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Children ’ s Justice Act

Children ’ s Justice Act

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Children ’ s Justice Act

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  1. Children’s Justice Act Program Overview Program Instruction Review March 26, 2013 Catherine Nolan, Division Director Melissa Lim Brodowski, Child Welfare Program Specialist Office on Child Abuse and Neglect Children’s Bureau, Washington, DC

  2. Overview of Presentation • Legislation and History • Program Overview • Use of Funds/Distribution of Funds • Authorized Activities • Application Submission • 3-Year Assessment • Task Force • Expenditures and Extensions • Program Monitoring • Technical Assistance

  3. CJA Legislation and History • Section 107(a) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (P.L. 111-320), reauthorized in 2010 • History • Since Fiscal Year 2000, $17 million in CJA funds have been made available annually for distribution to the 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands. • Funding comes from the Crime Victims' Fund, which collects fines and fees charged to persons convicted of Federal crimes. The Fund is administered by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Victims of Crime and the grants are awarded by the Administration on Children, Youth and Families. • States are funded based on a Formula with a base amount and taking into account the child population in each State.

  4. CJA Program Overview • In accordance with Section 107(a) of CAPTA, grants awarded are to be used to develop, establish and operate programs designed to improve: • the assessment and investigation of suspected child abuse and neglect cases, including cases of suspected child sexual abuse and exploitation, in a manner that limits additional trauma to the child and the child's family; • the assessment and investigation of cases of suspected child abuse-related fatalities and suspected child neglect-related fatalities; • the investigation and prosecution of cases of child abuse and neglect, including child sexual abuse and exploitation; and • the assessment and investigation of cases involving children with disabilities or serious health-related problems who are suspected victims of child abuse or neglect.

  5. CJA Program Overview • CJA is formula grant program. Every year a new Program Instruction is issued that outlines requirements, assessment needs, application submission/due dates and tentative funding amounts. • To be eligible, States must be eligible for the CAPTA Basic State Grant and are required to establish and maintain a multidisciplinary Task Force on children's justice. • States must apply for the funds and meet certain eligibility requirements, including receipt of the CAPTA State Grant and establishment of a CJA Task Force as outlined in the legislation. • In FY2013, $17 million is available.

  6. Use of Funds From the Legislation: • activities to improve the investigative, administrative, and judicial handling of cases of child abuse and neglect, including child sexual abuse and exploitation, as well as cases involving suspected child maltreatment related fatalities and cases involving a potential combination of jurisdictions, such as intrastate, interstate, Federal-State, and State-Tribal, in a manner which reduces the additional trauma to the child victim and the victim's family and which also ensures procedural fairness to the accused; • support of experimental, model, and demonstration programs for testing innovative approaches and techniques which may improve the prompt and successful resolution of civil and criminal court proceedings or enhance the effectiveness of judicial and administrative action in child abuse and neglect cases, particularly child sexual abuse and exploitation cases, including the enhancement of performance of court appointed attorneys and guardians ad litem for children, and which also ensure procedural fairness to the accused; and • reform of State laws, ordinances, regulations, protocols, and procedures to provide comprehensive protection for children, which may include those children involved in reports of child abuse or neglect with a potential combination of jurisdictions, such as intrastate, interstate, Federal-State, and State-Tribal, from child abuse and neglect, including child sexual abuse and exploitation, while ensuring fairness to all affected persons.

  7. Distribution of Funds • Funds will be allocated to States based on a formula: a base amount of $50,000 will be awarded to each State; an additional amount will be awarded bearing the same ratio to the total funds remaining as the number of children under the age of 18 in each State bears to the total number of children under 18 in all the States. • 15 percent will be reserved by the Attorney General for CJA grants to Native American Tribes.

  8. Authorized Activities Reform State systems and improve the processes by which States respond to cases of child abuse and neglect, particularly child sexual abuse and exploitation and cases of suspected child abuse or neglect related fatalities through: • Training • Organizational Support • Research and Evaluation • Collaboration Efforts • Tools and protocol development • Support of Child Fatality Reviews • Support of Citizen Reviews • Coordination with court improvement programs

  9. Application Submission • All applications are two parts: 1) A program performance report (tasks, initiatives, and work completed using funds in the previous year); and 2) An application for proposed activities (tasks, initiatives, and work to be completed in the upcoming year).

