As an organization that centralizes its work around supporting and developing programs for juvenile justice reform, CJJR frequently plays an important role in child welfare-related public policy. Members of CJJR and social justice speakers sponsored by the Center have spoken in support of juvenile justice across the country. Center Director Shay Bilchik in particular has testified many times in front of the United States Congress on issues ranging from youth rehabilitation services to individual Congressional Acts. The following selection documents these presentations and speeches.
Bilchik, S. “Addressing Disparity and Disproportionality: Lessons from Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice.” Presentation delivered at MA Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative Second Annual Conference, Marlborough, Massachusetts, September 22, 2009.
Research confirms that there is disproportionate representation of African American children and families in the United States’ child protective services systems such that leads to disproportionately negative outcomes for the families involved. This presentation outlines potential reasons behind these disparities and recommends various Child Welfare Practice Responses for dealing with current Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) with the juvenile justice system.
Bilchik, Shay. “The Case to Raise the Age in North Carolina.” Keynote address presented at Steering Youth Away from Crime: Community Forums on Putting the Juvenile Back in Juvenile Justice, Charlotte, North Carolina, March 19, 2009.
The juvenile justice system was created in recognition that children and adolescents were different than adults on a neurological basis. Criminal activity in youth is most often in the form of a one-time offense and this activity is generally committed in the short term. Research has supported the claim that prosecution in the adult criminal justice system has a comparatively more damaging impact on adolescents than prosecution in the juvenile justice system. This presentation therefore makes the case for raising the age of youth incarcerated in the North Carolina adult correctional system as to allow youth more time to develop and mature. Findings from recent legislation in Connecticut and Wisconsin support similar legislation in North Carolina from both a child welfare and a cost effectiveness perspective.
Bell, William. “The Role of Philanthropy in Shaping Public Policy.” Keynote speech presented at a Waldemar A. Nielsen Chair in Philanthropy event, Washington, DC, February 19, 2009.
William Bell, President and CEO of Casey Family Programs, spoke at a 2009 social justice forum on the role of philanthropy in shaping public policy. His presence at this forum was sponsored by CJJR. In his statement, Bell talked about social justice as the core idea of America’s democratic philosophy, opening discussion on the role of philanthropy in the non-profit sector. Equal Voices, a family-led national movement to improve the economic well-being of families, emerged as the Casey Foundation’s response to the question of social empowerment for those in poverty. With government and public policy integrated into philanthropic strategies, we can make national progress on the path of social reform.
Bilchik, Shay. “Empowering Communities to Combat Gang Crime: The Youth PROMISE Act.” Statement given at the Youth Violence Summit, Washington, DC, December 3, 2008.
Center Director Shay Bilchik ascertained that “it is never too early and almost never too late to intervene to prevent juvenile delinquency” in his speech at the 2008 Youth Violence Summit. Bilchik’s statement went on to discuss his personal experiences with gang crime as a former youth prosecutor, as well as research on warning signs for juvenile crime that can lead to early interventions against gang violence. Bilchik’s conclusion was one of support for The Youth PROMISE Act as an addition to a reauthorized JJDPA and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Bilchik, Shay. “The Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs Oversight.” Testimony presented at a hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, Washington, DC, September 18, 2008.
In a testimony before Congress, Center Director Shay Bilchik addressed current management of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and offered his recommendations on ways in which to strengthen OJJDP and improve the United States juvenile justice system. Recommendations included significantly increasing OJJDP’s support to states to comply with the JJDPA and actively engaging the wide range of individuals, organizations, and entities with expertise in the juvenile justice field to support OJJDP, among others. The intention of these improvements to the OJJDP was to provide much-needed help to youth and families struggling in the system and benefit society as a whole by helping to reduce juvenile delinquency.
Bilchik, Shay. “Reform Efforts and Progress of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services.” Testimony presented before the Committee on Human Services of the District of Columbia City Council, Washington, DC, February 14, 2008.
Center Director Shay Bilchik presented a testimony about critical issues regarding reform efforts and progress of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services. This statement gives a background on recent improvements in the United States juvenile justice system. It follows by highlighting effective youth intervention programs focusing on social competency skills, a long-term approach rather than a “simple” short-term “fix,” and the involvement of the family as a substitute for popular residential “get tough” programs. Bilchik encourages the continuation and improvement of initiatives that treat children and youth in an age-appropriate manner and provide them with developmentally appropriate, evidenced-based services and supports.
Bilchik, Shay. “The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act: Protecting Our Children and Our Communities.” Testimony presented before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Washington, DC, December 5, 2007.
Center Director Shay Bilchik testified before the Senate on behalf of “The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act: Protecting Our Children and Our Communities.” In his statement, Bilchik presented his belief that the continuing success of effective juvenile crime prevention and control depends in part on Congress strengthening the provisions of the JJDPA and enhancing funding toward the implementation of these programs. The rest of the testimony goes on to outline this strategy for strengthening the JJDPA’s key provisions, hitting upon topics such as deinstitutionalization, decreasing the number of youth in adult jail and lock-ups, disproportionate minority contact, and a new focus on mental health services and child victimization.