U.S. Department of Justice, Office Of Justice Programs, Innovation - Partnerships - Safer Neighborhoods
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Working for Youth Justice and Safety
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    Juvenile Accountability Block Grants Program
Frequently Asked Questions About the JABG Program

1. What is the Juvenile Accountability Block Grants program?

The JABG program awards grants to states to address the growing problem of juvenile crime by encouraging accountability-based reform at the state and local levels.

2. Who is eligible?

Grants are awarded to the states, which are, in turn, required to pass through a majority of the funding (75 percent) to eligible units of local government. (In Louisiana, parish sheriffs are considered a unit of local government for the purposes of this program.)

3. What kinds of things can states and localities use the money for?

Funds may be used for the following 17 purposes:

  • Developing, implementing, and administering graduated sanctions for juvenile offenders (Purpose Area 1).

  • Building, expanding, renovating, or operating temporary or permanent juvenile corrections or detention facilities, including training of personnel (Purpose Area 2).

  • Hiring juvenile court judges, probation officers, and court-appointed defenders and special advocates, and funding pretrial services (including mental health screening and assessment) for juvenile offenders, to promote the effective and expeditious administration of the juvenile justice system (Purpose Area 3).

  • Hiring additional prosecutors so that more cases involving violent juvenile offenders can be prosecuted and backlogs reduced (Purpose Area 4).

  • Providing funding to enable prosecutors to address drug, gang, and youth violence problems more effectively and for technology, equipment, and training to assist prosecutors in identifying and expediting the prosecution of violent juvenile offenders (Purpose Area 5).

  • Establishing and maintaining training programs for law enforcement and other court personnel with respect to preventing and controlling juvenile crime (Purpose Area 6).

  • Establishing juvenile gun courts for the prosecution and adjudication of juvenile firearms offenders (Purpose Area 7).

  • Establishing drug court programs to provide continuing judicial supervision over juvenile offenders with substance abuse problems and to integrate administration of other sanctions and services for such offenders (Purpose Area 8).

  • Establishing and maintaining a system of juvenile records designed to promote public safety (Purpose Area 9).

  • Establishing and maintaining interagency information-sharing programs that enable the juvenile and criminal justice systems, schools, and social services agencies to make more informed decisions regarding the early identification, control, supervision, and treatment of juveniles who repeatedly commit serious delinquent or criminal acts (Purpose Area 10).

  • Establishing and maintaining accountability-based programs designed to reduce recidivism among juveniles who are referred by law enforcement personnel or agencies (Purpose Area 11).

  • Establishing and maintaining programs to conduct risk and needs assessments of juvenile offenders that facilitate effective early intervention and the provision of comprehensive services, including mental health screening and treatment and substance abuse testing and treatment, to such offenders (Purpose Area 12).

  • Establishing and maintaining accountability-based programs that are designed to enhance school safety (Purpose Area 13).

  • Establishing and maintaining restorative justice programs (Purpose Area 14).

  • Establishing and maintaining programs to enable juvenile courts and juvenile probation officers to be more effective and efficient in holding juvenile offenders accountable and reducing recidivism (Purpose Area 15).

  • Hiring detention and corrections personnel and establishing and maintaining training programs for such personnel, to improve facility practices and programming (Purpose Area 16).

  • Establishing, improving, and coordinating pre-release and post-release systems and programs to facilitate the successful re-entry of juvenile offenders from state and local custody in the community (Purpose Area 17).

4. Who's administering the program in my state?

The Governor of each state has designated an agency to administer the JABG program.

5. How do I contact that agency?

For contact information, consult the list of State JABG Coordinators.

6. What's the deadline for applications?

States must submit their funding applications to the Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) by the end of February, to be eligible for funding in the same fiscal year. Each designated state agency determines when subgrant applications will be due.

7. What does my state have to do to qualify for the money?

JABG requires that states provide OJJDP with information about the following:

  • Activities to be carried out (purpose areas).

  • Criteria for assessing the effectiveness of activities (performance measures).

  • Assurances that law, policies, and/or programs that provide for a system of graduated sanctions are in effect at the time of application or not later than 1 year after the application is submitted.

