Weekly Notes: The MacArth-nership; training program on services for crossover youth

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*** There are 368 days left in Obama’s first term, and there is still no nominee to serve as administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The new Acting Administrator, Melodee Hanes, hit the ground running with the announcement of a partnership between the agency and the Chicago-based John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

OJJDP and MacArthur will split the $2 million tab on a venture to address targeted juvenile justice reforms, with an eye toward improving services for juveniles who come into delinquency court from the child welfare system.

MacArthur, which started making juvenile justice grants in the mid-90s and developed the Models for Change initiative in the mid-2000s, is now the third foundation with which OJJDP has partnered in recent memory. The agency is supporting some of the sites participating in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Reclaiming Futures Initiative, and partnered in 2010 with the Annie E. Casey Foundation to establish eight new sites for its Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI).

***Four grantees have already been determined to carry out the OJJDP-MacArthur partnership, but the competition to determine who benefits from the work have just begun. A look at the four projects…

University of Massachusetts Medical School: The school’s National Youth Screening and Assessment Project will do technical assistance work for two state-level probation agencies on using risk assessment tools to improve case planning. The point person for the project is Laura Guy, although we’re sure risk assessment guru Thomas Grisso will be prominently involved.

Click here to read about the project and the application for state probation candidates.

Policy Research, Inc.: Its National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice will provide adolescent development and mental health training for juvenile correctional and detention staff. The idea is to take up to ten sites and instill mental health training as a continuing piece of employee training, not simply train the staff in place at the time.

Click here for an overview or to apply.

Center for Children’s Law and Policy: The D.C.-based, Mark Soler-led organization will provide technical assistance on “evidence-based strategies to measurably reduce racial and ethnic disparities within the juvenile justice system.”

CCLP is looking for two local jurisdictions to work with on DMC projects. Each site will receive assistance from the organization, and up to $50,000 over two years to work on disparity issues.

Click here to apply.

Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps: Will assist in efforts to implement community-based services for juveniles with a history of maltreatment. The center will work with four jurisdictions over a year to develop services for “crossover” youths.

For more information and to apply, click the “MacArthur/DOJ Grant” link on this page.

***Also on the crossover youth front: Georgetown University’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform is offering certificate programs for multi-system integration.  There are two programs for public sector leaders (July 6-13 and Oct. 10-17) and for private sector leaders (Nov. 7-14).  

The deadline for public sector sessions is March 22; for the private sector training it’s July 17. For more information and to apply, click here.

***JJ Today found President Obama's call on all states to raise the dropout age to 18, made during the State of the Union address, very interesting. Most states currently allow teens to legally leave the school system at age 16 or 17, although a number of states have pushed up to 18 in recent years.

The notion that this would lower the number of students who drop out seems to us to hinge on two premises:

1) That students are cognizant of the legal dropout age when they are mulling the idea of dropping out.

2) That states with a legal dropout age of 18 have fared better than others at keeping older teens in school.

We'll be looking into that over the next weeks, because certainly, such a widespread increase in the dropout age would expose more students to the juvenile justice system. If any of our readers have thoughts on the matter, let us know.