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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
February 2, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Juvenile Justice Commission
- Howard L. Beyer, Executive Director

 

Sharon Lauchaire
609-292-2288

 
Governor’s Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee Awards $21,218 to Bergen County

TRENTON - The New Jersey Governor’s Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Committee has, for the third consecutive year, awarded a grant of $21,218 to Bergen County to address disproportionate minority confinement (DMC) through multi-systemic therapy (MST).

The DMC reduction program is designed to help reduce the over-representation of minority youth who are involved in the juvenile justice system. The program serves 36 minority youth who have had multiple contacts with the juvenile justice system. The project primarily serves youth and their families from the towns of Hackensack and Englewood. This year, the program has been expanded to accept youth from other towns to further reduce DMC.

The JJC, which is the designated planning authority in regard to the allocation of federal grant funds, works with the JJDP Committee to identify appropriate programs, award funds and monitor their success. The JJDP Committee is responsible for the distribution of more than $3 million in federal grant awards annually to local and state agencies. The JJDP Committee reviews proposals for programs that will reduce delinquency and create local delinquency prevention programs. Programs that receive funding work with individuals, families and communities to reduce the risk factors associated with delinquency. Programs that demonstrate success are eligible for continued funding for a maximum of three consecutive years.

“Our Committee has been very impressed with the work done by the Hispanic Family Center over the past two years and were glad to provide this third, final, year of grant support,” said Committee Chairperson B. Thomas Leahy. “We sincerely hope that continuing funding can be found for this valuable program.”

“The Juvenile Justice Commission is committed to helping local communities address the specific needs of their young people. We are proud to be part of a partnership that takes a proactive approach to help adolescents and their families,” said Howard L. Beyer, Executive Director, Juvenile Justice Comssion. “We know that the earlier we reach out to children, the better chance we have of ensuring that they lead productive lives. We cannot wait until children are in trouble to intervene.”

Created in 1995 to bring together services for delinquent youth, the JJC is the single state agency responsible for providing juvenile correctional rehabilitation and parole services. The JJC also funds local prevention programs that divert youth from involvement in the juvenile justice system.

Bergen County’s program targets those youth who have been identified as recidivists; those who despite efforts by the courts have continued to have involvement with the justice system. The program seeks to reduce recidivism by helping youth identify positive and productive activities, as well as educational and vocational opportunities. Family relationships and community involvement are also stressed.

Bergen County’s Department of Human Services, Division of Family Guidance is focusing on those youth who have been identified as recidivists; those who despite efforts by the courts have continued to have conflict with the justice system. Their use of MST has proved to be very successful. “MST empowers the family to work with the problem behavior and change the unacceptable behavior,” said Joan Mosely MST Therapist.

Joan Jaye Badin, Ph.D., MST Supervisor for Bergen County also supports the use of MST. “There is no such thing as a hopeless case where MST is concerned. Positive changes are possible no matter what the situation.”

“Multi-systemic Therapy has been one of the best things Bergen County has done for its youth and families. It has filled the gap for providing services to families and youth in need. Our relationship with the Juvenile Justice Commission and their support has helped make these services a reality and we now continue to expand such services throughout Bergen County," said Nicholas A. Montello, Ph.D., Project Director.

MST has been identified by the Federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) as a Blueprint Program based on rigorous research and the inclusion of key program components that address the needs of delinquent youth.

The project is monitored by staff from the Program Development and Prevention Services arm of the JJC’s Office of Local Programs and Services.

For more information visit: www.njjjc.com.

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