(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 preventive services.
(h) An independent, trained advocate when intervention is necessary, and a skilled guardian or caretaker in a safe environment when alternative placement is necessary.
(i) 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 dependency and delinquency systems 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 dependency and delinquency systems 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 dependency and delinquency systems, 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.
The Legislature intends that detention care, in addition to providing secure and safe custody, will promote the health and well-being of the children committed thereto and provide an environment that fosters their social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development.
(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 that discourages further delinquent behavior. 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) SERIOUS OR HABITUAL JUVENILE OFFENDERS.—The Legislature finds that fighting crime effectively requires a multipronged effort focusing on particular classes of delinquent children and the development of particular programs. This state’s juvenile justice system has an inadequate number of beds for serious or habitual juvenile offenders and an inadequate number of community and residential programs for a significant number of children whose delinquent behavior is due to or connected with illicit substance abuse. In addition, a significant number of children have been adjudicated in adult criminal court and placed in this state’s prisons where programs are inadequate to meet their rehabilitative needs and where space is needed for adult offenders. Recidivism rates for each of these classes of offenders exceed those tolerated by the Legislature and by the citizens of this state.
(6) 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 and the most intensive postrelease supervision and case management. Residential facilities shall have no more than 165 beds each, including campus-style programs, unless those campus-style programs include more than one level of restrictiveness, provide multilevel education and treatment programs 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, rehabilitative treatment, and punitive efforts of the juvenile justice system should avoid the inappropriate use of correctional programs and large institutions. The Legislature finds that detention services should exceed the primary goal of providing safe and secure custody pending adjudication and disposition.
(7) 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.
(8) GENDER-SPECIFIC PROGRAMMING.—
(a) The Legislature finds that the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation needs of youth served by the juvenile justice system are gender-specific.
(b) Gender-specific programming refers to unique program models and services that comprehensively address the needs of a targeted gender group. Gender-specific services require the adherence to the principle of equity to ensure that the different interests of young women and men are recognized and varying needs are met, with equality as the desired outcome. Gender-specific programming focuses on the differences between young females’ and young males’ roles and responsibilities, positions in society, access to and use of resources, and social codes governing behavior. 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.