Reauthorization of the JJDPA

First enacted in 1974, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) has been due for reauthorization since 2007. More than 35 years after its enactment, the JJDPA is one of the most successful standard-setting statutes at the federal level and at its heart recognizes the value of citizen-driven efforts to prevent and stem delinquency. The success of the JJDPA has been supported in significant part by the national agenda-setting, research, evaluation, oversight, and technical assistance functions of OJJDP. It remains the landmark federal statute—and single most influential piece of federal legislation—providing four substantive safeguards (core protections) for youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system. Learn more in the JJDPA Reauthorization Fact Sheet. Learn more about CJJ's Platform Position on Reauthorization of the JJDPA and on the Act4JJ website.

Introduction in the 115th Congress

Members of both the House and Senate expressed their continued commitment to JJDPA reauthorization early on in the 115th Congress. On Feb. 15, members of House Education and Workforce Committee held a hearing on the importance of the JJDPA, during which Colorado Juvenile Justice Specialist, and former CJJ Board Member, Meg Williams testified. On Feb. 28 Iowa Juvenile Justice Specialist and CJJ Member, Dave Kuker, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the legislation. 

Shortly thereafter, on March 30, 2017, Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced HR 1809, the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2017. The bill would reauthorize the JJDPA and amend in provisions that are currently found in the Youth PROMISE Act. On May 23, 2017, the House unanimously passed the reauthorization of JJDPA. A similar measure was voted on and approved by the House in the final days of the 114th Congress. Sen. Grassley and Sen. Whitehouse put forward legislation in their chamber (S. 860) to reauthorize the JJDPA on April 5. The Senate bill was passed on August 1, 2017.