1997 Regular Session
To: Juvenile Justice; Public Health and Welfare
By: Senator(s) Smith
Senate Bill 2374
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A JUVENILE JUSTICE PILOT PREVENTION PROGRAM (JJPP) WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES FOR THE PURPOSE OF AWARDING GRANTS TO COMMUNITY-BASED ORGANIZATIONS IN THE 9 COUNTIES IN MISSISSIPPI WITH THE HIGHEST INCIDENCE OF JUVENILE CRIME IN ORDER TO PROVIDE PREVENTIVE PROGRAMS WHICH QUALIFY FOR FEDERAL FUNDING UNDER THE "PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY AND WORK OPPORTUNITY RECONCILIATION ACT OF 1996" (P.L. 104-193); TO SET FORTH THE GOALS OF THE PROGRAM TO REDUCE JUVENILE CRIME AND IMPROVE THE COORDINATION OF EXISTING RESOURCES FOR PREVENTION PROGRAMS FOR JUVENILES; TO PROVIDE CERTAIN COMPONENTS FOR ELIGIBLE JJPP PROGRAMS; TO SET FORTH GRANT APPLICATION PROCEDURES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) The Legislature finds that:
(a) Juvenile crime continues to grow in many areas of Mississippi due to a number of economic and demographic factors.
(b) The purpose of the federal "Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996" (P.L. 104-193) is to end the dependence of needy families on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work and marriage, which will reduce incidences of juvenile crime;
(c) Students who are serious behavior problems in school are at risk of becoming juvenile and adult offenders;
(d) Growing numbers of children live in conditions that place them at risk of school failure;
(e) The provision of school and support services to these children and their families by public and nonprofit agencies is fragmented and does not prepare these children to learn effectively and have a successful school experience;
(f) The lack of collaboration among schools, families, churches, local agencies and other groups involved in family support and youth development activities results in the inefficient and ineffective use of resources to meet the needs of these children;
(g) Schools are dedicating an increasing amount of their time and resources to responding to disruptive and violent behavior rather than fulfilling their mission to challenge with high expectations each child to learn, to achieve and to fulfill his or her potential;
(h) Responding to the needs of students who are at risk of school failure and providing for a safe and secure learning environment are cost-effective because it enables the state to substitute preventive measures for expensive crisis intervention; and
(i) Differing local needs and local resources necessitate the development of locally generated, community-based plans that coordinate and leverage existing resources, not the imposition of uniform and inflexible, state-mandated plans.
(2) There is hereby established within the Department of Human Services the Juvenile Justice Pilot Prevention Program (JJPP). The purpose of the program is to award grants to neighborhood- and community-based organizations in the nine (9) counties in Mississippi having the highest incidences of juvenile crime in the most recent year such statistics are available. Grants shall be awarded by the Department of Human Services to establish local JJPP programs that provide for comprehensive, collaborative delivery of mentoring services by public and nonpublic agencies to minor children who are recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). These services shall be designed to qualify for federal funding as allowable work activity under Public Law 104-193, and shall include GED equivalency training, literacy training, job training and alternative school programs, and may include activities after the regular school day and activities on days that students are not required to attend school.
(3) The goals of the JJPP program are to:
(a) Reduce juvenile crime in local communities served by the program;
(b) Provide positive adult role models for school-aged children and to help supervise after-school activities;
(c) Reduce the number of students who are unsupervised after school, otherwise known as "latchkey" children;
(d) Improve the academic performance of students participating in the program;
(e) Meet the physical, intellectual, emotional and social needs of students participating in the program and improve their attitudes and behavior; and
(f) Improve coordination of existing resources and enhance collaboration so as to provide services to school-aged children effectively and efficiently.
(4) As used in this section, "school-aged children" means children enrolled in kindergarten through the twelveth grade, who are eligible for TANF assistance.
