OJJDP and its predecessor agencies1 came into operation during the due process reform period of juvenile justice change described in Chapter 2 and reflected a new federal commitment to help state and localities strengthen their juvenile justice systems to make them more fair and effective (Matsuda and Foley, 1981). Congress established OJJDP to provide immediate and comprehensive action by the federal government. OJJDP was given a broad mandate to provide technical assistance and training, conduct a centralized research and evaluation effort, develop national standards, and coordinate federal activities related to the treatment of juvenile offenders and those at risk of entering the juvenile justice system. It was also given authority to provide formula grants to participating states and territories to help them meet the goals of JJDPA and develop their juvenile justice programs.

Although formula funds could be applied to a wide variety of delinquency prevention and intervention programs, receipt of this funding was tied to compliance with core requirements. The original JJDPA included two core protection requirements. Subsequent revisions to the JJDPA expanded the list of core mandates to the four that exist today (see Box 10-1). In order to receive formula funds from OJJDP, states must submit a plan every three years, which guides the development, implementation, and funding of programs to address the core requirements of JJDPA and improves state juvenile justice systems. Demonstrating compliance with the requirements necessitated the creation of adequate systems for monitoring jails, detention facilities, and correctional facilities (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2010). States receiving formula funds are required to distribute most of the monies to local jurisdictions.

Total funding for OJJDP from 1974-2010 is shown in constant 2010 dollars in Figure 10-1. In the early years, funds for the State Formula Grant Program (also known as Title II, Part B) constituted about two-thirds of OJJDP’s budget. These formula funds were awarded to states to encourage the separation of juveniles from adult inmates, the diversion of juveniles from the juvenile justice system to community-based alternatives to confinement, and the development of new and effective approaches to the treatment of juvenile offenders.

In the 1980s and 1990s, when state policies and programs were “getting tough” on juveniles (see Chapter 2), OJJDP continued to support


1 In 1912, the Children’s Bureau was created to investigate and report on juvenile courts. The Division of Juvenile Delinquency Services was created under the Children’s Bureau 40 years later. With the passing of the 1961 Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Offenses Control Act, the Office of Juvenile Delinquency was established within the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) of 1974 replaced previous legislation and established the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) within the Department of Justice to oversee efforts in the United States to prevent juvenile delinquency and improve the quality of juvenile justice (Matsuda and Foley, 1981).

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