Juvenile Justice Policy Unit

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The Juvenile Justice Policy Unit is responsible for leading efforts in Maryland to ensure compliance with the Federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDP Act) as reauthorized in 2002. The Unit also administers grants from state and federal funding sources to respond to identified needs for at-risk and delinquent youth and their families.

The Unit provides staff support to the juvenile justice State Advisory Group, known as the Juvenile Grant Planning and Review Council. The Council is mandated by the JJDPA and assists the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention (GOCCP) in the development of a juvenile justice and delinquency prevention plan as well as reviewing grant applications and making funding recommendations.

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In accordance with the Title II Formula Grant (JJAC), the Council focuses their efforts on reducing the Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) in the juvenile justice system. In 2010, the Institute for Governmental Services and Research at the University of Maryland conducted the state’s first comprehensive assessment of the nature and extent of DMC. To view the report, please click here. In addition, GOCCP and the Council have hosted a statewide DMC Conference in 2011 and 2012. For more information on these conferences, please click here. To view a list of other grants supported by the Council and GOCCP, please click here.

The Unit also provides staff support to the Children’s Justice Act Committee (CJAC). The CJAC reviews and evaluates the state’s investigative, administrative, and judicial handling of child abuse, neglect, and maltreatment, specifically child sexual abuse and exploitation per the federal Child Abuse and Prevention Treatment Act (CAPTA). The CJAC is responsible for reviewing grant applications and making funding recommendations to GOCCP.

The CJAC also supports the ChildFirst/Finding Words training which is a 5-day intensive training on child forensic interviewing techniques for social workers, law enforcement, and prosecutors. The Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission (PCTC) coordinates the ChildFirst/Finding Words training. For more details, please contact Charles Lewis at 410-875-3534 or cllewis@dpscs.state.md.us.

The following grant programs are administered by the Juvenile Justice Policy Unit. For more information about these programs, please contact Jessica Wheeler at 410-821-2824 or JWheeler@goccp.state.md.us.

  • Title II Formula Grant Program (JJAC)
  • Juvenile Accountability Block Grant (JABG)
  • Children’s Justice Act Committee (CJAC)

Additionally, the following program is administered within the Eastern Region and pertains to youth:

Juvenile Justice Policy Unit Staff:

Justice Schisler, Eastern Region Chief
Jessica Wheeler, Director of Juvenile Justice
Bill Harper, Juvenile Justice Compliance Monitor
Tara Dhanraj, Intern


Published Reports

Office of the Governor