Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Agencies Seek to Restore Community Reinvestment Program Funding

CRP initiatives, proven successful in dramatically reducing youth involvement in the juvenile justice system, face cancellation without restoration of $5 million in the state budget

Albany, N.Y. — Advocates from Hillside Family of Agencies and five other child and family services agencies are in Albany today seeking to restore $5 million in the state budget to support the Community Reinvestment Program (CRP). In their one-house budgets the Senate included the $1.75 million in funding, while the Assembly did not include any funding. Without this restored funding, the successful programs will cease to exist in early 2016.

The CRP was created in 2009 by the Legislature. Through a competitive process, the six agencies were awarded multi-year contracts with the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to create pilot projects in areas of the state with the highest rates of juvenile crime. During the five-year contracts, funding was subject to annual appropriation and meeting contractual performance metrics on a quarterly basis. The community reinvestment contracts were the first pay-for-performance contracts in the state.

“The demand is clear for programs to serve the needs of at-risk youth and help create better outcomes for them,” said Jennifer Perry, program manager of the Reinvesting in Youth (RIY) program of Hillside Children’s Center, an affiliate of Hillside Family of Agencies. “Through the Community Reinvestment Program, New York State already has a network of agencies that have proven results diverting youth from juvenile detention; however, without the continued funding in the state budget, those programs will cease to exist and that will be a lose-lose for everyone – the youth, their families and the community.”

In New York, there is a process in which court-involved youth ages 11-17 can prevent placement through either diversion or alternatives to detention. At these critical points in the juvenile justice process, the state has an opportunity to provide services to at-risk youth in the community to put them on track to successful futures by preventing re-arrest or placement.

Since 2010, community reinvestment programs in New York City, Long Island and Rochester have provided services to more than 1,400 at-risk youth, yielding significant results:

Community Reinvestment Program Outcomes Since 2010 (All Six Providers)
Prevention of re-arrest87%
Prevention of failure to appear93%
Prevention of pregnancy/impregnation97%
Reduction in gang involvement93%
Placement prevention91%

CRP initiatives save state funds by helping to avoid higher cost placements or services for youth participating in the programs. The number of youth served and the resulting savings have been limited by the funding appropriated each year by the Legislature.

“Beyond the monetary savings, these programs have countless benefits that impact local communities and family units,” Perry said.

“Avoiding placement or re-arrest are important, but so too are making sure the family unit is stable, youth are attending school, avoiding gang violence and pregnancy. Providing support for community-based organizations to collaborate not only improves outcomes but communities as well.”

The six agencies participating in CRP are:

  • Nassau County: Berkshire Farm Center
  • Manhattan: Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services
  • Queens: Center for Court Innovation
  • Brooklyn and the Bronx: Good Shepherd Services
  • Monroe County: Hillside Children’s Center / Hillside Family of Agencies
  • Suffolk County: Hope For Youth

Rochester-specific statistics for Hillside’s RIY program in 2014-2015:

  • Prevention of re-arrest: 70%
  • Prevention of failure to appear: 96%
  • Prevention of pregnancy/impregnation: 100%
  • Reduction in gang involvement: 100%
  • Attendance improved over 10%: 52%
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