September | October 2014

OJJDP Partners With HUD To Improve Civil Legal Aid for Youth

On September 16, 2014, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a partnership between OJJDP and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD will offer new grants to support collaborations between HUD-funded organizations, civil legal aid programs, and public defender offices.

The grant-funded collaborations will focus on expunging and sealing juvenile records—improving the chances that reentering youth will be able to obtain degrees, find work, and secure housing. The announcement was made during remarks delivered at the Legal Services Corporation’s 40th anniversary celebration in Washington, DC.

Approximately 60,000 youth are confined in juvenile detention and correctional facilities with hundreds of thousands more on probation. Contact with the juvenile justice system has a significant impact on adolescents’ development and their prospects for long-term success. As a result, the juvenile reentry process should start before youth return to their communities, as soon as they come into contact with the juvenile justice system.

In addition to focusing on the expungement and sealing of juvenile records, the juvenile reentry legal assistance program will develop collateral consequences checklists and training on collateral consequences for children who have been in the juvenile justice system, their parents and guardians, and for stakeholders in the juvenile justice system, including judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and others.

The approximately $1.8 million allocated to the program will support these activities through Public Housing Authorities working with stakeholders in the community, including courts, prosecutors, public defenders, and community-based organizations.

"At the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, we believe that involvement with the justice system should benefit young people and not create additional obstacles in their lives," said OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee. "Through our partnership with HUD, we are providing youth who are returning to their communities from out of home placement with a fresh start and a chance to earn a degree, find work, and secure a place to live."

Resources:

Information about other OJJDP reentry initiatives, including the Second Chance Act Two-Phase Juvenile Reentry Demonstration Program: Planning and Implementation and Second Chance Act Strengthening Relationships Between Young Fathers and Their Children: A Reentry Mentoring Project is available online.