States Rely on Federal Youth Justice Funding: Here's How

June 11, 2019

JJDPAfundsCongress is working to approve Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 appropriations bills, including funds to states as authorized under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), the nation’s main federal justice law that sets standards for state juvenile justice programs and core protections for youth.

Now is a good time to take a look at the ways JJDPA and mentoring funds help states support young people, prevent involvement in the justice system, and provide alternatives to incarceration for those who come into contact with the system.  

State Advisory Group: Under the JJDPA, each participating state or US territory must have a State Advisory Group (SAG), made up of individuals who are knowledgeable about juvenile justice and delinquency prevention, including young people. Among its roles, the SAG provides input into their state’s use of JJDPA funds and works with state and local policymakers to suggest improvements.

JJDPA funding: Many states use JJDPA funds to support critical mentoring programs for young people involved with or at risk of becoming involved with the justice system, as part of a broader spectrum of responses to address young people's needs in the justice system.

For example, in Kentucky, some of the JJDPA funding has gone to the YMCA's Louisville chapter to for the Y-NOW Mentoring program:

Declining dollars: It is notable that overall, actual funding to states has declined significantly in the past decade. This means states have fewer resources to enact proven reforms, comply with core requirements of the JJDPA and address issues of racial and ethnic bias and disparity.

The Act4JJ Coalition has compiled a series of fact sheets from states, which examine the funding trends over time, how states are using their funds and priorities for investment if the funding is restored and increased.
To learn more, check out the full fact sheets on or find your state's PDF fact sheet below: