Yesterday the National Juvenile Justice Network held an issues forum and lobby day on Capitol Hill. Twenty-five juvenile justice leaders from around the country came to Washington to hear from federal policy experts and visit their congressional delegations.
The focus of the day was on reauthorizing the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), protecting federal juvenile justice funding, and naming an administrator to head the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. CWLA participated in the event along with other national partners.
Noah Bookbinder, Legislative Counsel for Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT) and the Senate Judiciary Committee spoke to the group about the latest developments on these issues and said while there are many challenges there are also opportunities. He thanked the participants, encouraged them to continue with the efforts, and expressed confidence there will be progress.
Legislation to reauthorize the JJDPA has not been introduced yet in this Congress but Sen. Leahy is committed to moving ahead and passing a strong bill. Funding for juvenile justice has taken center stage recently as the House Appropriations Committee passed legislation that slashes federal support. The Senate has not yet taken up its appropriations bill but is expected to oppose these cuts. The position of the Administrator for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has been vacant for three years. The participants in the forum and other juvenile justice advocates are urging Congress to weigh in and ask President Obama to name a permanent administrator.