Federal Juvenile Justice Appropriations

For every dollar invested in community-based youth development and prevention efforts, we dramatically reduce delinquency and save taxpayers up to eight dollars in future costs. In addition, community-based and family-centered treatment for youth has been shown to be far more effective and cost-efficient than incarceration. Research shows that system-involved youth are at risk of emotional and physical injury unless systems invest in options and alternatives that keep youth separate from adult offenders and prevent/limit the use of locked confinement for less serious offenders. 

Budget Cuts

Federal appropriations to states, localities, and tribes for key federal juvenile justice programs have been cut dramatically in the last decade. The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) Title II State Formula Grants Program supports statewide efforts to implement the JJDPA and coordinate efforts for compliance with the core requirements, delinquency prevention, and juvenile justice reform. Between FY02 and FY17, Title II has been cut by nearly 38%.

The JJDPA Title V Local Delinquency Prevention Grants Program is the only federal program designed to engage law enforcement and community boards in delinquency prevention at the local level in coordination with a statewide plan. Between FY02 and FY17, Title V has been slashed more than 85%. During several of these years, nearly all funding was carved out for non-JJDPA purposes.

The Juvenile Accountability Block Grant Program (JABG) provides juvenile justice practitioners and systems with support for graduated sanctions and continuums of care to address the needs of adjudicated youth. These funds stood at $249.5 million in FY02. In FY14, FY15, FY16, and FY17, however, this crucial source of federal dollars was completely eliminated from Congress' budget.

Despite the fiscal climate, federal funds to support state and local juvenile justice standards and improvements must be considered essential investments. These monies support programs based in evidence, proven to prevent delinquency, reduce recidivism, and increase public safety – critical investments that are worth the cost.

Check out Act4JJ's Federal Funding Chart to learn more about Federal Appropriations.