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Merging of Agencies Will Affect Handling of Juvenile Offenders

Thursday, January 21, 2010

During his State of the City address, Mayor Bloomberg also announced the city's child welfare agency will take over the Department of Juvenile Justice. The move signals a change in the way juvenile offenders will be handled. WNYC's Cindy Rodriguez reports.

Instead of sending juveniles to upstate detention facilities, the Administration for Children's Services plans on providing more of them with counseling, educational assistance and other services in their communities. Child advocates have been pushing to keep more kids out of detention facilities, and the Department of Justice recently investigated several facilities and found serious abuses. Jennifer March-Joly from Citizens Committee for Children favors the shift to alternative programs but worries ACS can't adequately fund them. She points out that Governor Paterson has proposed cutting $15 million for alternative programs, on top of cuts to after-school and summer youth employment programs, which she says help keep kids out of trouble.

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