TAKE ACTION: #JJDPAMatters to Keep Kids and Communities Safe

September 21, 2015

On September 7th, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) turned 41 years old. And this year, there is added cause for celebration. In July, the bipartisan reauthorization bill, S.1169 passed out of Senate Judiciary Committee and could make it to the floor for a vote in the next several weeks. This is the furthest this crucial legislation has come to being reauthorized since 2009!

A chance to pass a bill that is good for young people, good for communities and makes good fiscal sense.

Thanks to the leadership of Senator Chuck Grassley (also Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, their colleagues in Congress—on both sides of the aisle— are finally hearing the message about ways the JJDPA protects young people and communities, and saves taxpayers money.

On September 17, a panel that included a police chief, a juvenile court judge, a prosecutor, and young person spoke to a packed room on Capitol Hill, reminding lawmakers and advocates that there may never be a better time to reauthorize the JJDPA. The panel reminded the audience about how far we’ve come.  We now know so much more about what works for children, young people and families than we knew 12 years ago when the Act was last renewed, and reauthorization is our chance to make good policy that also makes good fiscal sense.

Marc Schindler

Marc Schindler,
Justice Policy Institute


Judge Deborah Scumacher

Honorable Deborah Schumacher,
National Council of Juvenile
& Family Court Judges


Chief Crate

Chief Richard Crate,
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids

Christopher Bellamy

Aeryn Van Eck,
Alumna of Boys Town

  Photos Courtsey of Children's Defense Fund

The voices we heard on the Hill today are vital ones, but so is yours.

We need your help to pass this bill in the 114th Congress.

The Act4JJ Coalition, a group of more than 100 organizations, from the left, right and center, have for 8 years been urging Congress to act on the JJDPA, and to augment all the good that it does by adding new and proven approaches tested in the field over the past decade.

As co-chairs of the Act4JJ Campaign, we are calling on everyone who cares about kids to join us in asking Congress to reauthorize now!  Join us in letting them know that the #JJDPA Matters!

Here’s how you can get involved today:

We have created a #JJDPAmatters mobilizing toolkit to help spread the word about reauthorizing this critical law. It contains messaging and talking points to explain why the JJDPA matters; action alerts; social media posts, shareable images and other tools to make your voice heard!

Click here for the full toolkit.

Over the next few weeks, you’ll be hearing a lot more from us, and others, about why and how the JJDPA Matters.

With your help, will we be able to celebrate the news that Congress has passed the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Reauthorization Act of 2015 this year!

  • Want to know why #JJDPAmatters? Learn more about this important legislation here.

Marcy Mistrett

Marcy Mistrett (left), President & CEO of the Campaign for Youth Justice, and Marie Williams (right), Executive Director of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, co-chair the national ACT4JJ Coalition.

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.

Marcy Mistrett, Marie Williams