(1) GENERAL PROTECTIONS FOR CHILDREN.—It is a purpose of the Legislature that the children of this state be provided with the following protections:
(a) Protection from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
(b) A permanent and stable home.
(c) A safe and nurturing environment which will preserve a sense of personal dignity and integrity.
(d) Adequate nutrition, shelter, and clothing.
(e) Effective treatment to address physical, social, and emotional needs, regardless of geographical location.
(f) Equal opportunity and access to quality and effective education, which will meet the individual needs of each child, and to recreation and other community resources to develop individual abilities.
(g) Access to prevention programs and services.
(h) Gender-specific programming and gender-specific program models and services that comprehensively address the needs of a targeted gender group.
(2) SUBSTANCE ABUSE SERVICES.—The Legislature finds that children in the care of the state’s delinquency system need appropriate health care services, that the impact of substance abuse on health indicates the need for health care services to include substance abuse services where appropriate, and that it is in the state’s best interest that such children be provided the services they need to enable them to become and remain independent of state care. In order to provide these services, the state’s delinquency system must have the ability to identify and provide appropriate intervention and treatment for children with personal or family-related substance abuse problems. It is therefore the purpose of the Legislature to provide authority for the state to contract with community substance abuse treatment providers for the development and operation of specialized support and overlay services for the delinquency system, which will be fully implemented and utilized as resources permit.
(3) JUVENILE JUSTICE AND DELINQUENCY PREVENTION.—It is the policy of the state with respect to juvenile justice and delinquency prevention to first protect the public from acts of delinquency. In addition, it is the policy of the state to:
(a) Develop and implement effective methods of preventing and reducing acts of delinquency, with a focus on maintaining and strengthening the family as a whole so that children may remain in their homes or communities.
(b) Develop and implement effective programs to prevent delinquency, to divert children from the traditional juvenile justice system, to intervene at an early stage of delinquency, and to provide critically needed alternatives to institutionalization and deep-end commitment.
(c) Provide well-trained personnel, high-quality services, and cost-effective programs within the juvenile justice system.
(d) Increase the capacity of local governments and public and private agencies to conduct rehabilitative treatment programs and to provide research, evaluation, and training services in the field of juvenile delinquency prevention.
(a) The Legislature finds that there is a need for a secure placement for certain children alleged to have committed a delinquent act. The Legislature finds that detention should be used only when less restrictive interim placement alternatives prior to adjudication and disposition are not appropriate. The Legislature further finds that decisions to detain should be based in part on a prudent assessment of risk and be limited to situations where there is clear and convincing evidence that a child presents a risk of failing to appear or presents a substantial risk of inflicting bodily harm on others as evidenced by recent behavior; presents a history of committing a serious property offense prior to adjudication, disposition, or placement; has acted in direct or indirect contempt of court; or requests protection from imminent bodily harm.
(b) The Legislature intends that a juvenile found to have committed a delinquent act understands the consequences and the serious nature of such behavior. Therefore, the Legislature finds that secure detention is appropriate to provide punishment for children who pose a threat to public safety. The Legislature also finds that certain juveniles have committed a sufficient number of criminal acts, including acts involving violence to persons, to represent sufficient danger to the community to warrant sentencing and placement within the adult system. It is the intent of the Legislature to establish clear criteria in order to identify these juveniles and remove them from the juvenile justice system.
(5) SITING OF FACILITIES.—
(a) The Legislature finds that timely siting and development of needed residential facilities for juvenile offenders is critical to the public safety of the citizens of this state and to the effective rehabilitation of juvenile offenders.
(b) It is the purpose of the Legislature to guarantee that such facilities are sited and developed within reasonable timeframes after they are legislatively authorized and appropriated.
(c) The Legislature further finds that such facilities must be located in areas of the state close to the home communities of the children they house in order to ensure the most effective rehabilitation efforts, postrelease supervision, and case management. The placement of facilities close to the home communities of the children they house is also intended to facilitate family involvement in the treatment process. Residential facilities shall have no more than 90 beds each, including campus-style programs, unless those campus-style programs include more than one treatment program using different treatment protocols and have facilities that coexist separately in distinct locations on the same property.
(d) It is the intent of the Legislature that all other departments and agencies of the state shall cooperate fully with the Department of Juvenile Justice to accomplish the siting of facilities for juvenile offenders.
The supervision, counseling, and rehabilitative treatment efforts of the juvenile justice system should avoid the inappropriate use of correctional programs and large institutions.
(6) PARENTAL, CUSTODIAL, AND GUARDIAN RESPONSIBILITIES.—Parents, custodians, and guardians are deemed by the state to be responsible for providing their children with sufficient support, guidance, and supervision to deter their participation in delinquent acts. The state further recognizes that the ability of parents, custodians, and guardians to fulfill those responsibilities can be greatly impaired by economic, social, behavioral, emotional, and related problems. It is therefore the policy of the Legislature that it is the state’s responsibility to ensure that factors impeding the ability of caretakers to fulfill their responsibilities are identified through the delinquency intake process and that appropriate recommendations to address those problems are considered in any judicial or nonjudicial proceeding. Nonetheless, as it is also the intent of the Legislature to preserve and strengthen the child’s family ties, it is the policy of the Legislature that the emotional, legal, and financial responsibilities of the caretaker with regard to the care, custody, and support of the child continue while the child is in the physical or legal custody of the department.
(7) GENDER-SPECIFIC PROGRAMMING.—
(a) The Legislature finds that the needs of children served by the juvenile justice system are gender-specific. A gender-specific approach is one in which programs, services, and treatments comprehensively address the unique developmental needs of a targeted gender group under the care of the department. Young women and men have different pathways to delinquency, display different patterns of offending, and respond differently to interventions, treatment, and services.
(b) Gender-specific interventions focus on the differences between young females’ and young males’ social roles and responsibilities, access to and use of resources, history of trauma, and reasons for interaction with the juvenile justice system. Gender-specific programs increase the effectiveness of programs by making interventions more appropriate to the specific needs of young women and men and ensuring that these programs do not unknowingly create, maintain, or reinforce gender roles or relations that may be damaging.
(8) TRAUMA-INFORMED CARE.—The Legislature finds that the department should use trauma-informed care as an approach to treating children with histories of trauma. Trauma-informed care assists service providers in recognizing the symptoms of trauma and acknowledges the role trauma has played in the child’s life. Services for children should be based on an understanding of the vulnerabilities and triggers of trauma survivors that traditional service delivery approaches may exacerbate, so that these services and programs can be more supportive and avoid retraumatization. The department should use trauma-specific interventions that are designed to address the consequences of trauma in the child and to facilitate healing.
(9) FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT.—The Legislature finds that families and community support systems are critical to the success of children and to ensure they are nondelinquent. Therefore, when appropriate, children who can safely be held accountable when served and treated in their homes and communities should be diverted from more restrictive placements within the juvenile justice system. There should be an emphasis on strengthening the family and immersing the family members in their community support system. The department should develop customized plans that acknowledge the importance of family and community support systems. The customized plans should recognize a child’s individual needs, capitalize on their strengths, reduce their risks, and prepare them for a successful transition to, and unification with, their family and community support system. The child’s family must be considered in the department’s process of assessing the needs, services and treatment, and community connections of the children who are involved in the juvenile justice system or in danger of becoming involved in the system.