  10. Application Submission • A program performance report should focus on the programming, outputs and outcomes of CJA activities and projects for the prior year. Reports should include: • Clear statement of the needs of the State as identified by the Task Force; • Activities, outputs and outcomes as they relate to the needs identified, including implementation of evidence based trainings and programming; and • Results of evaluation work of the CJA projects (both process and program evaluations including program efforts to address child well being).

  11. Application Submission • The application should include a description of the activities to be supported with CJA grant funds: • Project goals and objectives • Approaches to be used • A clear budget for each activity • Evaluation efforts related to the project and • The extent to which the activity contributes to the reform of State systems handling cases of child abuse and neglect/and furthers implementation of State Task force recommendations.

  12. Application Submission • The Governor’s letter • Include each of the assurances listed in the PI in the letter • Update and check all dates on the letter • Avoid needing any edits to the letter since it is often difficult to get • Provide certifications as required. • Submit excess funds letters. • Submit by May 31, 2013. Emailed applications must include a scanned version of the signed signature page(s).

  13. 3-Year Assessment • Assessments are conducted in 3-year intervals and must include: • REVIEW of the current system • INDENTIFICATION and EVALUATION of areas needing reform • RECOMMENDATIONS for improvement to the current system • Assessment documentation must include that a study was conducted and the method in which it was conducted. • The documentation must identify all Task Force recommendations adopted and/or comparable alternatives designed to carry out the purposes of the Act; describe the actions yet to be taken and timetables for implementing each recommendation or comparable alternative; or be sufficient to support a showing that the State is making substantial progress in adopting Task Force recommendations or comparable alternatives.

  14. 3-Year Assessment • Assessment documentation must show that the Task Force has comprehensively: • reviewed and evaluated State investigative, administrative and both civil and criminal judicial handling of cases of child abuse and neglect, including child sexual abuse and exploitation, as well as cases involving suspected child maltreatment related fatalities and cases involving a potential combination of jurisdictions, such as intrastate, interstate, Federal-State, and State-Tribal; and • made policy and training recommendations in each of the categories described in Section 107(e) of the Act.  The task force may make such other comments and recommendations as are considered relevant and useful. • States which have not previously established eligibility and States which are required to submit a 3-Year Assessment with their application must provide: • A Statement of the Task Force's function/purpose • The date the Task Force was established

  15. Task Force • Purpose: To provide systems improvement through interdisciplinary and interagency collaboration. • The legislatively-required Task Force is critical to the CJA program -- it drives the work of the program through the initial and 3-year assessment and its recommendations. • The 2010 CAPTA Reauthorization made updates to the Task Force member requirements.

  16. Members of the Task Force • Law Enforcement Community • Criminal Court Judge(s) • Civil Court Judge(s) • Prosecuting Attorney(s) • Defense Attorney(s) • Child Advocate(s) (Attorney(s) for Children) • Court Appointed Special Advocate Representative(s), where such programs are in operation • Health Professional(s) • Mental Health Professional(s) • Child Protective Service Agencies • Individual(s) experienced in working with children with disabilities • Parents and Representative of Parent Groups • Adult former victims of child abuse and or neglect; and • Individuals experienced in working with homeless children and youths (as defined in section 725 of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11434a)).

  17. Expenditures and Extensions • States must obligate all FY 2011 CJA funds by September 30, 2013.  • States must liquidate all FY 2011 CJA funds by December 31, 2013. • No-cost extension requests will not be approved except in the event of a natural occurrence of destruction or distress.  These circumstances are defined in 45 CFR § 95.22.  

  18. Program Monitoring • Federal Project Officer provides ongoing monitoring and reviews and approves applications for funding • Grants Office provides fiscal oversight • Annual Grantees meeting • Ongoing communication (email, phone, listserv) • NRCCPS provides training and technical assistance and works Federal Staff to address the needs of the State

  19. NRCCPS • The National Resource Center for Child Protective Services is one of 10 national resource centers funded by the Children’s Bureau to provide free onsite training and technical assistance to State and Tribal child welfare agencies. CJA support: • Newsletters • Webinars • Meeting support • Material Development • Contacts: Kathy Simms and Theresa Costello --

  20. Contact Information • Melissa Lim Brodowski Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, Children’s Bureau Phone: 202-205-2629 Email: • Christie Matlock Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, Children’s Bureau Phone: 202-205-7970 Email: