Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $981,034)
Douglas County is seeking funding to assist current efforts to remain in compliance with the core requirements of the JJDPA. Douglas County is in a unique position of a being governed by state legislation that supports three of the four core requirements of the Title II, Part B, Formula Grants program: deinstitutionalization of status offenders, separation of juveniles from adult inmates, and the removal of juveniles from adult jails and lockups (Nebraska Revised Statute [N.R.S.] §43-250). While Douglas County maintains compliance with these requirements, it struggles to reduce racial and ethnic disparities (RED) within the juvenile justice system. In recent years, community stakeholders have mobilized resources to address many critical issues in the juvenile justice system. Despite the numerous resources and assets of the service array in Douglas County, there are considerable gaps and systemic barriers in the early prevention and intervention services for youth and families of color in our community. Layered on top of these systemic problems is a network of services that is limited in scope and capacity, with difficulties consistently and effectively collaborating and communicating. Structural racism, housing discrimination, and inequity have created pockets of entrenched generational poverty. The projects proposed under this application will allow Douglas County to implement direct programs and services for at-risk, system-involved, and non-system-involved youth of color to identify and reduce racial and ethnic disparities.
The next steps for Douglas County to take in addressing these issues will involve implementing programs, with the assistance of juvenile justice stakeholders, partners, and grassroot community leaders, to impact the six factors that contribute to RED: (1) system factors, (2) social factors, (3) family/parental factors, (4) education factors, (5) individual factors, and (6) economic factors. (Kakar 2006). Data from local sources clearly illustrates the prevalence of these factors in Douglas County, especially in our communities of color.
Douglas County proposes to implement with this funding the following activities: (1) expansion of restorative justice and mediation services; (2) expansion of crisis response services for youth and their families; (3) adoption of the Phoenix Curriculum within DCYC and community-based organizations; (4) availability of short-term residential beds to keep youth with emergent needs out of detention; (5) continued implementation of community-based stability services; and (6) increase of credible messengers/violence interrupters to work with the community’s highest-risk youth.