CWLA and other national juvenile justice leaders have come together to organize a petition drive urging Congress to restore critical juvenile justice funding. This past July, the House Appropriations Committee approved funding levels totaling only $123 million for juvenile justice programs in FY 2012 – a 55% reduction from FY 2011 and a more than 70% cut from FY 2010. Specifically, the House Appropriations Committee plan would decrease funding that supports states juvenile justice programs by more than 35% and eliminate two other key programs all together, one which focuses on prevention and the other that supports improvements in detention facilities. The Senate is now considering this legislation.
These reductions will undermine federal efforts in juvenile justice, and jeopardize improvements essential to protecting our nation’s communities and most at-risk youth. Cuts of this magnitude will hurt kids and families and endanger public safety by resulting in more children in dangerous, costly lock-ups, greatly increasing risks of suicide, sexual and physical abuse, and disconnection from family, positive support, education and the workforce.
The petition urges Congress to reject the House cuts and adopt funding levels for these initiatives as close as possible to those included in the President’s budget. This effort is being done in partnership with Spark Action, an internet site for stories, news and tools for action by and for children and youth.