County Coalition Responds to Legislation on Juvenile Justice Realignment – California State Association of Counties

August 30, 2020


Contact: Sara Floor, Communications Manager
916-926-8769; email: [1]

SACRAMENTO – A coalition of California County Representatives
respond to new developments in legislation related to Juvenile

The California State Association of Counties (CSAC), the Chief
Probation Officers of California (CPOC), the County Behavioral
Health Directors Association (CBHDA),  the Urban Counties of
California (UCC), and the Rural County Representatives of
California (RCRC) are deeply troubled by the problematic, rushed
bills (SB
[3]) to close the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

This legislation lacks County stakeholder agreement, resulting in
a severely flawed model. The bills ignore vital input on
important policy points to help youth offered by counties– the
very entities being tasked with carrying out the care, custody,
and rehabilitation of the most complex youth cases in the state.
Moving existing, critical funding streams for counties to the
purview of a new state office will disrupt the flow of services
for youth, jeopardizing long-standing, successful programs proven
to help the youth we serve because California county budgets are
stretched razor thin by the COVID-19 pandemic and record
shattering wildfires. 

“The bills create a structure that will harm our ability to
implement responsive services to rehabilitate youth, and further
hurt the positive and trauma-informed work already being done at
the local level for the vast majority of youth in the justice
system,” said Karen Pank, Executive Director of the Chief
Probation Officers of California.

California’s Counties take their administration of justice
responsibilities very seriously and dedicate resources, training
and intensive programming to serve youth. Counties worked with
the Administration to craft a solution that would have kept youth
closer to home and drive improved outcomes for all youth while
also ensuring the funding and local authority required to
implement this historic undertaking. Counties urge the
Legislature to hit the pause button before creating a new state
bureaucracy with broad authority over the entire existing
juvenile justice continuum, which risks negatively impacting the
nearly 95 percent of youth in the juvenile justice system
currently served at the local level.

“Counties are immersed in responding to COVID-19, a fiscal
crisis, and wildfires. Now is not the time to rush a massive
shift in responsibility for the juvenile justice system that does
not reflect critical input from counties nor provide the tools
needed for success,” stated Graham Knaus, Executive Director of
California State Association of Counties. 

California State Association of Counties (CSAC) is the voice
of California’s 58 counties at the state and federal level.
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  1. ^  (
  2. ^ SB 823 (
  3. ^ AB 1868 (
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