At the very foundation of MJJA’s work has always, and continues to be a focus on collaborative efforts. Detail of some of these important efforts are listed below.
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, National Center for Juvenile Justice: MJJA was chosen as one of only three test sites in the nation, by the NCJJ (the research arm of the NCJFCJ) to pilot the national Fundamental Skills for Good Juvenile Probation Practice Curriculum. MJJA went further, and designed the program specifically to meet the needs of Missouri’s juvenile and family court professionals, and has been presenting this week-long, 40 hours curriculum since 1992. Missouri Office of State Courts Administrator now contracts with MJJA to provide this training two times each year to all new juvenile and family court juvenile probation officers.
National Juvenile Detention Association: Working closely with NJDA, and based upon their national education curriculum, MJJA developed a week-long Fundamental Skills Training for Good Juvenile Detention Practice. Just this year, MJJA received endorsement of this curriculum by the NJDA….the first endorsement of its kind in the nation. Missouri Office of State Courts Administrator contracts with MJJA to provide this training three times each year to new juvenile detention staff.
Missouri Bar’s Commission on Children and the Law: Appointed by the President of the Missouri Bar, MJJA is proud to be represented on this important Commission. The purpose of the Commission is to examine current Missouri laws dealing with children in a number of areas, studying not only children’s involvement in delinquency and criminal matters, but also in abuse and neglect, adoption and domestic relations litigation, and to consider “the best interests of children” in analyzing current laws, and suggest alternatives where necessary for consideration by Missouri’s Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches.
In addition, through this Commission was the publication of “Missouri’s Juvenile Justice Resources”. MJJA is in the process of updating this publication for 2005, thanks to the support of the Missouri Bar.
Missouri Alliance for Youth: A Partnership Between Mental Health and Juvenile Justice: MJJA is proud to serve as a member of the Steering Committee of this important effort. Its purpose it is to improve coordination between mental health and juvenile justice to better serve youth involved with these systems and advocate for the needs of this population. A most recent result of this important Alliance is a line item within the budget of the Missouri Department of Mental Health, specifically earmarked for use by Missouri’s juvenile and family courts for provision of mental health services at the local, community based level, for children who come to their attention. The Alliance Newsletter can be found in the Special Reports section of this site.
Missouri Supreme Court Family Court’s Permanency Planning Project: Appointed by the Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court, MJJA was proud to serve as a member of this project whose purpose it was to develop a statewide, comprehensive approach, under the leadership of the judiciary, for assuring that all abused and neglected children placed by the courts in out-of-home care achieve safe, permanent homes in a timely manner.
Missouri Division of Youth Services: MJJA continues its important collaboration with DYS which has resulted in a number of positive results for children within Missouri’s juvenile justice system:
- Juvenile Court Statistics: MJJA, working closely with DYS, advocated for legislation to mandate juvenile courts to provide juvenile referral statistics to DYS. DYS was mandated to compile and provide an annual report of these Statistics. The result has been an excellent document for use by courts, and state and local agencies in their desire to meet the program and services needs of children who come to their attention… children whose first step into the system is Missouri’s juvenile and family courts.
- Juvenile Court Diversion Funds: The partnership between DYS and Missouri’s juvenile and family courts is unique nationally, and has served as the foundation for reducing commitments to DYS, and meeting the neds of children referred to Misouri’s juvenile/family courts at the local level. MJJA, working closely with DYS, advocated for an increase in DYS’s Juvenile Court Diversion budget line item for use by juvenile/family courts for local, community based programs as a diversion from commitment to DYS. Between 1994 and 2001, JCD funds increased from $500,000 to over $7 million. Since 2001, state budget constraints have lowered this amount to a bit under $4 million.
Missouri Children’s Division: MJJA has partnered with The Children’s Division (CD) on a number of issues specifically relating to abused and neglected children. EDUCATION AND TRAINING: MJJA and CD jointly developed and provided a curriculum entitled “The Team Approach to Investigating Child Abuse and Neglect”.
ADOPTION: MJJA, CD, Jefferson Bank of Missouri, and Television Station Channel 13 of Jefferson City partnered to present “Wednesday’s Child” a weekly news item which highlighted special needs children available for adoption. Each of the 18 children highlighted were adopted into a permanent home. In 2001, MJJA, CD, and the Lake Ozarks-Capitol City Chapter of the Missouri Restaurant Association, partnered on an “Adopt A Kid” program to raise the public’s awareness of children available for adoption in Missouri. For this joint “Adopt A Kid” project, MJJA and the Capitol City-Lake Ozark Chapter of the Missouri Restaurant Association received the 2001 Corporate and Business Support Award from the Adoption and Foster Care Coalition of Missouri for leadership and significant contributions which support children and families.
Missouri State Highway Patrol: MJJA, in cooperation with the Missouri State Highway Patrol wrote and developed a Missouri juvenile justice video designed for Missouri’s law enforcement. This video was distributed to all police, sheriff, and highway patrol departments throughout the state, as well as to each juvenile/family court. Completed in 1995, and updated again in 2003. The purpose of the video was to assist law enforcement in the distinguishing the differences between juvenile law and adult law, and the handling and processing of your who come to the attention of law enforcement as abused and neglected children, runaways, or delinquent.
Missouri Office of State Courts Administrator: MJJA has historically advocated for a wide variety of initiatives to enhance the ability of Missouri’s juvenile and family courts to provide for the needs of the over 89,000 children who come to their attention each year.
- Administration of Juvenile/Family Courts: MJJA had long worked to have enacted a provision for an “Office of Juvenile Court Services” within OSCA. In 1997 a Director of Juvenile and Adult Court Programs was finally named to OSCA whose work encompasses a wide range of administrative, communication, policy, and standards-driven efforts for Missouri’s juvenile and family courts. “The Juvenile Court Improvement Act”, a bill pursued by MJJA, partnering and collaborating with the Office of the Governor, Missouri House and Senate, Office of Administration, Division of Budget and Planning, MOSERS, juvenile/family courts, DYS, and OSCA, passed and became effective July 1, 1999. The purpose of the legislation was to enhance the partnership between the state and the counties for juvenile court services at the local level. It improved the juvenile/family court’s ability to provide services to children in their communities by increasing the state’s financial investment in Missouri’s juvenile courts; corrected personnel inequities where most needed, and provided a statutory step in enabling counties to work together to address their local juvenile detention needs.
- Education/Training: MJJA also advocated for OSCA to assume responsibility in the design and offering of training for juvenile and family court personnel. As a result, MJJA has representation as a member of OSCA’s Juvenile Division Education Committee, having been appointed by the Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court. This Committee’s purpose has been to develop education standards for juvenile/family court personnel; core curriculum courses; and provision of the same via classroom, web-based, and/or videolink. OSCA contracts with MJJA to provide our 40 hour “Fundamental Skills for Good Juvenile Probation Practice” curriculum to new juvenile/family court personnel two times per year. OSCA contracts with MJJA to provide our 40 hour “Fundamental Skills for Good Juvenile Detention Practice” curriculum to new juvenile detention personnel three times per year.
- Information Sharing: MJJA also advocated for inter-agency communication designed for provision of appropriate services for children who come to the attention of Missouri’s juvenile justice system. MJJA is proud to be a member of the “Missouri Juvenile Justice Information Sharing” Committee, whose purpose is to oversee the Missouri Juvenile Information System, allowing judicial and executive branch youth service agencies to share information electronically. This information-sharing project will allow for better assessment and classification of juvenile offenders leading to more appropriate and effective allocation of services.