Youth Services Insider will delve further into the first budget proposed by President Joe Biden in the coming weeks, but wanted to list off a few notable items that jumped off the page from child welfare and juvenile justice.
Major boost to state grants: States receive a portion of what’s called the Title II formula grants each year in exchange for their participation in the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). Biden is calling for $250 million under this program, which is more than four times the amount it has been receiving of late.
That would be a big boost to JJDPA, which was reauthorized just a few years ago after more than a decade of haggling in Congress. Several states have dropped out of participation in recent years; a bigger funding incentive could remedy that.
Alternatives to incarceration: A $100 million account to establish a new program for encouraging community-based alternatives, something the Obama administration had once proposed that was never funded by Congress.
Indigent defense: $40 million for “high quality defense and reentry legal services for juveniles across the Nation.”
Girls in the system: A tiny line item for years, Biden would up this account to $15 million.
For a full scan of the juvenile justice budget, visit page 40 of this document.
Grants to reduce racial and ethnic disproportionality: The administration is proposing a $100 million competitive grant program to “advance reforms to reduce the overrepresentation of children and families of color in the child welfare system and reorient systems towards prevention.”
This idea is not surprising, as recently appointed Children’s Bureau head Aysha Schomburg indicated that addressing racial disproportionality in child welfare would be an early priority for the Biden administration. The phrasing of the program has changed a bit since Biden first mentioned it in a recent proclamation for National Foster Care Month, which described it as “$100 million in competitive grants for State and local child welfare systems to advance racial equity and prevent unnecessary child removals.”
For more details on the overall Biden proposal for the Administration for Children and Families, which oversees child welfare funding and policy, click here.