system.

·      Human Rights Watch released  recommendations for local, state, and federal officials regarding COVID-19 in jails and prisons.

·      The Full Frame Initiative has provided strategies and examples for juvenile justice leaders and staff to support and sustain youth wellbeing during this time of crisis.

·       The American Academy of Pediatrics has shared their guidelines for responding to the needs of system-involved youth during COVID-19.

·       The Annie E. Casey foundation's newest report, " Leading With Race to Reimagine Youth Justice " discusses theories of deep-ended change for the youth justice system that will create a more equitable justice system.

·       Student Training and Education in Public Service (STEPS) has a new resource
section for education scholarships for students who are experiencing homelessness.

·      National Crittenton and Katcher Consulting have released a new report entitled, " Young Parents Speak Out: Barriers, Bias, and Broken Systems " that discusses the needs of young parents and what policies may allow them to help their children grow and thrive.
CJJ invites you to share news from your SAG, organization, state, or region! Inclusion and editing of submissions are subject to CJJ editorial guidelines. 
The Juvenile Justice Monitor is brought to you by staff and volunteer leaders of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, and supported by membership fees paid by CJJ's State Advisory Group Members, Members at Large, Organizational Members, and allies. We are grateful to all for their ongoing support. 

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