In March 2012, the New York State legislature passed a budget that included Close to Home legislation allowing New York City to take responsibility for the care of lower-risk youth who come from the City. While youth committed to secure-level juvenile justice facilities will remain in State custody and facilities, New York City youth currently in State non-secure and limited secure facilities will be transferred to City-administered programs and facilities. Close to Home is a watershed reform that represents the culmination of a citywide effort lead by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and a coalition of City agencies, advocates, and representatives from the non-profit community.
In April 2012, New York City submitted a plan to New York State to establish a local juvenile justice system that provides a continuum of services ranging from alternative-to-placement programs operated by community-based organizations to non-secure residential care. The City will take over responsibility for youth in non-secure placements no sooner than September 1, 2012, and for youth in limited secure placements no earlier than April 1, 2013.
New York City’s plan for realignment is based on the following principles:
- Locally operated systems are more responsive and accountable to community needs and interests
- Keeping youth close to home helps them maintain stronger connections with families, schools and neighborhoods
- Eliminating far-away placements saves money that can be put toward community-based programming.
In addition to the realignment of residential placements, another key component of the City’s plan is creating a robust continuum of community-based interventions for adjudicated youth. These interventions will be based on research and include a wide range of family supports.
DOP recently began using both a validated risk assessment instrument and a new system for determining which community-based services and residential options are right for each young person.