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Home > Juvenile Justice Division > Publications > The Link



Connecting Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare

Vol. 1, No. 3 - Summer 2001


Director's Message
PACE Center for Girls: Gender-Specific Prevention
Iowa Decategorization
Public Policy Update
Juvenile Justice News and Resources
Prevention as Priority

Director's Message

I am pleased and excited to have the opportunity to serve as the Director of the Juvenile Justice Division. I worked under the dynamic leadership and direction of Shay Bilchik at OJJDP, and it is terrific to be guided again by his vision and energy at CWLA.

In my new role, I will work diligently with all of you to ensure the Juvenile Justice Division effectively promotes awareness of the links between child welfare and juvenile justice. The division seeks to inform the field of current research, disseminate best practices and proven strategies to reduce delinquency and the reliance on incarceration when delinquent behavior occurs, provide the tools necessary to implement positive systemic change and reform, and advocate for sound legislation and public policy. My predecessor, Rodney Albert, and the capable staff of the Juvenile Justice Division have laid a strong foundation for this work.

For more than 20 years, I've had the distinct privilege to work as a probation officer; an intake officer handling status offenders, delinquent offenders, domestic relations, and child protection complaints; and an administrator in a residential treatment facility for serious and chronic offenders. When I joined OJJDP in 1997, I worked with many states as Deputy Director of the State and Tribal Assistance Division, providing oversight for administration of OJJDP's grant programs. I also worked with, and eventually managed, the Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Chronic, and Violent Juvenile Offenders initiative, a systems integration and reform effort.

I believe this experience has prepared me for the exciting challenges and opportunities here at CWLA. One of the most important lessons I learned during my years of practice was to listen to the unique knowledge, perspective, and experience of local practitioners, as well as leaders in the field. I look forward to putting that lesson to practice as we work together to accomplish the shared mission and goals of the Juvenile Justice Division and child welfare and juvenile justice systems nationwide.

I invite you to escalate your engagement in this effort and increase the dialogue on the links between the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. We have much to learn from each other, and there is much work to be done in behalf of the nation's children, youth, and families.


John Tuell

PACE Center for Girls: Gender-Specific Prevention

by Natalie M. Schaible, PACE Center for Girls Inc.

Despite promising declines in overall juvenile delinquency rates since 1993, the delinquency rate for girls increased 83% between 1988 and 1997. In 1999, 670,000 females were arrested, accounting for 27% of all juvenile arrests. The American Bar Association and the National Bar Association called this increase in female delinquency cases a "national emergency" during the release of their joint report, Justice by Gender-The Lack of Appropriate Prevention, Diversion and Treatment Alternatives for Girls in the Justice System. The need for effective gender-specific prevention services aimed at helping this population has never been greater.

As one of the few statewide prevention programs in the country, PACE is making a significant impact on these escalating numbers in Florida. PACE Center for Girls was established in 1985 as an alternative to incarceration or institutionalization for at-risk adolescent girls in Jacksonville. Since 1985, PACE has served more than 5,000 at-risk girls; 93% of those who complete the PACE program have avoided reinvolvement with the juvenile justice system. At the request of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, the PACE program has been replicated in 19 cities statewide.

One key factor in PACE's success is understanding the relationship between victimization and female juvenile crime. According to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, as many as 73% of the girls involved in the juvenile justice system in 1995 and 1996 reported being victims of violence. A large percentage reported sexual abuse. Girls' behavior problems are often related to a traumatic, abusive home life, and victimization is often the precursor to the kinds of nonproductive behaviors that lead to involvement in the juvenile justice system.

PACE creates safe, nurturing environments that allow participants to share their stories and begin the healing process. PACE values all girls and young women, believing each one deserves an opportunity to find her voice, achieve her potential, and celebrate a life defined by responsibility, dignity, serenity, and grace. The program uses a strength-based approach that focuses on each girl's potential rather than past poor choices.

The program helps girls build self-confidence in an environment that celebrates the female perspective. For many participants, PACE gives them their first chance to just enjoy being a girl. In this environment, PACE girls can go on to become productive citizens who take responsibility for themselves and for helping others. They complete their education, begin careers, repair family relationships, and celebrate their achievements.

