In the last Congress, the Family Justice Act of 2010, H.R. 6361, was introduced on September 29, 2010 and referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor. We anticipate that the bill will soon be reintroduced in 2011.
The Family Justice Act will provide necessary support and funding to better engage families in the juvenile justice system. The successful rehabilitation of youth is dependent on stable family structures and sustained reintegration into the community, which is more likely to be successful when the juvenile justice system and families involved work together.
If you agree that over-incarceration and practices that exclude youth and families from decision-making do not serve our youth or help make our communities safer; if you agree that devoting more resources to effective juvenile justice programs including alternatives to detention, rehabilitative services, and family inclusion will better serve our communities; then please contact your representatives TODAY and urge them to cosponsor H.R. 6361.
Sign the petition below to urge your Representative to take positive steps towards repairing our juvenile justice system and restoring families and communities by supporting the Family Justice Act!
The Family Justice Act will improve rehabilitative efforts by providing non-profit organizations the tools and resources needed to partner with juvenile justice agencies to monitor juvenile facilities and provide incarcerated youth and their families with increased positive engagement in the system.
The bill establishes a demonstration grant program for nonprofit organizations to partner with juvenile justice agencies to create a monitoring panel with representation from a wide range of stakeholders including, incarcerated and recently incarcerated youth at the facility, families of incarcerated youth, youth/family-oriented non-profits with a criminal justice basis, state government, youth advocates, educational and mental health providers, and child welfare officials among others. The monitoring panel will be empowered to conduct a review and assessment of the juvenile facility, including confidential interviews of youth and facility staff, and will make recommendations to facility administrators to improve policies and practices, to increase communication, access and engagement between families, incarcerated youth and facility staff and to help youth successfully transition back into their community.
Failures in communication, eroded trust, and feelings of futility in effectuating change have all been cited as barriers to family involvement in the juvenile justice system-barriers that hinder rehabilitation and can further strain relationships between incarcerated youth and their families. Families and youth often feel aliened from a system that demands changes in behavior but fails to provide assistance with or access to strong support networks or resources to address underlying issues that would empower families to assist in the rehabilitation of youth in the system.
The Family Justice Act is a significant step forward in juvenile justice reform. By incorporating the very voices most directly impacted by the policies and practices of juvenile facilities, this bill will increase communication and collaboration between juvenile justice system stakeholders to promote better outcomes for system-involved youth and their families.
Please help protect our youth and support the Family Justice Act today.
Thank you for your consideration.