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Children's Justice Act
Work collaboratively to improve investigative, administrative, prosecutorial, and judicial processes for child victims of abuse and neglect by advancing systemic reform through innovative and evidence based policies, programs, practices, and training.
The Louisiana Children's Justice (CJA) Task Force is a multi-disciplinary group of professionals and community level representatives with knowledge and experience related to the juvenile and criminal justice systems and the issues of child abuse and neglect. The CJA Task Force began in the spring of 1993. The Task Force meets at least quarterly and subcommittee meetings are held in the interim as needed to discuss, evaluate, plan, and support recommendations in the three categories from Section 107 (e) (1) (A) (B) and (C) of the federal Children's Justice Act. The Task Force continues to hold monthly collaboration calls for facilitating on-going communication relative to collaborative activities and opportunities.
The Louisiana CJA Task Force coordinates the functions and activities of the CJA in the state of Louisiana and ensures compliance with the CJA grant requirements. The Louisiana CJA Task Force includes representative members of all the disciplines required by the Act. The Task Force recently added to its membership to include parents and representatives of parents groups, an adult former victim of child abuse and neglect, and individuals experienced in working with homeless children and youth.
What Does the Task Force DO?
The CJA Task Force has two key areas of function:
- Serving as a forum for collaboration, and
- Awarding and supervising projects designed to improve programs or systems for children & families. While serving as a forum or conduit for collaboration, the CJA
Task Force focus is on efforts to:
- reform state systems and improve processes by which the State responds to cases of child abuse and neglect;
- provide avenues to enable the State to deal more effectively with both the child victim and the offender and to limit trauma to the child through improvements in legal preparation and representation;
- fund community organizations to develop, establish, and operate programs designed to improve the handling of child abuse and neglect cases, particularly cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation, related fatalities, the investigation of child sexual abuse and exploitation and cases involving children with disabilities or serious health-related problems; and,
- promote community awareness and involvement in the child protection process while improving the manner in which cases are handled. CJA grants are to support the development, establishment, and operation of programs designed to improve:
- the handling of child abuse and neglect cases, particularly cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation, in a manner which limits additional trauma to the child victim;
- the handling of cases of suspected child abuse or neglect fatalities;
- the investigation and prosecution of cases of child abuse and neglect, particularly child sexual abuse and exploitation; and,
- the handling of cases involving children with disabilities or serious health-related problems who are victims of abuse or neglect.
CJA Task Force Goals
The goals of the CJA Task Force are set every three years and are adjusted by the steering committee. The goal categories are:
- Laws and Protocols
- Programs to Improve Process
- Training and Resources
Children's Justice Act Project Funding
Limited funds may be available for projects which meet the goals of the CJA Task Force and have been reviewed by the Task Force membership at a quarterly meeting. If you feel that you have a project which meets the priorities, you should send an email to the CJA Coordinator for an application guideline.
Funds must follow Federal guidelines and in particular, grant funds should be used to implement State Task Force recommendations in the following 3 categories:
- investigative, administrative, and judicial handling of cases of child abuse and neglect, particularly child sexual abuse and exploitation, as well as cases involving suspected child maltreatment related fatalities and cases involving a potential combination of jurisdictions, such as interstate, Federal-State, and State-Tribal, in a manner which reduces the additional trauma to the child victim and the victim's family and which also ensures procedural fairness to the accused;
- experimental, model and demonstration programs for testing innovative approaches and techniques which may improve the prompt and successful resolution of civil and criminal court proceedings or enhance the effectiveness of judicial and administrative action in child abuse and neglect cases, particularly child sexual abuse and exploitation cases, including the enhancement of performance of court-appointed attorneys and guardians ad litem for children, and which also ensure procedural fairness to the accused; and
- reform of State laws, ordinances, regulations, protocols, and procedures to provide comprehensive protection for children from abuse, particularly sexual abuse and exploitation, while ensuring fairness to all affected persons.
CJA funds should be used for programs to reform State systems and improve the processes by which States respond to cases of child abuse and neglect, particularly child sexual abuse and exploitation and cases of suspected child abuse or neglect related fatalities. This will enable States to deal more effectively with both the child victim and the offender and to limit additional trauma to the child victim.
Children's Justice Act funds cannot be used for child abuse and neglect prevention or treatment.
Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services
Post Office Box 3318, Baton Rouge, LA 70821
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