Improve public safety and outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system
Updated June 17, 2021
Despite recent declines in juvenile arrests and referrals, many—if not most—youth who continue to come into contact with the juvenile justice system do not pose a risk to public safety. At the same time, youth who are at the highest risk of reoffending are often not matched with appropriate and effective supervision and services needed to decrease their likelihood of future offending.
Through the American Rescue Plan (ARP), states and local communities can leverage over $125 billion in health, education, and social service funding streams to strengthen resources that can minimize young peoples’ involvement in the juvenile justice system and reduce recidivism.
|Name||Total Amount||Description||Administering Agencies||Eligible Entities||Distribution Mechanisms
|Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund||$122.7 billion||Help safely reopen schools; address learning losses due to the pandemic, particularly for vulnerable populations; and address the social, emotional, and mental health needs of students.
||Department of Education||State and local education agencies||Formula allocation, subgrants, and contracts||September 30, 2023|
|Community Mental Health Services Block Grant||$1.5 billion||Expand comprehensive community mental health services for adults and children with serious mental illness or emotional disturbances, such as screenings, outpatient services, emergency mental health treatment, and day treatment programs.||Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)||State and nonprofit mental and behavioral health agencies||Block grant||September 30, 2025|
|Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant||$1.5 billion||Plan and implement programs and activities to prevent and treat substance use disorders.||HHS||States, local governments, and nonprofit agencies||Block grant||September 30, 2025|
|Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic Expansion Grants||$420 million||Increase access to behavioral health treatment for youth and adults by expanding behavioral health clinics focusing on crisis intervention services.||Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration||Community behavioral health clinics||Competitive grant||Variable|
|Youth Suicide Prevention||$20 million||Expand early intervention and prevention services related to youth suicide.||HHS||States, local governments, and nonprofit agencies||Competitive grant||Available until expended|
|Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment||$350 million||Support programs promoting child safety from abuse through:
1. $100 million for CAPTA Title I Grants supporting state child protective service programs
2. $250 million for CAPTA Title II community-based child abuse prevention programs
|HHS||States, local governments, and nonprofit agencies||Formula grant||September 30, 2023|
|State option to provide qualifying community-based mobile crisis intervention services||85% federal matching under federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP)||Implement and expand mobile crisis intervention teams to connect people to behavioral health services.||HHS||State Medicaid agency||Federal match. States will need to submit proposals that will be subject to approval.||2027|
|Additional Support for Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services During the COVID-19 Emergency||Increase FMAP by 10%||Expand access to programs where individuals can access health and human service care in their homes and communities instead of treatment facilities.||HHS||State Medicaid agency||Federal match||March 31, 2022|
The ARP provides for an additional $350 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds for communities to address local fiscal priorities in response to the pandemic. Treasury guidance specifically allows these funds to be used for a wide range of investments that can improve youth outcomes, including enhancing educational and workforce development services; increasing evidence-based practices to support social, emotional, and mental health needs; and expanding services for child welfare-involved families and foster youth, including youth who are dual-status. State, local and tribal governments can request recovery funds directly through the Treasury’s website.
1. Pilot and expand diversion programs: Directing youth who commit low-level offenses away from the justice system and connecting them to community-based services to address their physical, behavioral health, educational, and other key needs helps reduce recidivism and improve youth outcomes. Jurisdictions can use ARP funds to pilot, strengthen, and expand both school-based and law enforcement diversion programs, particularly for youth with behavioral health needs.
2. Increase access to community and reentry services: Youth in the juvenile justice system have myriad issues, including low education levels; limited vocational and job-readiness skills; and high rates of trauma, mental illness, and substance use disorders. ARP resources can be used to expand programs and pathways that connect youth with needed education and employment services. ARP resources can also be used to increase evidence-based community services, particularly those related to mental health and substance use prevention and intervention.
3. Implement comprehensive case planning: Every youth in the juvenile justice system should have a comprehensive plan, informed by ongoing assessments, that details system interventions and supportive services necessary to meet the youth’s specific needs. Funding through the ARP can be used to create and expand pilot programs to improve collaborative case planning and service coordination for youth in the juvenile justice system, which is crucial to reduce recidivism and set them on a path for success.
- Transforming Juvenile Justice Systems to Improve Public Safety and Youth Outcomes
- Details six innovative strategies states and localities can take to reform their juvenile justice systems
- Rethinking the Role of the Juvenile Justice System: Improving Youth’s School Attendance and Educational Outcomes
- Summarizes key research findings regarding the impact of the juvenile justice system on youth educational achievement
- Locked Out: Improving Educational and Vocational Outcomes for Incarcerated Youth
- Provides policy recommendations for jurisdictions to improve college and career readiness for incarcerated youth
- On Track: How Well Are States Preparing Youth in the Juvenile Justice System for Employment?
- Outlines how well juvenile correctional agencies are preparing youth for employment
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