For Immediate Release: May 23, 2024

Contact: Amaury Ávalos, Office of Public Safety Communications Director,

Office of Criminal Justice Launches the Office of Justice Programs’ Continuum of Care to Support Youth Success Initiative

The $450,000 in funding will foster positive youth development, prioritize community safety, and focus on effective program outcomes to achieve these goals

Philadelphia – This week, the Office of Criminal Justice (OCJ) launched the Philadelphia cohort of the Office of Justice Program’s (OJP) Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Building Local Continuums of Care to Support Youth Success initiative. Part of a $17 million award to 23 state and local sites and three training and technical assistance providers, the $450,000 in funding to Philadelphia  fosters positive youth development, prioritizes community safety, and focuses on effective program outcomes to achieve these goals. The awards are an integral part of OJJDP’s Continuum of Care framework and align with Mayor Parker’s vision for a Safer, Cleaner, Greener Philadelphia with Economic Opportunity for All.

Attended by juvenile justice system stakeholders and sub-grantees, the event was held at the Philadelphia Municipal Services Building’s Innovation Lab. Attendees heard from Office of Criminal Justice Deputy Director Lisa Varon and other OCJ staff about goals of the OJJDP grant, implementation timeline, and the City’s plan for engaging with grantees to guarantee their success.

Thanks to more than a decade of reforms and efforts at the state and local levels, Pennsylvania has seen steady and sustained decreases in the number of young people involved at every level of the juvenile legal system. The City of Philadelphia views this is an opportunity to align systems across our government and to serve all system involved youth and their families with programs and services that prevent future system involvement.

The Building Local Continuums of Care to Support Youth Success initiative leverages decades of evidence-based learning to prevent youth from entering or deepening their involvement in the juvenile legal system, while also providing them with alternatives to success.

“At its core, the continuum of care framework is a holistic approach that is community-driven, leverages local insights and addresses youth needs through mentoring, after-school programs and other prosocial activities,” said Liz Ryan, OJJDP Administrator. “Serving youth well strengthens communities and contributes to public safety.”

With this 18-month planning grant the Office of Criminal Justice key juvenile justice partners will have the opportunity to develop strategic initiatives in partnership with the National Assessment Center Association, the Drexel Juvenile Justice Research and Reform Lab, Juvenile Law Center Advocates for Justice, Philadelphia Family voices, along with critical feedback from community members, OCJ will collect and assess data through an intervention mapping process to provide critical feedback and insights in the process.  This assessment will ultimately result in an implementation plan for the City of Philadelphia and its partners.

“I am thrilled for Philadelphia to join a larger statewide movement to expand the continuum of care to include our young people,” said Lisa Varon, Deputy Director of the Office of Criminal Justice. “This funding from the Office of Justice Programs will allow us to build an ecosystem of care that treats young people like young people, brings their families into the process, and ultimately creates a safer Philadelphia for all.”

Moving forward, the City will work with technical assistance providers Drexel University Juvenile Justice Research and Reform Lab, the National Assessment Center Association, the Juvenile Law Center’s Youth Advocacy Program, and Philadelphia Family Voices to generate a comprehensive system of support for youth and their families in Philadelphia.

Partners in the initiative include:

  • National Assessment Center Association.
  • Drexel Research and Reform Lab.
  • Juvenile Law Center – Advocates for Justice.
  • Philadelphia Family Voices.

Funding runs for 18-months and will run through Fiscal Year 2026.