Senate Confirmation Rule Dropped for Federal Juvenile Justice Office

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Juvenile justice advocates are dismayed by a new law that they say threatens to accelerate the fading relevance of juvenile justice reform within the federal government. To the chagrin of many, President Barack Obama has not nominated anyone for the U.S. Senate to confirm as a permanent leader of federal juvenile justice efforts since he took office. For three and a half years, the federal office responsible for setting national policy, sharing research on best practices and funding state initiatives on juvenile justice and delinquency prevention has chugged along on temporary leadership, first under acting Administrator Jeff Slowikowski and since January, under acting Administrator Melodee Hanes. If the White House does name a person to fill the long-vacant position – something unlikely to happen soon, advocates say, given a looming presidential election — such a Senate confirmation will never come. That’s because effective Aug.

Senate Bill to Extend Current Student Loan Interest Rates Defeated

Tuesday, Republicans in the U.S. Senate blocked a bill backed by Democrats that would have kept interest rates for certain federal student loans from doubling this July. By a 52-45 majority, GOP senators effectively killed the proposal – entitled the Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act of 2012, it marking this Congress’ 21st successful filibuster of a Democratic-sponsored bill, according to The New York Times. If an extension of current federally-subsidized student loan rates does not occur, loan rates for undergraduate students are expected to jump from 3.4 percent to 6.8 later this summer. According to recent reports, American students took out almost twice the value of student loans in 2011 – estimated at about $112 billion – than they did a decade ago. In 2010, student loan debt totaled approximately $1 trillion, eclipsing credit card debt as the nation’s second largest form of debt behind mortgages, USA Today reported.

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.

Senate Subcommittee Approves Funding for OJJDP, Full Vote Expected Today

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science approved 2012 funding for a number of agencies at a meeting yesterday. Among programs receiving funds are the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), approved for $251 million. YouthToday has a breakdown of where the OJJDP funds are to be spent:

-$60 million for the Missing and Exploited Children Programs.

-$55 million for mentoring grants. -$45 million for 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. -$33 million for delinquency prevention grants to be dispersed by state advisory groups, although Congress often designates the majority of it for grants to Native American tribes and enforcement of underage drinking laws.

Back in a snap? | Week in Review | July 8, 2011

It’s Official: Key Juvenile Focused Bills Now Law in Georgia

Senate Passes Bill Stripping Confirmation Requirement for Juvenile Justice Positions

Young, Homeless and Enslaved by the Freedom of the Rails