Governor McAuliffe has announced that Virginia is one of only three states in the country to receive a grant of more than $700,000 from the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to support its efforts to improve public safety by strengthening and reforming the reentry system and services for court-involved youth in Virginia.
The federal funds the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) will receive, combined with matching sources, will give the agency more than $1 million to dedicate to this initiative.
"This grant will further my administration’s efforts to transform our juvenile justice system so that young people who make mistakes can reenter society ready to live productive and healthy lives,” said Governor McAuliffe. “This is a significant step forward for the safety of our Commonwealth and the communities to which the young people in our juvenile justice system will return."
Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran added, "The grant will promote greater public safety and better outcomes for youth leaving our system, by increasing the training and technical assistance for DJJ’s staff, invigorating our efforts to engage families and supportive adults in reentry planning, expanding the delivery of evidence-based treatment, and supporting our implementation of a truly statewide reentry system."
"Youth leaving Virginia’s correctional centers face unique challenges when returning to the community,” noted DJJ Director Andrew Block. “This funding will help address those challenges by training staff to be better service providers and brokers, and helping DJJ leverage public and private partnerships to provide paroled youth with rigorous and effective vocational, educational and rehabilitative opportunities."
"The majority of youth involved in the juvenile justice system have mental health, substance abuse, child welfare and education needs that contribute to the likelihood of reoffending,” said Valerie Boykin, DJJ’s Deputy Director for Community Programs, who together with DJJ Reentry Specialist Ashaki McNeil applied for the grant. “The funds will support meaningful partnerships with other child-serving agencies, encourage the support of family and other caring adults involved in a youth’s life, and increase public safety by lowering the chance for the youth to commit another offense."