It's Budget Season!

March 2, 2016

For years, the Act-4-JJ Campaign has called for budget recommendations that would more accurately represent how important the federal investments in state juvenile justice efforts are to protecting youth and promoting community safety. Federal JJDPA funding has declined more than 50 percent, including an 80 percent decrease in Title V funding—the only federal program that provides delinquency prevention funding at a local level. These funds support state systems that protect children from the dangers of adult jails and lockups; keep status offenders out of locked custody; and address the racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system.  In addition, we made recommendations to the Administration to fund delinquency prevention, juvenile accountability, and community-based violence prevention efforts. 

While the President’s FY17 budget did not propose to restore all the cuts, it did include more than $334 million in critical federal support or states and included increases in some key areas, included a proposed increase for the JJDPA Title II program.  The proposal included: 

  • $75 million for the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) Title II, Part B State Formula Grants Program;
  • $42 million for the JJDPA Title V Delinquency Prevention Program, including $2 million directed tocompetitive grants that focus on girls in the juvenile justice system, $5 million for gang and youth violence education and prevention, and $10 for the Tribal Youth Program;
  • $30 million for the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant (JABG) Program;
  • $20 million for the Smart on Juvenile Justice Initiative;
  • $18 million in community-based violence prevention initiatives;
  • $5.4 million for the Improving Juvenile Indigent Defense Program; and
  • $4 million for grants and technical assistance in support of the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention Initiative.

“President Obama and his Administration did a good job of preserving money for states to implement the core protections of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), the only federal law that sets out national standards for the custody and care of youth in the juvenile justice system,” said Marcy Mistrett, President of the Campaign for Youth Justice.

“We are especially pleased with the recommendation to increase funding for Title II of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) which is currently before the Senate for reauthorization.  This core funding helps states to keep kids out of adult jails and prisons, to ensure youth charged with status offenses like truancy and running away are not locked up and to identify and address racial and ethnic disparities in their systems.”

“With this budget, the President demonstrates the critical importance of targeted federal investments in state and local juvenile justice programs,” said Marie Williams, Executive Director of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice. “These programs pay huge future dividends in the form of better outcomes for youth, reduced recidivism and safer communities.”

Now Congress must act and we encourage appropriators to embrace these recommendations which reflect authorizers’ recommendations included in pending legislation to renew the JJDPA and would begin to restore funding cut over the past several years. 

We encourage you to join us in support of this request by signing your organization on to the Act4JJ Campaign letter to House and Senate appropriators. Please circulate widely to state and national orgs. To add your organization, email Kuna Tavalin at Deadline is March 14.


This post is part of the JJDPA Matters blog, a project of the Act4JJ Campaign with help from SparkAction.

The JJDPA, the nation's landmark juvenile justice law, is up for reauthorization. As legislative changes are being made to bring this law up-to-date, Act4JJ member organizations and allies will post blogs on issues related to the JJDPA. To learn more and take action in support of JJDPA, visit the Act4JJ JJDPA Matters Action Center, powered by SparkAction.