Units of local government are also required to submit the above-mentioned information in their application to the designated state agency administering JABG funds.

8. How much money will my state get?

Each state will receive a base amount of 0.5 percent of the funds available, with the remainder of the funds divided among the states, based on a state's population under 18 years of age relative to the national population under 18. The total amount available changes for each year of the program.

Each state is required to subgrant not less than 75 percent of the state's allocation to units of local government. However, states may apply to OJJDP for a waiver of this requirement if the state demonstrates that the state government incurs more than 25 percent of the costs of juvenile justice administration. For example, if a state can certify that it bears 90 percent of the financial burden of juvenile justice administration, the state could request a reduction of the required local passthrough from 75 percent to 10 percent.

9. How does a unit of local government apply?

The designated state agency will be responsible for determining local funding allocations and putting in place a procedure for units of local government to apply for funds, including establishing deadlines for the submission of local applications.

10. If a state does not qualify to receive funding, how does a unit of local government qualify for funding?

If a state does not qualify or apply for JABG funds in a given fiscal year, OJJDP will distribute up to 75 percent of the state's allocation for that fiscal year and provide grants to specially qualified units that meet state or local eligibility requirements.

11. How much money is my unit of local government eligible for?

Each unit of local government's share of the state funds will be determined by calculating the sum of three-fourths of the locality's relative share of law enforcement expenditures (based on the Census Bureau's Census of Government Survey) and one-fourth of the locality's relative share of Part I violent crime offenses (based on the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports) for the 3 most recent years for which data are available.

12. Is there a minimum level of funding for units of local government?

Yes. If an allocation for a unit of local government is less than $10,000 during a fiscal year, the amount is retained by the state and must be expended to provide services to local governments within the 16 purpose areas of the program.

13. Does my unit of local government have to pay any part of the costs of projects funded by these grants?

Yes. Overall, the total federal share of a project cannot exceed 90 percent of the total program cost. Consequently, the state or local recipient of an award under this program must contribute a cash match of 10 percent of the total program cost (which is determined by the federal cost plus the cash match). In the case of construction of permanent juvenile corrections facilities, the cash match is 50 percent of the total program cost.

14. What sources can my unit of local government use to pay the cash match?

Funds appropriated by states and units of local government can be used for the match. Other sources include private funding, asset forfeiture contributions, and funds obtained through the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, the Appalachian Regional Development Act, and the Equitable Sharing Program (a federal asset forfeiture distribution program).

15. Can any part of the funds be used for administrative costs?

Yes. A state may use up to 5 percent of the total grant fund award for administrative costs related to the JABG program. A unit of local government may also use up to 5 percent of its JABG grant funds for administrative costs related to the JABG program. All funds used for administrative costs are subject to the matching requirement.

16. If our state or unit of local government has already appropriated funds for a project, can we use JABG funds instead?

No. The law requires that federal grant funds be used to supplement existing funds for program activities and not replace or supplant funds that have been appropriated for the same purpose. This nonsupplantation requirement applies to all state and local public agencies.

17. Are there any other requirements for eligibility?

All grantees and subgrantees (both states and local units of government) must establish Advisory Boards and submit coordinated enforcement plans for activities to be carried out under the purpose areas; include criteria for assessing effectiveness of activities (performance measures); provide assurances about a system of graduated sanctions; document court involvement in the development of the application; and submit annual assessment reports (based on performance measures). Advisory Board membership includes police, sheriff, prosecutor, state or local probation, juvenile court, schools, business, and religious-affiliated, fraternal, nonprofit, or social services organizations that are involved in crime prevention activities.

18. If our unit of local government does not wish to apply for JABG funds, can we have the county or regional planning unit apply for and administer funds on our behalf?

Yes. A unit of local government that otherwise would qualify for an award can waive its right to a direct award and designate a larger governmental unit (within which it is located or is contiguous) or a regional planning unit (which plans for and administers funds on behalf of two or more local units) to receive and administer the award on its behalf.

19. May nonprofit organizations apply for a grant under this program?

Grants and subgrants may be awarded only to states and units of local government. However, the law encourages states and units of local government to contract with private, nonprofit entities and community-based organizations to develop and administer accountability-based sanctions under all purpose areas.

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