Community Connection Program
History of VJCCCA
In 1993, the General Assembly received a number of requests to fund the construction of secure detention facilities for the pre-dispositional placement of juveniles. Because of this, legislators requested that the Commission on Youth study issues of access to alternative, non-secure pre-dispositional placements for juveniles. The study concluded that there were few non-secure pre-dispositional options available throughout the Commonwealth.
Simultaneously, Virginia was undergoing a reform of the statutes pertaining to the juvenile justice system. With increased emphasis on accountability and more severe sanctioning, many saw the need to intervene early in the lives of juveniles involved in the juvenile justice system in order to prevent their further offending and deeper involvement in the system. Few programs and services existed however, to provide such interventions.
In 1995, the General Assembly enacted the Virginia Juvenile Community Crime Control Act (VJCCCA) that restructured funding for local juvenile justice programming. Block grant funding was discontinued for all programs except secure detention. Established block grant funds formed the basis for VJCCCA. The General Assembly appropriated additional funding so that all localities could implement programs and services to meet the needs of juveniles involved in the juvenile justice system. As a component of the legislation, all localities were required to expend an amount equal to the sum of their fiscal year 1995 expenditures for pre-dispositional and post-dispositional block grant alternatives to secure detention. This required local funding is called the Maintenance of Effort (MOE).
All VJCCCA programs must promote public safety, hold juveniles accountable for their behaviors (sanctions), or build skills or provide treatment to improve a juveniles’ behavior.
The First Offender’s program and the Diversion Program has been established to provide services to juveniles in a collaborative effort that is coordinated with the VJCCCA Counselor, Court Services, and the schools. Weekly school visits, monthly home visits, and weekly group meetings are part of these programs.