PHILADELPHIA – The City of Philadelphia today submitted its final application to the 2018 Bloomberg “Mayors Challenge” in hopes of receiving grant funding for a “Hub for Juvenile Justice Services.”

If funded, the Hub would create a national model for how children are treated at point of entry to the justice system. Under the final application submitted to the Bloomberg Challenge, the Hub would be a 24/7, trauma-informed integrated service center.  Staff at the Hub would receive training to respond to youth and families and make referrals to prevention or other social service programs and to pretrial programs when appropriate.  The Hub would provide juveniles immediate and long-term access to social services and diversion programs through a centralized, non-police facility.

“Through the Juvenile Justice Hub, we can give children the tools they need to overcome challenges in their lives and succeed into their adulthood,” said Mayor Kenney.  “For youth who enter the juvenile justice system, the Hub will provide a safe, trauma-informed environment where children and families can get information about, and access to, support services. In short, the Hub gives us the opportunity to divert more youth out of the juvenile criminal justice system, and send them back to thriving communities with stronger support systems.”

According to the Bloomberg Philanthropies, more than 300 cities submitted ideas in 2017.  The Challenge specifies that this must be a new idea for that city, and something no other city has done to scale.  In February 2018, Philadelphia was named one of 35 finalist cities, leading to today’s final application. Those cities were awarded $100,000 each to test and refine the ideas.  Ultimately, one city will be selected for a grand prize of $5 million and four other cities will receive $1 million each to implement their ideas.  The final winners are expected to be announced in October.

“Should Philadelphia be fortunate enough to secure funding for the Juvenile Justice Hub, I’m convinced we will achieve what many experts have deemed impossible,” said Vanessa Garrett Harley, Deputy Managing Director for Criminal Justice and Public Safety.  “We will provide police with an alternative to placing a child in a holding cell for many hours.  And we will connect children and families with community-based resources. Instead of heading down a path of further incarceration, they will receive a roadmap for redemption and hope.”

The Hub would pool resources from police, prosecution, the Department of Human Services, probation and other partners and allow for immediate assessment, custody determinations, and access to various City social service agencies and diversion programs.

“I am convinced that the Hub for Juvenile Justice Services will change the course of young lives and spare many from the cycle of violence that besets Philadelphia,” said Police Commissioner Richard Ross. “It can lead to a landmark change for criminal justice in Philadelphia, and serve as a model for other cities across the country.”

The Hub for Juvenile Justice Systems proposal was created by two members of the Philadelphia Police Department, Lt. Stephen Clark, PPD (Strategic Planning/PPD 2020) and Sgt. John Ross, PPD (Strategic Planning/PPD 2020).  Joining them in the effort was Rhonda McKitten, a Stoneleigh Fellow currently service as a Youth Policy and Training Specialist in the Police Department. The Managing Director’s Office, Law Department, Department of Human Services, Family Court, Juvenile Probation and Parole, the Defender Association, and the District Attorney’s Office have also contributed to the development of this effort.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies works in over 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2016, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $600 million. For more information, please visit or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.