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COMMUNITY PROGRAMS

Virginia Juvenile Community Crime Control Act (VJCCCA)

In 1995, the Virginia General Assembly passed the Virginia Juvenile Community Crime Control Act (VJCCCA) "to establish a community-based system of progressive intensive sanctions and services that correspond to the severity of offense and treatment needs." (Code of Virginia, §16.1-309.2) The purpose of the VJCCCA is "to deter crime by providing immediate, effective punishment that emphasizes accountability of the juvenile offender for his actions as well as reduces the pattern of repeat offending" (Code of Virginia, §16.1-309.2) VJCCCA is meant to:

  • Be a community-based system;
  • Be made up of progressive intensive sanctions and services;
  • Correspond with the severity of the offense and treatment needs; encourage communities to develop, implement, operate and evaluate programs and services responsive to juvenile offender needs and crime trends in their community;
  • Provide an adequate level of services available to every Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court;
  • Allow local autonomy and flexibility in addressing juvenile crime;
  • Encourage public and private partnership in the design and delivery of services;
  • Emphasize parental responsibility, through services that hold juveniles and families accountable for their behavior;
  • Facilitate a locally driven statewide planning process for allocating state resources; and
  • Provide adequate service capacity

This legislation changed the way Virginia administers community programs and substantially increased funding for community-based juvenile justice programs. Since January 1996, funding is allocated to each local governing body (an independent city or county) through a formula based on a variety of factors including the number and types of arrests in a locality and the average daily cost for serving a child. To ensure that localities did not renege on their prior commitment to youth, they must maintain the same level of contributions to these programs as they made in FY1995 in order to receive state funding.

Participation in VJCCCA is voluntary. In order to receive funding, the locality must contribute the same amount of funding they did in FY1995 and they must have a plan for how they will use the funding approved by the Board of Juvenile Justice. All 134 cities and counties in Virginia participate in VJCCCA. Some localities have combined programs and funding across jurisdictions. Development of the plan requires consultation with judges, court service unit directors and Comprehensive Services Act Community Policy and Management Teams (an interagency body that manages the expenditure of state funding to serve children and families). The local governing body designates who will be responsible for developing and managing the plan. In over half the localities, this responsibility has been delegated to the court service unit.

Rules for using VJCCCA funding are straightforward. Capital expenditures, secure detention and indirect costs are not allowed. All funding must be used to serve “juveniles before intake on complaints or the court on petitions alleging that the juvenile is a child in need of services, child in need of supervision or delinquent.” ( §16.1-309.2) Local governing bodies may provide services directly or purchase them from other public or private agencies. There are no specific types of programs or services required. The intent is for programs and services to be developed to fit the needs of each particular locality.

Positive Aspects and Benefits of VJCCCA

  • Judges have additional alternative sentencing options;
  • Communities have received additional funding to create or enhance programs that they have needed for some time;
  • Localities have greater flexibility to design programs to meet the needs of their communities;
  • The number and variety of programs and services available for youth has increased in most communities and
  • Programs and services appear to be serving more youth in their own community