CHN: Funding for At-Risk Youth Cut

The House of Representatives voted November 9 to approve the conference report funding the Departments of State, Justice, and Commerce and other agencies for fiscal 2006 by a vote of 397-19. The Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) appropriations bill (H.R. 2862) includes funding for Juvenile Justice programs at $311.7 million, compared to $346.5 million appropriated for fiscal 2005.
While this is more funding than was proposed in the President’s budget (which called for cutting Juvenile Justice funding nearly in half) this bill still leaves several programs under-funded. The Senate is expected to approve the conference report next week.

The cuts to juvenile justice are part of multi-year trend. For example, the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant (JABG), funded at $50 million, has been steadily cut since FY 2002, when it was funded at almost $250 million. JABG funds gang and youth violence reduction programs such as the Multi-Systemic Therapy program, which reduces rates of re-arrest by 25-70 percent through a comprehensive approach that addresses family, peer, school, and neighborhood factors.

Title V Local Delinquency Prevention grants have also been steadily declining and are funded at $65 million (compared to $95 million in FY 2002) and most of this is earmarked. The sorts of programs funded with Title V include after-school programs for unsupervised children and teenagers during the hours in which they are mostly likely to get into trouble. Currently it is estimated that 14 million children and teenagers are unable to participate in these programs due to lack of funding.

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