(5) The Department of Human Services shall develop and implement the Juvenile Justice Pilot Prevention (JJPP) program. The department shall:
(a) Sponsor a statewide conference each year for teams of interested representatives to provide background information and assistance regarding all aspects of the program;
(b) Disseminate information regarding the program to interested neighborhood and community groups;
(c) Develop and disseminate a request for applications to establish local JJPP programs;
(d) Provide initial technical assistance to grant applicants and ongoing technical assistance as grants are implemented;
(e) Administer funds appropriated by the Legislature;
(f) Monitor the grants funded;
(g) Revoke a grant if necessary or appropriate;
(h) Develop and implement a performance-based evaluation system to evaluate the program;
(i) Report on the program implementation to the Legislature and the Office of the Governor;
(j) Adopt any rules necessary to implement this section.
(6) A community- or neighborhood-based 501(c)(3) entity or a consortium consisting of one or more local 501(c)(3) entities and one or more local school districts may apply for a grant.
(7) Applicants for grants shall submit to the Department of Human Services an application that includes the following information:
(a) Identification of one or more counties to be served by the local JJPP program, based on a needs assessment of existing conditions for school-aged children to be served. Data used in the needs assessment may include for each county to be served by a local program (i) dropout statistics, (ii) the number and percentage of school-aged children who participate in the TANF assistance program and the federal subsidized lunch program, (iii) the number of suspensions and expulsions involving school-aged children, (iv) the number of children to be served, (v) the number and percentage of students with two (2) working parents or one (1) single parent to be served at a site; (vi) the incidence of juvenile crime in the county, and (vii) any other relevant or unique local demographic data.
Local authorities shall provide this or related information on a timely basis to local 501(c)(3) entities submitting applications to establish local JJPP programs;
(b) A three-year plan that addresses data used in the needs assessment and that includes proposed goals and anticipated outcomes of the local JJPP program. The plan shall be prepared after consultation with local schools, community organizations or groups which have as their purpose assisting or helping school-aged children who are at risk of failing in school or entering the juvenile justice system, or other appropriate groups. In addition, the three-year plan shall provide for regular collaborative efforts to seek input and advice from parents of the students being served and from other citizens who reflect the demographic conditions of the students being served;
(c) A statement of how grant funds would be used to address local problems and what other resources would be used to address the problems. This statement should include a list of services to be offered that are related to the goals and outcomes and should include plans for recruiting volunteers to assist in the program's activities; and
(d) A process for assessing on an annual basis the success of the local plan for addressing the goals of the local JJPP program.
(8) The department shall develop and disseminate a request for applications and establish procedures to be followed in developing and submitting applications to establish local JJPP programs and administering grants to establish local JJPP programs.
In reviewing grant applications, the Department of Human Services shall consider the prevalence of under-served students and families in low-income neighborhoods and in isolated rural areas in the area for which the grant is requested, the severity of the local problems with regard to children at risk of school failure and with regard to school discipline, whether the proposed program meets state standards, and the likelihood that the locally designed plan will deal with the problems successfully. During the review process, the department may recommend modifications in grant applications to applicants.
In selecting grant recipients, the Department of Human Services shall consider (a) the recommendations of the department, (b) the geographic location of the applicants, and (c) the demographic profile of the applicants. After considering these factors, the Department of Human Services shall give priority to grant applications that will serve areas that have a high incidence of juvenile crime and that propose different approaches that can serve as models for other communities. The department shall select the grant recipients prior to July 1, 1997, for local programs that will be in operation at the beginning of the 1997-1998 school year, and prior to July 1 and thereafter for the appropriate school year.
A grant recipient may request a modification of a grant or additional funds to implement a grant through the grant application process. The request shall be reviewed and accepted or rejected in the same manner as a grant application.
(9) The Department of Human Services shall provide technical assistance to grant applicants and recipients.
(10) All agencies of the state and local government, including departments of education, health departments, local mental health, mental retardation, court personnel, law enforcement agencies and cities and counties shall cooperate with the Department of Human Services and local school boards that receive grants in coordinating the JJPP program at the state level and in implementing the JJPP program at the local level.
SECTION 2. All new programs authorized in this act are subject to the availability of federal funds specifically appropriated therefor by the Legislature.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.