PACE's mission is to provide holistic, highly effective, and gender-responsive education and counseling, as well as a training and advocacy continuum that teaches girls to focus on the opportunity for a better future. Program components include:

Screening and Intake. Staff conduct intake interviews and assessments with each prospective girl to assess the risk factors in her life and what support she needs to possess the necessary motivation to attend the voluntary program. The goal is to be confident that PACE can meet her needs, allowing her to be successful.

Education. Each PACE Center has a cooperative agreement with the local school board to provide academic programs, including remedial services, individual instruction, and specialized education plans. Middle and high school curricula are offered during a minimum of five hours of daily academic instruction designed to meet the academic level of each student.

Individualized Attention. The low student-to-staff ratio of 10:1 provides enough caring staff to focus on each girl's potential and helps provide consistent structure and ongoing recognition of the girls' accomplishments, no matter how small.

Gender-Specific Life Management Skills Enhancement. This PACE curriculum, known as SPIRITED GIRLS!® is a gender-sensitive program that teaches positive lifestyle choices.
  • Smart Talk teaches the importance of communicating well.
  • Nine to Five on Flextime emphasizes career awareness and the steps to employment security.
  • SOS (Save Our Sisters) stresses healthy lifestyles and smart choices concerning sexuality, fitness, nutrition, drugs, and more.
  • Safetysmart is a violence prevention module that helps students identify the cycle of violence and teaches them how to live nonviolent lives.
Therapeutic Services. Individual case management treatment plans are developed for each student based on a detailed psychosocial needs assessment. Individual, group, and family counseling sessions help meet the individual needs of each student and her family. A staff member is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Parental Involvement. Engaging the significant adults in a girl's life is critical. At a minimum, staff members maintain regular contact with parents through home visits, office sessions, and telephone calls. Parent groups and other activities are an integral part of the programs, helping parents learn the skills necessary to assist in their daughters' growth.

Community Volunteer Service. Girls are required to participate in monthly volunteer service projects to promote self-worth and involvement in their communities. The students determine the type of volunteer service project, learn project management skills, and begin to see themselves as a part of something larger.

Transitional Services. PACE provides an unprecedented three years of comprehensive follow-up for all girls who attend the program for more than 30 days to ensure they continue their education, employment, or appropriate referral services.

PACE's programmatic continuum, and its dedication to the plight of the girls involved in the juvenile justice system have earned the program national attention. Publications from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, and the Stanford Law Review have all identified PACE as being one of a handful of programs that are successfully addressing the prevention and intervention needs of girls in the juvenile justice system.

PACE is regularly called on to assist others serving this population. In response, PACE has developed the PACE Training Shop, which lists available organizational training and technical assistance.

PACE has 19 direct care centers that have consistently exceeded outcome goals and achieved the highest quality assurance ratings in Florida. PACE staff focus on quality, gender-responsive services to girls, and the program provides life-changing programs. For more than 15 years, PACE has advocated for the systematic changes needed within juvenile justice to produce the programming and systems that more effectively assist girls.

For more information about training and technical assistance and the PACE Center for Girls, visit, call 904/358-0555, or e-mail Dr. LaWanda Ravoira is the President and CEO of PACE.

Iowa Decategorization

The Iowa Decategorization Project began with a simple idea: consolidate traditional funding streams for county child and family services into a single child welfare fund. The fund is now used within the county for services such as family-centered assistance, family preservation court-ordered services, family foster care, group care, independent living, and adoptions. Decategorization requires local county, court, and Department of Human Services (DHS) officials to collaborate on a written plan that outlines the expanded or new services and governance of the child welfare fund.

Prior to decategorization, Iowa's child welfare system was a fragmented collection of categorical service programs. Funds for clients were identified by categorical services with preestablished eligibility criteria. Children and families often received services based on the category that had the most available funding rather than according to their actual service needs. Service gaps existed, and "second-choice" services were sometimes all that were available.

In 1987, the Iowa General Assembly authorized DHS to develop a new plan for funding child welfare services. Analysis of the existing system led to the concept of "decategorization," which changes the status of categorical fiscal management, service eligibility and policies, funding limitations, and method of payment. Funding flexibility is achieved by consolidating funding streams and eliminating service categories, thereby enhancing the system's ability to respond to the needs of children and families.

Through decategorization, funding streams for children and families are not restricted by the funding levels of the existing service categories. Instead, the fund comprises all or part of the amount that would be used for the county's family-centered services, family preservation court-ordered services, family foster care, group care, independent living, and adoption purchase of services.

