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Press Advisory: First Comprehensive Juvenile Justice Plan Released

The Connecticut Judicial Branch, the state Department of Children and Families and stakeholders representing parents, advocates, and public and private agencies today released their first comprehensive strategic plan for juvenile justice in Connecticut. The five-year blueprint focuses on prevention and partnerships with parents, schools and the community.

A copy of The Connecticut Juvenile Justice Strategic Plan: Building Toward a Better Future is available through the Judicial Branch’s website at www.jud.ct.gov.

“This report offers concrete recommendations for improving services to children who are in the juvenile justice system,” Chief Court Administrator William J. Lavery said. “As important, it also provides a blueprint for reaching out to at-risk children, before they see the inside of a police station or juvenile court facility.”

William H. Carbone, executive director of the Judicial Branch’s Court Support Services Division, added: “Significantly, stakeholders in the juvenile justice process agreed to one vision, one mission and one set of guiding principles. This shared view is essential if we are all to move together to help our kids.”

DCF Commissioner Darlene Dunbar said the plan “represents the collaboration of many partners in the juvenile justice system. It is meaningful in that it provides a framework for improvements in how we, as a state, meet the needs of the children and youth in our state.”

Many of the strategies presented in the plan require no additional funding. Others will require funding, and an implementation team will develop a budget impact report.

The report, facilitated by the Child Welfare League of America, outlines several goals and strategies, including:

  • Partnering with parents and communities for delivery of locally based services;
  • Reducing the number of children entering the juvenile justice system through prevention services, and partnering with parents for better outcomes;
  • Eliminating minority overrepresentation in the juvenile justice system, in part through the establishment of juvenile review/diversion boards in urban areas;
  • Developing and enhancing programs, policies and procedures for children and youths already involved in the juvenile justice system, and in particular, for girls;
  • Partnering with education professionals to address disruptive behaviors in school and to avoid court involvement when appropriate;
  • Improving services for status, or “Family With Service Needs,” offenders (children who have run away from home, for example). Access to safe, secure alternative programs and centers is essential in this area since as of Oct. 1, 2007, legislation will prohibit judges from ordering that these children be detained;
  • Providing age-specific and developmentally appropriate services for 16- and 17-year-olds.

For further information, please contact Rhonda Stearley-Hebert, manager of communications at the Judicial Branch, at 860-757-2270, or Gary Kleeblatt, DCF director of communications, at 860-550-6305.


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