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Juvenile Justice System Improvement (SMART) Project

Graduated Sanction, Court-Ordered, and Group Foster Care Services and Funding Work Group - Action Plan & Recommendations

On April 22, 2019, the Iowa Legislature passed House File 766 (signed on May 3, 2019, by Governor). The bill directed the Iowa Department of Human Rights, Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning (CJJP), to convene and facilitate a work group to review and develop a plan to transfer the administration of Graduated Sanctions and Court-Ordered Services and funding and the oversight of Group Foster Care placements for eligible children from the Department of Human Services (DHS) to State Court Administration (SCA).  

The plan was to ensure that SCA has the capacity, resources, and expertise to manage the funding and services effectively.

The Action Plan and Recommendations were submitted on December 13, 2019, and were developed and agreed upon after thoughtful discussion, research, review of data, and consultation with local stakeholders and national experts.

The implementation of these recommendations will enhance efficiencies and allow for services and treatment to be targeted and individualized for the needs and risk levels of the youth. The right youth must receive the right service at the right time to be safe, healthy, successful, and prepared for adulthood.

1.  Action Plan and Recommendations

2.  Report Appendices

Juvenile Justice System Improvement (SMART) Project

Iowa is one of only three states to receive a 2-year federal planning grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) for the purpose of developing a comprehensive, statewide plan to improve Iowa's juvenile justice system.  The grant provides an opportunity to partner with national experts from the Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG), National Youth Screening and Assessment Partners (NYSAP), and the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown (CJJR) to conduct an extensive assessment of Iowa’s juvenile justice system in order to identify strengths and areas for improvement.

The anticipated outcomes of this project are reduced recidivism, improved outcomes for youth, increased public safety, and reduced disproportionate minority contact through the development of a comprehensive plan which will standardize policies and practices and ensure the quality and effectiveness of services that youth receive.

The SMART Leadership Team is composed of juvenile justice stakeholders from all three branches of government.  This team, with guidance from national consultants and local practitioners, is tasked with reaching consensus on priorities for improvement, identifying necessary partners, and developing an ambitious but achievable plan for the future of Iowa's juvenile justice system.