Counties must, however, maintain budget neutrality when decategorizing funds. With savings from using less-restrictive, less-costly services, funding can be redirected to develop alternative services that are more responsive to the needs of clients and their communities.

In 1989, two Iowa counties tested decategorization through three-year pilot demonstration projects. By 1997, more than 70% of Iowa's population and 57 counties were using the decategorization model for program funding. Overall, the project has exceeded expectations for its ability to ensure collaboration at the local level and develop alternative services that are more responsive to the needs of Iowa's children and families.

Integrating Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice

During the summer of 1997, representatives from the six Iowa communities participating in OJJDP's Comprehensive Strategy training and technical assistance initiative met for the first time with OJJDP officials. The Iowa Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning (CJJP) and state and local agency personnel representing a broad base of youth and family serving agencies met to develop a comprehensive strategic plan that would create a balanced continuum of prevention, intervention, and juvenile justice services. During the meetings, participants presented and discussed detailed information about the Comprehensive Strategy.

The six sites have since received ongoing technical assistance through onsite planning visits, support for communitywide conferences and training events, and hands-on help in developing community-specific data assessments, reports, plans, and activities. Iowa was the first of the five initial states participating in this national initiative to complete strategic plans in each local jurisdiction. Each local plan represents an effort to link ongoing multiple collaborative efforts and integrate the child welfare and juvenile justice systems in effective service delivery and allocation of resources. Early in the Comprehensive Strategy process, all players understood that the preexisting Iowa Decategorization Boards (Decat) would provide leadership in the planning process. As a result, the Decat Boards became the steering committees for the six Iowa sites.

The boards augmented the mobilization phase of this initiative and contributed to its success. Communities are working on implementing their five-year plans, a primary product of the initiative. The plans prioritize risk factor priority areas, identify resources and gaps in existing services and resources, and identify needed additional resources. Communities also designed plans for monitoring their own progress. The governor, state agencies, and a recently established Positive Youth Development Collaboration Committee are kept informed of the plans and progress.

The Positive Youth Development group-comprising members from the Departments of Public Health, Human Services, Economic Development, Education, and Workforce Development; CJJP; Iowa State University Extension Services; the Governor's Alliance on Substance Abuse; researchers; program specialists; community service providers; and others-is looking at a variety of issues related to more effective coordination of state and community planning and service delivery strategies.

The Youth Development Group has taken the lessons learned from Iowa's Comprehensive Strategy experience and applied them to improving state program policies and practices, state-local training, and planning partnerships and activities. CJJP's work in the area of youth development is being supported by two recent grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Crime Prevention Council.

OJJDP continues to assist CJJP and other Iowa Decats who have expressed an interest in the Comprehensive Strategy planning process by conducting individualized (Decat) assessments and developing site specific Comprehensive Strategy training and technical assistance. In addition, at the state level, CJJP has developed a Request for Application (RFA), which aligns a number of CJJP's funding initiatives. The alignment makes it possible for communities that have developed a unified planning process to use one RFA to apply for funding in five different program areas, including the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act Formula Grant Program, the Iowa Juvenile Crime Prevention Community Grant Fund Program, and the Juvenile Accountability Incentive Block Grant Program (JAIBG).

This kind of outstanding comprehensive strategic planning process can be replicated in states and communities nationwide. The positive outcomes of this approach-effective service delivery and resource allocation-demonstrates the necessity for child welfare and juvenile justice systems to become integrated in their daily functioning.

Dennis M. Mondoro, the primary author of this article, is the Program Manager for the Comprehensive Strategy Initiative within the State and Tribal Assistance Division of OJJDP. For more information, contact him at 202/307-5924 or e-mail

Public Policy Update

On June 21, the House Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Select Education approved the Juvenile Crime Control and Delinquency Prevention Act (H.R. 1900) by a vote of 12-1. The bill reauthorizes the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), which provides federal funding for state juvenile justice programs and mandates certain protections for delinquent youth.

The bill, sponsored by Representatives Jim Greenwood (R-PA) and Bobby Scott (D-VA), is an improvement over previously proposed juvenile justice legislation. In an attempt to appear tough on crime, those past measures have overemphasized punishment and treated juvenile offenders more like adults.

