JDAI Day Three: We’re All Out of Punch

Philadelphia, Penn.

People you’ve got the power over what we do
You can sit there and wait
Or you can pull us through

Come along, sing the song
You know you can’t go wrong
‘Cause when that morning sun comes beating down
You’re going to wake up in your town
But we’ll be scheduled to appear
A thousand miles away from here

This quote from Jackson Browne’s “The Load Out” seemed an appropriate start to Youth Services Insider’s wrap-up of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative.

Longtime Casey juvenile justice leader Bart Lubow is moving a thousand miles away from here, gone fishin’ to Calcasieu Parish. The initiative’s leadership will wake up in their towns, and the construction of the movement will (for the most part) have to go on without its chief architect.

“I thought it was the stupidest idea,” said Vincent Schiraldi, reflecting on his early discussions with Lubow about the concept of JDAI. “He was gonna put a bunch of foundation people in a room with government people…wow.”

In the time Lubow has shepherded JDAI, Schiraldi has become firmly entrenched as one of those government people. Schiraldi was once a fiery outsider in his days with the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice and the Justice Policy Institute (JPI), and now serves as a senior advisor to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

One can’t help but wonder if the progress he saw JDAI make made the political avenue seem more attractive.

“When they look back on juvenile justice history, 50 years from now, Bart’s name will occupy a big piece of space,” Schiraldi said.

A few quick notes on the final day:

A Middle System

Schiraldi was in town to make the case for a young adult system, essentially a middle system of justice in between the juvenile and standard criminal court. The idea, in a nutshell, would be to provide a unique set of services and sanctions to offenders who had passed the age of majority but had not yet reached 25.

It is hardly a brand new idea; former JPI Executive Director Tracy Velázquez made the case for such a system on the pages of The Chronicle of Social Change a year ago. Meanwhile, there are federal, state and local efforts already to target services and assistance to court-involved young adults.

But that is a far cry from the vision of a new and complete continuum of courts, probation and perhaps facilities that dealt exclusively with a young adult population. YSI will report in more depth about Schiraldi’s pitch in a separate next week.

Tapping IV-E

Title IV-E is a multi-billion entitlement that mostly pertains to foster care. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides a hefty match to states for certain aspects of foster care casework, reunification efforts and training.

To most myopic observers of juvenile justice, it must be a strange concept: billions of federal dollars? In Fiscal 2014, most states got about $400,000 from the Department of Justice for adhering to federal standards on juvenile justice. Those with an eye on child welfare know that even though the dollar amount is high, there is a strong desire by many advocates to re-tool Title IV-E funding.

But IV-E dollars can technically be used to support certain assistance to juvenile offenders. And the Juvenile Services Division (JSD) of Multnomah County, Ore. has established a Title IV-E claiming program to do just that.

JSD projects that it will be able to draw about $800,000 per year from IV-E to help fund a number of its programs. Among them:

  • A partnership with Youth Villages to provide wraparound services to youth who would otherwise be headed to confinement
  • Juvenile court counselors and assistants
  • Shelter beds
  • Competency and training

How rare is IV-E claiming for juvenile departments? Leading a presentation yesterday, JSD Director Christina McMahan said that Multnomah is the only county in all of Federal Region 10 (Oregon, Alaska, Washington, and Idaho) to do it, although several Oregon counties plan to follow suit.

You can certainly expect to see more juvenile justice systems get interested in IV-E money soon, especially if the appropriations to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention continue to spiral downward.

You can also expect to see some of them muck it up big time if attempts to tap IV-E are done on the fly. It is far from easy to get a juvenile justice IV-E claim process going, because it will almost certainly require a system to introduce and train people on new forms and files.

Scott MacDonald, former chief probation officer in Santa Cruz, Calif., pointed out that many California counties had recently begun a IV-E claiming process that started very badly. The first HHS review of the California process used two audits of two counties, and both were not in compliance with the claiming process. So HHS reclaimed all of the money, from all of the counties.

McMahan said Multnomah had contracted with a private consulting group named Justice Benefits, Inc. (JBI), to assist with the claiming process. A quick Internet search by YSI found that many of the California counties have also made contractual agreements with JBI.

Philly, it was real! Marriott, let’s get that air rolling through Franklin Hall. Major kudos for the free wi-fi and all-day workspace in the lobby though.

Youth Services Insider is mostly written by Chronicle Editor-in-Chief John Kelly.

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John Kelly
About John Kelly 1131 Articles
John Kelly is editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change.

2 Comments

  1. Great work John … for those of us not able to attend, was fantastic to get your summaries and “current events” relative to JDAI. Bart truly is leaving a very impactful legacy; but there are indeed many other “reforms” needed and the evidence-informed work of JDAI sites, their synergy and contributions only strengthens the overall work. So good of you to put this work out for general review. Take great care.

  2. John – good to see you in Philly. Just fyi, my organization just received funding from the Chicago Community Trust to address the “emerging adult” issue in Illinois – we’ll be sending out a press release on the grant next week & I’ll send you a copy ahead of time. We’re looking at 18-21, having just raised the age in Illinois to 18 with great success and little to no cost (despite all the projections), and looking at diversion as a first step. Will keep you posted.
    Betsy Clarke
    Juvenile Justice Initiative
    http://www.jjustice.org
    bc@jjustice.org
    847.894-4206

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