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For immediate release: Friday, Nov. 1, 2013
New York State receives nearly $1 million in federal grants to improve services for youth involved in the juvenile justice system
Programs designed to reduce recidivism, divert non-violent juveniles from Family Court
New York State has received nearly $1 million in two federal grants, one to improve services for youth returning home after placement to give them a better chance of leading productive, crime-free lives, and the other divert non-violent youth with mental health issues from the juvenile justice system into treatment.
The state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) will administer the two grants, which will benefit six counties outside of New York City:
- A $741,949 federal Second Chance Act grant will continue work begun at the state level, and piloted in Monroe County, to reduce the rate at which youths find themselves involved again in the juvenile or adult criminal justice system. The grant will provide funding that will allow Monroe County to build on its existing program and allow Niagara and Oneida counties to implement re-entry programs and strategies for juveniles.
- A $212,476 grant from the federal Department of Justice will allow Onondaga, Schenectady and Westchester counties to implement a validated mental health screening tool at probation intake and utilize its results to provide targeted, evidence-based services to youths with mental health and/or other co-occurring disorders, such as substance abuse, who have been charged with non-violent offenses.
DCJS Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael C. Green said, “These two federal grants will allow programs to be expanded to serve additional at-risk youth, with the ultimate goal of putting them on a path toward living productive lives, which contributes to enhancing public safety in those communities.”
Second Chance Act Grant
Monroe County will receive $236,000 to continue its re-entry work, while Niagara County will receive $250,000 and Oneida, $250,000 to implement re-entry services. Grant funds will allow those communities to work with service providers that will support youth when they return home after placement so they have a better chance of leading productive, crime-free lives.
Local re-entry task forces will work with youths and their families prior to their return home, ensuring there is a comprehensive plan that provides for stable housing, appropriate educational opportunities and positive social connections and support. And, those task forces will continue to work with those youth after they return home to help them stay on the right path.
Studies in New York by the state Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) have shown that nearly half of youth released from custody reoffend within the first 12 months, and nearly two-thirds of them re-offend within the first two years of release. Monroe will receive continued funding and Niagara and Oneida counties were selected to implement re-entry programs because they each place more youth outside of their homes after they are adjudicated in Family Court as juvenile delinquents than other counties in their regions.
DCJS will work with OCFS to implement the provisions of this grant and monitor the progress of juvenile re-entry work in these communities.
OCFS Commissioner Gladys Carrion said, “It is our goal to make sure that we are not only giving youth the services they deserve while they are in our care, but to provide them with the skills they need so that they are productive members of society once they leave. These grants, along with the Supervision and Treatment Services for Juveniles Program, allow greater flexibility in funding and provide the State and local communities the opportunity to build the necessary capacity to safely manage the challenging behavior of youth, keeping families and communities together.”
This is the second time New York State has received federal funding to improve juvenile re-entry. In 2011, DCJS used a Second Chance Act planning grant to convene a state-level juvenile re-entry task force, which developed the state’s first strategic plan for juvenile re-entry. The task force, with 32 members from state agencies, the court system, local social services and probation departments as well as child and family advocates, continues to meet to find ways to improve outcomes for youth.
Mental Health Screening/Service Grant
The mental health grant will allow probation departments in Onondaga, Schenectady and Westchester counties to work in partnership with county mental health agencies and local service providers to implement a process to screen at intake youth accused of non-violent offenses for mental health and/or other co-occurring disorders, such as substance abuse, and to use those results to help determine the most appropriate treatment. This program is modeled on one first piloted in Monroe County and still being used there.
The grants will support training and data collection efforts in all three counties. Schenectady County will receive approximately $46,000 to establish functional family therapy services in that county, while Westchester will receive about $139,000 to bring a multi-systemic therapy system to that community. Onondaga has contracts already in place for those services, and will receive $4,200 toward data collection efforts to assess the success of the screening process.
DCJS will collaborate with the state Office of Mental Health (OMH) to provide support to those counties as they implement this new process.
OMH Acting Commissioner John V. Tauriello said, "The DCJS/OMH Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Programrepresents a continuation and expansion of New York State's efforts to divert youth with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health concerns from deeper involvement in the juvenile justice system. New Yorkers know that the success of any mental health intervention hinges on accurate screening and assessment, and we are eager to build upon our existing partnership with DCJS to improve the ability of youth to succeed and lead productive lives."
National research studies have shown that significant numbers of youth involved in the juvenile justice system have a diagnosable mental health disorder or a severe mental health disorder. In New York alone, 50 to 60 percent of youth present a mental health need when admitted to state custody, with another 54 to 63 percent showing a substance abuse issue at that intake.
Early intervention and identification of mental health or other issues will allow those counties to determine which youth would benefit from being diverted from Family Court into evidence-based and proven treatment programs.
Since Governor Cuomo took office in 2011, the state has implemented several juvenile justice reforms, designed so that only those youth who pose a risk to the community are sent to detention while their cases are pending or to placement after their cases are adjudicated.
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (www.criminaljustice.ny.gov) is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including collection and analysis of statewide crime data; maintenance of criminal history information and fingerprint files; administrative oversight of the state’s DNA databank, in partnership with the New York State Police; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; training of law enforcement and administration of the state’s Sex Offender Registry.
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