Hornberger Stepping Down at Coalition for Juvenile Justice

Nancy Gannon Hornberger will resign as executive director of the Washington-based Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ), a national membership group for state advisers on juvenile justice, in August.

Hornberger steps down after seven years at the head of the coalition. She has been with CJJ since 1999, and said in the letter that she has been hired to serve as CEO by Social Advocates for Youth San Diego.

“CJJ leadership committees are strong and thriving, the staff is talented and dedicated,” said Hornberger, in a letter announcing the end of her tenure.  “As I depart, I am certain of CJJ’s esteemed position in the national field of juvenile justice.”

CJJ was founded in 1984, and its primary role since has been to represent State Advisory Groups (SAGs) in Washington. Each state has a SAG, the leader of which is appointed by the governor.

CJJ’s role in the field shifted in 2003, when the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention ended its relationship with the organization. Up to that time, OJJDP had historically funded CJJ to convene the SAGs and produce annual reports on juvenile justice to the president and Congress, an action required by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.

CJJ continues to represent dues-paying SAG members, but the required reporting of the SAGs to Washington is done internally through the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice (FACJJ), which was established in 2004 by then-OJJDP Administrator J. Robert Flores.

FACJJ used to include one delegate from each of the SAGs, but has recently been streamlined to include delegates that represent a region of states along with some experts not affiliated with the SAGs.

One of CJJ’s focal points has been to champion the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, which was passed in 1974 but has not been reauthorized since 2002. Its SAG constituents are most directly impacted by three funding streams included in the act:  formula funding for compliance with the act, state accountability block grants, and incentive grants for delinquency prevention.

Congressional appropriations for formula grants plummeted from $75 million to $40 million between 2010 and this year, and the accountability grants have declined from $55 million to $30 million.

The “Title V” incentive grants – which are directly managed by SAG boards – also plummeted, from $65 million to $20 million. But even before that, the grants had been decimated by Congress. Appropriators funded other federal programs for tribal youth, gang prevention, and enforcement of underage drinking laws, out of the Title V funding. That left paltry sums of money to distribute to each state’s SAG.

CJJ did expand its scope beyond SAG representation in 2006, when it received a $400,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation to establish the National Juvenile Justice Network, a group that represents non-governmental juvenile justice advocates and partners in Washington.

CJJ has continued to have a relationship with MacArthur, which has given the organization $500,000 annually to host the yearly working conference for the foundation’s Models for Change juvenile justice initiative.

NJJN, conceived of by former Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Executive Director Tom McKenna, is led by Sarah Breyer and includes 41 members in 33 states.

Financially, recent documents indicate a mixed bag for the organization in recent years. Membership revenue in fiscal 2011 was $226,000, more than twice the amount brought in ten years before.

But CJJ has run an expense-to-revenue deficit on each of its four public tax returns, including a $584,000 deficit in fiscal 2010. Net assets, listed at $544,000 on CJJ’s 2009 return, were down to $227,000 in 2011.

Hornberger said the organization would conduct a national search for her successor, search process as the CJJ board, staff and I work together to execute a smooth and confident transition to a new executive director.

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John Kelly
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John Kelly is editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change.