H.R. 1900 consolidates several programs into a single block grant to the states. Grants would be made available to law enforcement groups, schools, social services providers, child abuse programs, and others. Prevention programs, which currently are funded through the Title V Community Prevention Grants program, would be combined into a block grant that includes services for young people adjudicated delinquent. Combining these two purposes in a single block grant may result in a decrease in dedicated funding for prevention activities.

Due to the advocacy of CWLA and other juvenile justice organizations, the subcommittee made improvements to the bill. Mark Witte, Associate Director of Professional Services at CWLA member agency Wedgwood Christian Youth and Family Services in Grand Rapids, Michigan, testified before the subcommittee on June 6 and reinforced the need for changes, including a prohibition on visual contact between juveniles and adults in locked facilities; a requirement that states devote at least 50% of federal juvenile justice grant funds to come back into compliance if the state is not meeting any of the core protections for youth specified in the JJDPA; and continuing the research function of OJJDP and not transferring those functions to the National Institute of Justice as had been proposed.

Some concerns still need to be addressed in the legislation. CWLA supports increased funding for delinquency prevention and supports a set-aside within the block grant for prevention activities. Furthermore, the provisions in the legislation regarding separating juveniles from adults while in jail or lock-up, and the conditions under which juveniles may be incarcerated in an adult facility, need to be strengthened to ensure juveniles are protected from abuse. H.R. 1900 now goes to the full committee. In the Senate, Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Edward Kennedy (D-MA) introduced the Children's Confinement Conditions Improvement Act, S. 1174, on July 12. This bill includes a straight reauthorization of JJDPA, which fully maintains the core requirements and the Title V prevention funding. Senator Leahy is the new chair of the Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over the legislation, and Senator Hatch is the ranking member and immediate past chair. They provide a powerful team of sponsors for the bill.

Also, Senators Joseph Biden (D-DE), Herbert Kohl (D-WI) and Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced the Juvenile Crime Prevention and Control Act, S. 1165, on July 11. This bill is similar to H.R. 1900 in that funding for delinquency prevention needs to be improved, and it contains language that weakens the requirements regarding separating juveniles from adults while in jail or lock-up and the conditions under which juveniles may be incarcerated in an adult facility.

Juvenile Justice News and Resources

New from OJJDP
Research Reviews the Link between Childhood Maltreatment and Delinquency
Preventing Delinquency Through Improved Child Protection Services, a newly released Bulletin, reviews what is known about the links between childhood maltreatment and juvenile and adult offending and examines the role child protection and prevention efforts can play in delinquency prevention and intervention. Copies are available online at

New Web Resources
A new website spotlighting the Incentive Grants for Local Delinquency and Prevention Programs, Title V of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) of 1974, offers information about the program, related training and technical assistance opportunities, eligibility criteria and program guidelines, pertinent publications, and the national evaluation of the programs developed and implemented under Title V. Visit the website at

OJJDP has also launched a site to help states comply with the JJDPA's Disproportionate Minority Confinement (DMC) requirements. The website can also be a resource to anyone interested in understanding and reducing DMC. The website is located at

Connecting Juvenile Offenders to Education and Employment
A new Fact Sheet on the Promising and Effective Practices Network (PEPNet) discusses efforts to help youth involved in the juvenile justice system prepare for economic self-sufficiency and productive citizenship by identifying and promoting effective youth development and employment programs and maintaining an extensive database of resources. Free copies of PEPNet: Connecting Juvenile Offenders to Education and Employment are available online at

ADHD and Juvenile Delinquency
A new Fact Sheet, A Treatment Study of Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, discusses the current findings of the Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and highlights core symptoms. The Fact Sheet also discusses the potential links between ADHD and juvenile delinquency. Copies are available online at

OJJDP's Comprehensive Strategy
A new Fact Sheet, Expansion of OJJDP's Comprehensive Strategy, provides background information on OJJDP's Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent, and Chronic Juvenile Offenders, an innovative initiative aimed at reducing juvenile delinquency, improving juvenile justice systems, and controlling this small group of juvenile offenders. Copies are available online at

Addressing Juvenile Bullying
A new OJJDP Fact Sheet examines physical, verbal, and psychological bullying and describes recent findings from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development on the long- and short-term effects of bullying. The Fact Sheet concludes with a discussion of the Bullying Prevention Program, an initiative designed to reduce bullying by intervening at the school, classroom, and individual levels. Copies are available online at

OJJDP Bulletins and Fact Sheets can be requested from the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse by phone at 800/638-8736, by e-mail at, or by mail at PO Box 6000, Rockville, MD 20849-6000.

