OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol
OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol

Department of Juvenile Justice

Prevention and Victim Services

What is the purpose of the program?

The purpose of the Prevention and Victim Services program in the Department of Juvenile Justice is to use prevention, intervention, and treatment programs in order to increase public safety, decrease youth delinquency, strengthen families, and improve the lives of troubled youth.

Who is served by this program?

The program serves at-risk youth and youth who show problematic behaviors such as truancy or running away from home. It also provides services for children who meet the statutory definition of Child in Need of Services and their families. A total of 33,495 youth were served by state and federally funded prevention programs in Fiscal Year 2018-19.

What services does this program provide?

Through private providers and grants, the program provides youth with numerous programs such as academic, employment, counseling, skill development, and mentoring services to help them stay in school, live violence-free, and become law-abiding citizens. The program also includes community partnerships and volunteer opportunities.

Which entities provide the services?

DJJ receives general revenue funds for three main youth programs.
Other programs provide services through state and federal grants. These grants are for delinquency prevention research, planning, programming, and evaluation purposes.

How can I get my child into a program?

Check the department's website or call the Prevention Help Line Number at 866-757-0634 and ask for information about programs in your area. If the department does not have a prevention program in your area, it may be able to recommend other resources for tutoring, mentoring, after-school programs, and similar activities.

What percentage of youth who participate in prevention programs remain crime-free?

The Department of Juvenile Justice reports the following percentages for Fiscal Year 2018-19.
  • While in a prevention program, 98% of youth remained crime-free, which exceeded the prior year standard of 95%.
  • Within six months of completing a prevention program, 95% of youth were not adjudicated for a delinquency offense, which also exceeded the prior year standard of 87%.

How are these activities funded?

Fiscal Year: 2020-21
Fund Dollars Positions
PROGRAM: PREVENTION AND VICTIM SERVICES
DELINQUENCY PREVENTION AND DIVERSION
86,951,549
20.00
TOTAL
86,951,549
20.00

Updates

Authorization to Contract With the PACE Center for Girls. The 2020 Legislature passed Ch. 2020-121, Laws of Florida, which authorizes DJJ to contract with the PACE Center for Girls.  Under the contract, PACE Center for Girls will provide alternatives to institutionalization and commitment for girls and young women through services such as education, counseling, training, and advocacy. 

Support for Parental Victims of Child Domestic Violence. The 2017 Legislature enacted Ch. 2017-123, Laws of Florida, which provides support to parents and legal guardians who are victims of child domestic violence. The law requires the Department of Juvenile Justice to collaborate with organizations that provide expertise, training, and advocacy in the areas of family and domestic violence to develop and maintain information on resources and services for parental victims of child domestic violence.  The resources and services must include domestic violence services and juvenile justice services including prevention, diversion, detention, and alternative placements. The materials must also detail how parents and legal guardians may access the services in their local area. The Department of Juvenile Justice must post the materials on its website and make the materials available to certified domestic violence centers, other organizations serving victims of domestic violence, clerks of court, law enforcement agencies, and other appropriate organizations for distribution to the public.

Multidisciplinary Staffing and Service Plans for Human Trafficking Victims. The 2017 Legislature enacted Ch. 2017-23, Laws of Florida, which makes changes to human trafficking statutes, including defining commercial sexual exploitation as the use of any person under the age of 18 for sexual purposes in exchange for, or the promise of, money, goods, or services. The law requires that Department of Juvenile Justice staff shall be invited to participate in multidisciplinary staffings if involved in the care of a child who is a suspected or verified victim of commercial sexual exploitation. The staffings are conducted by the Florida Department of Children and Families or the sheriff's office and may also include the child, the child's family or legal guardian, the child's guardian ad litem, school district staff, local health and human services providers, victim advocates, and others. The multidisciplinary staffings must develop a service plan to identify the needs of the child, local services available to meet those needs, and if placement in a safe house or foster home is needed.

Human Trafficking Law Changes. The 2016 Legislature enacted Ch. 2016-24, Laws of Florida. This law amends s. 39.01, Florida Statutes, to make certain that the sexual exploitation of a child for prostitution is perceived as human trafficking; and that child victims are seen as victims and can obtain services from the Florida Department of Children and Families.  The law also prohibits minors from being convicted of prostitution charges by amending s. 796.07(2)(e), Florida Statutes, to require that a person must be 18 years of age or older in order to be convicted. The Department of Juvenile Justice reported that, in Fiscal Year 2014-15, a total of 39 minors were arrested for a crime under s. 796.07, Florida Statutes.

Invest in Children License Plates. When you buy a license plate from your local tax collector's office, you may choose an Invest in Children license plate. The proceeds from the plates go to the counties from which they were purchased to fund after-school activities, mentoring, tutoring, job internships, youth summits, summer camp scholarships, recreational programs for girls and boys, and substance abuse intervention. In Fiscal Year 2017-18, these plates generated $214,600 for prevention activities.

Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

Placement Challenges Persist for Child Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation; Questions Regarding Effective Interventions and Outcomes Remain, Report 16-04, July 2016
State and Local Agencies Are in Initial Stages of Addressing Needs of Child Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation, Report 15-06, June 2015

Where can I get more information?

Related OPPAGA Health and Human Services Reports

OPPAGA also conducts an annual study on the commercial sexual exploitation of children in Florida.

Other Reports
Quality Improvement Program Reports, Department of Juvenile Justice.
Comprehensive Accountability Reports, Department of Juvenile Justice.

A Sourcebook of Delinquency Interventions, Department of Juvenile Justice, 2017.
Annual Reports, Florida Network of Youth and Family Services.
Quality Improvement Reviews, Florida Network of Youth and Family Services.
Websites of Interest
Prevention in Florida
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Performance Information


Performance measures and standards for the department may be found in its Long Range Program Plan.

What are the applicable statutes?

Chapters 984 and 985, Florida Statutes.

Whom do I contact for help?

Alice B. Sims, Assistant Secretary Prevention and Victim Services, 850-488-3302

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