Juvenile Justice Incentive Grant Program

Grant Overview

In 2011, the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform was created to study Georgia’s criminal justice system and was charged by Governor Nathan Deal with recommending policy changes. On December 18, 2012, the Council released their final report to the Governor. Per the recommendations of the report and in keeping with Governor Deal’s goal of increasing public safety through a more effective juvenile system, during the 2013 legislative session, Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law House Bill 242, landmark legislation that will improve Georgia’s juvenile justice system through innovative practices and methods proven to yield positive results. At that time, Governor Deal and the Georgia General Assembly appropriated $5 million to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) for the purpose of creating effective community programs to serve youth who are currently being committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice and/or sent to Short-Term Programs as a sanction. This is known as the Juvenile Justice Incentive Grant (JJIG) Program and in State Fiscal Year 2014, $7.62 million was appropriated for the program. CJCC and the Juvenile Justice Incentive Grant Program Funding Committee (appointed by Governor Nathan Deal) administer the JJIG, which is a statewide competitive grant program. The program continues to provide funding and technical support for juvenile courts to deliver evidence-based treatment programming for juvenile offenders in their home communities. The JJIG funding aims to develop and sustain programs that address the needs of youth who are typically committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

During the first year of funding, a total of 1,122 youth were served through community based services. During the second year of funding, a total of 1,666 youth were served through community based services. CJCC and the Funding Committee are committed to keeping Governor Deal’s goal by continuing the funding of evidenced-based programming for youth in the community. The final report for the third year of funding will be available soon.

Evaluation Reports

A summary of the year one program accomplishments can be found here.  

A summary of the year two program accomplishments can be found here

A summary of the year three program accomplishments can be found here

Target Population and Evidence-Based Programs

The JJIG Program offers funding and technical support for a set of nationally recognized treatment programs appropriate for youth scoring moderate- to high-risk on the Pre-Disposition Risk Assessment (PDRA). The PDRA was adopted for use in Georgia in 2014 and is designed to measure a child’s risk of recidivating. The assessment criterion reflects JJIG’s focus on delinquent youth who may face out-of-home placement. The treatment programs have been deemed “promising” and “effective” at addressing juvenile criminal behavior by crimesolutions.gov, an evidence-based program registry sponsored by National Institute of Justice and Office of Justice Programs. Allowable treatment programs funded by JJIG include Functional Family Therapy (FFT), Thinking for a Change (T4C), Aggression Replacement Training (ART), Multisystemic Therapy (MST), Seven Challenges (7C), and Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT).

National research findings indicate two primary drivers of program effectiveness in reducing juvenile recidivism: delinquency risk and implementation quality. Programs that prioritize services for higher-risk youth and maintain better implementation quality, including fidelity to a given program model, yield the best outcomes. Model fidelity is founded in the Fidelity Principle of the Eight Principles of Effective Intervention as outlined by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) and the Crime and Justice Institute (CJI). While a program may be ‘evidence-based,’ the outcomes are most effective when the program adheres to model fidelity, or adheres to the curriculum as designed by the developers. To ensure model fidelity, there should be proper training and ongoing support for staff. Per the expertise of associates from CJI, fidelity to program model integrity includes three parts, including: (1) training of staff, (2) supervision and coaching of staff, and (3) adherence to Principles of Effective Intervention. Research on adhering to model fidelity demonstrates reductions in recidivism can be realized when the program is implemented as designed; however, when there are deviations from the model, recidivism reductions are not often achieved and in some instances recidivism rates have even increased (Washington State Institute of Public Policy, 2004, 2010). Georgia’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) is committed to assisting Juvenile Justice Incentive Grantees with the implementation of evidence-based programs through coaching and feedback on model fidelity and general programmatic operations.

In 2013, DJJ, in cooperation with the Juvenile Justice Reform Funding Committee, contracted with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia to assist the committee with implementing the grant evaluation plan and serve as evaluator for the JJIG program. To carry out its responsibilities to the committee, the Institute has coordinated its work with the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) and DJJ. Faculty and staff in the Institute’s Survey Research and Evaluation Unit are using a mixed-methods design, collecting quantitative and qualitative data to better understand program outputs, grantee processes, and local and state outcome data. In addition, the Institute developed standardized protocols to collect consistent data about targeted state- and county-level outcomes, including individual level commitment and programmatic information across grantees. The Institute of Government is using systematic data collection and monitoring to assess the attainment of grant objectives and also to create a sustainable framework for data-informed decision-making at the state and local levels during and after the grant period. To promote sustainability, the Institute is leveraging existing data systems, like Georgia’s Juvenile Justice Data Clearinghouse (juveniledata.georgia. gov) and DJJ’s Juvenile Tracking System (JTS), to inform its research and evaluation. The overall evaluation design includes three key features: (1) descriptive data to examine structural and programmatic variations among funded Georgia counties, (2) broad-spectrum sitelevel monitoring and technical assistance, and (3) outcome comparisons among funded Georgia counties to assess the relationships between the grant program outcome statistics and commitment and/or recidivism rates across the state. 

Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants are limited to units of local governments.

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