HD42 - Assessment of the Virginia Juvenile Community Crime Control Act Formula and the Role of Offices on Youth

Executive Summary:
The 1999 Budget Bill requested the Commission on Youth to assess the potential role of Offices on Youth in the coordination, local oversight and administration of the Virginia Juvenile Community Crime Control Act (VJCCCA) programs. In FY 00, the VJCCCA provided $29.5 million to localities across the Commonwealth. These funds support locally-designed community-based programs for court-involved youth. Local governments determine the administrative structure for the program. Services are developed based on an assessment of the needs of the target population.

Local governments also determine their need for an Office on Youth and, once established, Office activities are locally driven within certain statutorily established requirements. The state currently provides $2.3 million to localities in support of 49 Offices serving 53 localities. Offices on Youth are required to conduct local needs assessment, coordinate youth programs and promote delinquency prevention strategies. Changes in departmental policy have shifted Office on Youth activity away from planning and coordination to service delivery. There is tremendous variation in the experience, skill level and Office activity across the state. While the VJCCCA requires local planning and Offices on Youth are similarly required to conduct needs assessments, there is no formal linkage between the two Department of Juvenile Justice programs. Only ten Offices on Youth have any formal involvement in the VJCCCA at the local level. Although Office on Youth directors are desirous of an expanded role with the VJCCCA, the current VJCCCA coordinators uniformly reject these views. However, the ambiguity of the role for Offices on Youth and lack of integration between the two programs present missed opportunities for improved efficiency and accountability at the state and local level.