Chief Probation Officers of California Cautions that May Revise Budget Does Not Provide for Adequate Support for the Historic Realignment of High Needs Teens and Young Adults Transitioning from State Facilities (DJJ) to Local Facilities
DJJ Realignment Unlike Any Realignment the State has Ever Attempted with the Least Amount of State Support
Sacramento, California, May 12, 2023 – The Chief Probation Officers of California (CPOC) continues to highlight the need for better support from the state to best ensure safety and minimize disruption to the teens and young adults being transferred to local counties in this historic and never been done before realignment.
“Probation Departments throughout California have continued to build on our history of successfully implementing policy change by using our expertise to be innovative and creative to address the monumental needs of this realignment despite barriers that are still in place and a lack of full support from the state,” said Karen Pank, CPOC executive director. “To truly commit to making this realignment a success, the state must provide the specialized supports counties need for an effective transition and not walk away at this critical juncture. Our mission is to help each youth leave the system and get onto a healthy pathway in our communities which is why we continue to ask the state to provide the right resources to support these high needs teens and young adults.”
Background on Historic DJJ Realignmen:
SB 823 was introduced as a last-minute gut-and-amend in
2020 that was then quickly adopted into law as it did not
address the supports or resources needed to
effectively fully transition the teens and young adults from
state supervision back to the counties.
CPOC opposed SB 823 for reasons we shared in a 2020
letter: “Today, in the final hours of the
Legislative Session, county governments and our probation
departments are being required to accept a sensitive and vital
responsibility – one that shapes the future paths of youth in
our juvenile justice system – in a form that is unworkable,
does not reflect county or probation input on critical aspects,
and cannot assure delivery of improved outcomes for the young
people we are being asked to serve. The State is attempting to
reduce costs and transfer liability by shifting the remainder
of the entire juvenile justice system responsibility to county
governments without giving us the necessary authority and
flexibility to respond to local conditions… The State cannot
expect local practitioners to fulfill this responsibility
without taking into account our needs and expertise – an
expertise that counties have demonstrated successfully among
the nearly 90 percent of the youth (all but those with most
serious and complex treatment needs) currently being
rehabilitated under counties’ care.”
Since 2020, counties have not seen much change from the
state with the continual lack of recognition that these youth
and young adults have complex and serious treatment
needs that require adequate funding and supports so no
young person falls through any gaps and we can maintain a
steady transition and environment.
- This is unlike any other realignment the state has ever attempted as the state essentially has taken the program they built over decades and then quickly closed it down. DJJ has been there because for this small cohort of young adults there were no local options for the specialized services and treatments they needed or sometimes placing them locally would create an unsafe environment for the youth at county juvenile facilities.
- Now, under the state’s plan, they are taking their
centralized and specialized programming that they have operated
for decades and instead decentralize it across counties
throughout the state regardless of the staffing shortages,
recruitment challenges, resources, programs or secure treatment
facilities available in those counties.
- Past realignments were different. The adult realignment and the previous juvenile realignment did not send anyone at the state level back to the locals and they did not outright eliminate the system at the state level. In addition, the state partnered closely with those locally that had to implement the realignments and were in partnership throughout implementation. That is not the case in this situation. The state is closing its doors and they are sending the youth and young adults in their care to counties all over the state.
For more information or interviews, please contact Laura Dixon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Chief Probation Officers of California, are an association of all 58 counties with a shared identity as law enforcement leaders. We are committed to a research-based approach to public safety that promotes positive behavior change. Our leadership guides policy and practice in the areas of prevention, community-based corrections, secure detention and direct human services. Our goal is to prevent crime and delinquency, reduce recidivism, restore victims and promote healthy families and communities. We proudly serve our Counties and Courts.