Major Layoffs Expected for New Orleans’ Juvenile Court in 2013

Massive cuts are expected for New Orleans’ Juvenile Court, with more than 30 employees expected to be removed from the city’s payroll in early 2013. More than a third of the court’s funding was recently slashed, Chief Judge Ernestine Gray told WWLTV, with more than $800,000 recently removed from the court’s former budget of $2.7 million. Reserve funds will be used to keep recently laid off employees available as contracted workers, although Judge Gray said that such funding will likely be expended before next year. “If we have the same situation from the city and the mayor next year for our budget,” she said, “I don’t know how we operate in 2014.”

The funding cuts were authorized by the New Orleans City Council, at the behest of Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration, who told the council that New Orleans had a larger judicial bench than necessary for the city’s workload. New Orleans Chief Administrative Officer and Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin said that since the workload for the city’s juvenile court has decreased, while the city’s municipal court workload has increased, he considers the funding cuts to be appropriate.

Major Juvenile Service Cuts Coming to Utah as Part of State’s Legislative Budget

After the loss of key federal funding and the end of a stopgap measure, state lawmakers in Utah are cutting the budgets of agencies providing crucial services to juvenile services. After a federal decision to suspend funding of non-medical expenditures associated with residential care was made two years ago, Utah legislators provided its state agencies – such as Juvenile Justice Services (JJS) and Division of Child and Family Services (DFCS) – with emergency stopgap funds. This legislative session, however, stopgap funding for juvenile services programs ceased, with state legislators issuing an additional $3.2 million in budget cuts. The impact of the federal decision on Utah was severe, costing the state an estimated $27 million in Medicaid funding. In the process, Utah’s JJS ended up losing an estimated $9 million per year, with the state DFCS agency losing an estimated $18 million annually.

Proposed Budget Cuts Loom for Juvenile Justice Programs

Youth advocates are ringing the alarm bells at Congress’s proposed levels of funding for state programs that would prevent young people from being locked up for skipping school, keep young offenders from being held in adult prisons and reduce the disproportionate numbers of minority youth in jail. Since 2002, the funds available for states to implement Title II of the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act have been slashed by more than half from $88.8 million, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Coalition for Juvenile Justice, which brings together citizens and public officials who work on juvenile justice issues in every state. Current funding levels for Title II — whose four core requirements aim to protect young people from being unfairly confined in prison — are at $40 million, according to figures released by the Coalition for Juvenile Justice in April. The White House requested $70 million for the 2013 budgetary year, an amount unlikely to pass Congress. If federal funds shrink further, states will have little incentive to meet federal guidelines for keeping juveniles out of the adult prison system, said Liz Ryan, president of the D.C.-based advocacy organization Campaign for Youth Justice.

Trimming the Juvenile Justice Fat

California Gov. Jerry Brown was recently quoted telling the state Legislature to “man up” on his proposed budget cuts and yet, when it comes to juvenile justice, it seems the governor consistently bends under pressure. Unfortunately, the effects of his juvenile justice compromise will soon be felt by all California residents, according to a new CJCJ publication. With scarce and finite resources, the governor’s decision to grant a reprieve for state youth correctional facilities, in his May revised budget, creates an additional strain on already scantily-funded state services. This is the second year the governor has removed a proposal for full juvenile justice realignment from his budget. In FY 2011-12, the budget allocated counties $200,000 per state-confined youth, to increase their capacity for serving high-need juvenile offenders.

Congress Makes Further Cuts to Juvenile Justice Funding

House and Senate appropriations leaders finalized a “minibus” spending package that further reduces the relevance of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and possibly jeopardizes the office’s connection with state governments. The bill – which funds the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, and Housing and Urban Development – trims the allocation from an already-reduced $275 million in fiscal 2011 to $262.5 million for fiscal 2012. The minibus package contains another continuing resolution allowing the government to operate through December 16. The structure of the juvenile justice funding comes from the Senate Appropriations Committee’s bill, which drastically reduced funding but kept some for each program of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. Under the agreement reached by appropriations confereees, the funding levels for OJJDP’s biggest programs, which include state formula grants, mentoring and missing and exploited children, more closely mirror what was proposed by the House appropriators.

Alabama’s DCANP Budget Cuts by District

Alabama’s Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention (DCANP) has been hosting a series of Sustainability Meetings with community-based program leaders around the state. When the FY 2012 budget takes effect Oct. 1, the DCANP will be forced to cut 74 of the 175 community-based programs the department funds. Read the full story. The slides below were compiled by the DCANP and outline affected programs by district:

District 1

District 2

District 3

District 4

District 5

District 6

District 7

Opening slide to DCANP Sustainability Meetings

One Agency’s Budget Struggles Typical of Nation

Alabama’s only agency designated to prevent child abuse and neglect, among the many juvenile justice departments around the nation grappling with a smaller budget, will serve nearly half the number of kids in 2012 as they did in 2011. The Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention (DCANP) is preparing to cut 74 community-based programs around the state when the new budget takes effect October 1. The cuts bring the total number of programs to just 101 for FY 2012, compared to 227 funded in FY 2005. The reduction in services represents roughly 14,000 kids that will no longer have access to community-based prevention programs.

“I’m really concerned with the burden of the system as a whole,” says Kelley Parris-Barnes, director of the DCANP. “When you take the community-level programs out you don’t have the capacity in the state to do it.”

The DCANP doesn’t deliver services directly.

States Respond to Budget Shortfalls with Hodgepodge of Juvenile Justice Cuts

Around the nation, states continue to grapple with the reality of budget shortfalls with a hodgepodge of cuts to various programs, including juvenile justice.

North Carolina’s Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is being forced to cut spending by 10 percent while eliminating roughly 275 positions, a 15 percent decrease in work force, under the new FY 2012 budget.

Also gone are 75 beds from the state’s seven youth development centers, raising concerns that serious offenders may end up back on the streets to make room for new juveniles entering the facilities.

Alabama’s Department of Child Abuse & Neglect Prevention has a FY 2012 General Fund roughly half that of FY 2011. The department saw a 74 percent drop in state funding and significant cuts from the federal-level.

Mississippi Joins 38 Other States, Raises Juvenile Age to Eighteen

An amended law that took effect July 1 made Mississippi the latest state to rethink how youth under the age of 18 are handled in criminal court. The new measure prevents most 17-year-old misdemeanor and nonviolent felony offenders from being tried as adults. Certain felonies including rape, murder and armed robbery may still warrant charges in the adult court system. Two other states, Connecticut and Illinois, passed similar reforms earlier this year bringing the national total to 39 states that view juveniles as any individual below the age of 18, according to a report issued last week by the Campaign for Youth Justice. “This is a good news report.” Liz Ryan, director of the Campaign for Youth Justice, — a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit focused on the issue — told USA Today.

U.S. House of Representatives

House Approps May Gut Spending on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act

The House subcommittee that oversees Justice Department funding produced an appropriations bill this week that would slash activities authorized by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act in 2012. The draft bill, marked up by the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and State (CJS), would not fund demonstration grants, Juvenile Accountability Block Grants (JABG) or Title V Local Delinquency Prevention Grants. In 2010, the last year Congress actually passed an appropriations package, those three streams totaled $231 million. The bill would also drop state formula grants – given to states on the condition that they adhere to basic standards in regard to the detainment of juveniles, and address racial disparities in the system – from $75 million in 2010 to $40 million. The full appropriations committee will vote on the proposed funding levels for Justice on Wednesday, July 13, according to a memo published by the Coalition for Juvenile Justice on its website.