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House Passes Bill to Improve Juvenile Justice System, Help Vulnerable Youth Find a Better Way

Rep. John Kline (R-MN), chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) today praised House passage of H.R. 5963, the Supporting Youth Opportunity and Preventing Delinquency Act. Introduced by Rep. Curbelo and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA), the legislation reauthorizes and reforms the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act to help state and local leaders better serve at-risk youth and juvenile offenders. The House passed the bill by a vote of 382 to 29.

“The Supporting Youth Opportunity and Preventing Delinquency Act is about more than improving the juvenile justice system. It’s about helping vulnerable kids realize they have an opportunity to succeed in life and giving them the support they need to seize that opportunity,” Rep. Curbelo said. “These reforms will help keep at-risk youth out of the juvenile justice system, put juvenile offenders on the right path, and provide opportunities for all children to grow into productive members of society. I want to thank Ranking Member Scott for championing this bipartisan effort with me, and I look forward to continuing our work together to help vulnerable children find a better way forward.”

“The bipartisan legislation will benefit communities across the country and give some of our nation’s most vulnerable children a second chance to turn their lives around,” Chairman Kline said. “I commend Representative Curbelo and Ranking Member Scott for working together on this legislation, and I also want to thank Senator Grassley for his tireless efforts to advance many of these reforms in the Senate. I am hopeful that we can complete this important effort this year and help more children achieve a lifetime of success.”

BACKGROUND: Since 1974, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act has coordinated federal resources aimed at improving state juvenile justice systems with a focus on education and rehabilitation. To help state and local leaders explore and implement better ways to educate and rehabilitate at-risk youth and juvenile offenders, Rep. Curbelo and Ranking Member Scott—along with Chairman Kline and Reps. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-GA), Susan Davis (D-CA), and Frederica Wilson (D-FL)—introduced the Supporting Youth Opportunity and Preventing Delinquency Act. The bipartisan legislation, approved by the committee last week, includes reforms to:
 
  • Set kids up for long-term success by helping them acquire skills necessary to grow into productive members of society and promoting opportunities to turn their lives around;

  • Provide state and local leaders flexibility to meet the needs of delinquent youth in their communities and improve public safety;

  • Help at-risk youth avoid the juvenile justice system by supporting prevention services;

  • Prioritize what works by focusing on evidence-based strategies with proven track records; and

  • Improve accountability and oversight to deliver positive outcomes for kids and protect taxpayers.

  
To learn more about H.R. 5963, click here.

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