Exploring the Link Between Marijuana Use and Crime in Young Adults
A new National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Research in Brief, The Rise of Marijuana as the Drug of Choice Among Youthful Adult Arrestees, discusses trends in marijuana use among booked youthful adult arrestees, ages 18-20, from 1987 through 1999, and explores trends in the mainstream population based on self-reports of past-month marijuana use recorded by the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse and Monitoring the Future programs. The report is available online at

Electronic News from NCJFCJ
The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judge's (NCJFCJ) weekly e-newsletter, Brevity on the Net, features the latest news and information from the juvenile justice field. The newsletter is an excellent resource and provides links to other related websites. To subscribe to this free newsletter, e-mail and write "subscribe" in the subject line.

Research Shows School Readiness, Child Care Prevent Crime
One of the nation's largest studies of public early childhood education programs found significant reductions in later juvenile arrests and the need for remedial classes among participants. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports on a new study showing the positive impact of quality early childhood development programs for at-risk kids. The large scale, long-term, peer-reviewed study of children enrolled as 3- and 4-year olds in the Chicago public school system's Child-Parent Centers shows participants were far less likely to be delinquent as teens, compared with a control group not enrolled in the program. Those in the program were 33% less likely to be arrested and 41% less likely to be arrested for a violent crime. Participating children were also more likely to finish high school and much less likely to be held back a grade in school or be placed in special education programs.

An abstract of the JAMA article is available online at

Reducing Crime, Saving Money
Documenting the impressive records of eight break-the-mold juvenile justice initiatives, LESS COST, MORE SAFETY: Guiding Lights for Reform in Juvenile Justice, a new report by the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), provides compelling evidence that greater success against adolescent crime is within reach and available for less than we now spend.

"Contrary to popular perceptions, we really do know how to reduce the criminality of troubled adolescents," says report author Richard A. Mendel.

Serving youth in California, Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Washington state, and Wisconsin, the profiled initiatives show that quality intervention programs-not transfer to adult courts and correctional systems or misdirected juvenile programs-reduce delinquency, ease overcrowding in juvenile detention and corrections facilities, divert delinquent youth from criminal careers, and reduce reliance on expensive "residential treatment" programs for disturbed and delinquent teens. Most importantly, these programs are making communities safer and saving taxpayers millions of dollars.

AYPF's 66-page LESS COST, MORE SAFETY report is available online at and from the American Youth Policy Forum, 1836 Jefferson Place NW, Washington, DC 20036, 202/775-9731, for $5.00. Prepaid orders only.

Prevention as Priority

A Commitment to Action for Safer Communities

The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) has acquired funding from eight sources to support a multiyear initiative to identify, promote, and anchor prevention as a means to reduce crime, violence, and drug abuse in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, and Oregon. The initiative, Embedding Crime Prevention in State Policy and Practice, will help these six states establish and sustain prevention policies and practices and make prevention the preferred choice for local governments and communities.

The initiative is being supported by the David and Lucille Packard, the Robert Wood Johnson, Annie E. Casey, General Mills, California Wellness, WT Grant, and Florence V. Burden Foundations and by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. The six states were chosen because they recognize the need for prevention and collaboration, are at a different developmental stages, and are approaching prevention from different perspectives.

All six states have begun the process of change, made a commitment to anchoring prevention in new ways of doing business, secured commitments from elected officials and agency members, and committed resources to the effort, but each is taking a different approach to the initiative. Arizona will implement social health indicators and effective prevention practices. California will define prevention for all key players and refocus state resources to better support localities. Connecticut plans to support the healthy and safe development of children. Iowa's goal is to promote positive youth development and decategorize state funding streams. Kentucky will prioritize prevention and secure funding to address key crime and substance abuse concerns. Oregon plans to ensure state planning is guided by local decisions and needs of families and youth.

The initiative's vision is to create, within five years, self-supporting movements that promote and implement prevention as the policy of choice for reducing crime, violence, and drug abuse, and ultimately build healthy communities. It will identify and promote successful strategies that establish and sustain state-level crime- and violence-prevention policies and practice, and help states prioritize prevention. NCPC's role is to research and analyze prevention topics and policy; link with local, state, and federal policymakers; provide technical assistance; and convene meetings of state teams.

For more information, visit the National Crime Prevention website at

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