The department shall encourage each of the juvenile justice circuit boards to propose at least one innovation zone within the circuit for the purpose of implementing any experimental, pilot, or demonstration project that furthers the legislatively established goals of the department. An innovation zone is a defined geographic area such as a circuit, commitment region, county, municipality, service delivery area, school campus, or neighborhood providing a laboratory for the research, development, and testing of the applicability and efficacy of model programs, policy options, and new technologies for the department.
(1)(a) The juvenile justice circuit board shall submit a proposal for an innovation zone to the secretary. If the purpose of the proposed innovation zone is to demonstrate that specific statutory goals can be achieved more effectively by using procedures that require modification of existing rules, policies, or procedures, the proposal may request the secretary to waive such existing rules, policies, or procedures or to otherwise authorize use of alternative procedures or practices. Waivers of such existing rules, policies, or procedures must comply with applicable state or federal law.
(b) For innovation zone proposals that the secretary determines require changes to state law, the secretary may submit a request for a waiver from such laws, together with any proposed changes to state law, to the chairs of the appropriate legislative committees for consideration.
(c) For innovation zone proposals that the secretary determines require waiver of federal law, the secretary may submit a request for such waivers to the applicable federal agency.
(2) An innovation zone project may not have a duration of more than 2 years, but the secretary may grant an extension.
(3) Before implementing an innovation zone under this subsection, the secretary shall, in conjunction with the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, develop measurable and valid objectives for such zone within a negotiated reasonable period of time. Moneys designated for an innovation zone in one operating circuit may not be used to fund an innovation zone in another operating circuit.
(4) Program models for innovation zone projects include, but are not limited to:
(a) A forestry alternative work program that provides selected juvenile offenders an opportunity to serve in a forestry work program as an alternative to incarceration, in which offenders assist in wildland firefighting, enhancement of state land management, environmental enhancement, and land restoration.
(b) A collaborative public/private dropout prevention partnership that trains personnel from both the public and private sectors of a target community who are identified and brought into the school system as an additional resource for addressing problems which inhibit and retard learning, including abuse, neglect, financial instability, pregnancy, and substance abuse.
(c) A support services program that provides economically disadvantaged youth with support services, jobs, training, counseling, mentoring, and prepaid postsecondary tuition scholarships.
(d) A juvenile offender job training program that offers an opportunity for juvenile offenders to develop educational and job skills in a 12-month to 18-month nonresidential training program, teaching the offenders skills such as computer-aided design, modular panel construction, and heavy vehicle repair and maintenance which will readily transfer to the private sector, thereby promoting responsibility and productivity.
(e) An infant mortality prevention program that is designed to discourage unhealthy behaviors such as smoking and alcohol or drug consumption, reduce the incidence of babies born prematurely or with low birth weight, reduce health care cost by enabling babies to be safely discharged earlier from the hospital, reduce the incidence of child abuse and neglect, and improve parenting and problem-solving skills.
(f) A regional crime prevention and intervention program that serves as an umbrella agency to coordinate and replicate existing services to at-risk children, first-time juvenile offenders, youth crime victims, and school dropouts.
(g) An alternative education outreach school program that serves delinquent repeat offenders between 14 and 18 years of age who have demonstrated failure in school and who are referred by the juvenile court.
(h) A drug treatment and prevention program that provides early identification of children with alcohol or drug problems to facilitate treatment, comprehensive screening and assessment, family involvement, and placement options.
(i) A community resource mother or father program that emphasizes parental responsibility for the behavior of children, and requires the availability of counseling services for children at high risk for delinquent behavior.