Frequently Asked Questions

TOP Frequently Asked Questions
Funding
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Who will pay for the additional costs incurred by the counties to implement Raise the Age? 
The financial plan assumes the State will pay 100% of incremental costs incurred by the counties to implement  Raise the Age.  In certain circumstances there may be a local share of  RTA  costs if a county/New York City is unable to comply with the Tax Cap or demonstrate fiscal hardship as required in the  RTA  bill. 

How will a county be able to prove financial hardship and who is responsible for making this determination? When can counties apply for funding under the financial hardship exception? 

The criteria for demonstrating financial hardship is determined by the Financial Restructuring Board’s statutory criteria or the Office of the State Comptroller’s fiscal stress factors. If the locality does not adhere to the tax cap, or meet FRB or OSC fiscal stress factors, the Division of Budget will determine whether fiscal hardship is demonstrated, factors include: incremental cost of  RTA; changes in state or federal aid payments; extraordinary costs, such as a disaster; infrastructure costs; growth in tax receipts; prepayment of expenses; fund balances, reserves, and surpluses; and control   board oversight.  The Division of the Budget will make the determinations as to whether a county/NYC has demonstrated financial hardship consistent with the established criteria. 

Who will pay for the costs incurred by local Sheriff’s departments as the result of transporting youth to new facilities created by the  Raise the Age  legislation? 

The State will reimburse counties for actual costs associated with the transport of youth to and from detention facilities that would not have otherwise occurred absent  Raise the Age  legislation.  OCFS will utilize its existing, county-based claiming mechanisms to process requests for reimbursement. 

Is there any funding for the development of new local specialized secure juvenile detention facilities for older youth that the counties will be required to use per the  Raise the Age  legislation? 

Yes, $19 million is appropriated to finance local detention capital costs to support current projects and new capital projects, including the development of new local specialized secure juvenile detention facilities. The State and Local cost shares will be determined consistent with the overall program requirements.    

Is there funding for capital projects for renovation of existing detention facilities to become a specialized secure detention facility? 

Yes, the same $19 million that is appropriated to finance local detention capital costs can be used to support the renovation of existing detention facilities to become specialized secure detention facilities, as well as projects for new local specialized secure detention facilities (this funding is for 49% state reimbursement and additional funding would need to be appropriated in future years to provide 100% state reimbursement to qualifying counties). 

 

How will counties be expected to document and claim the personal service and non-personal service costs associated with caseworkers serving the older juvenile delinquents placed with local departments of social services (LDSS) under the Family Court Act? 

For caseworkers whose expenditures are claimed through the Automated Claiming System (ACS), localities will be reimbursed for the personal and non-personal service expenses that are incurred in accordance with their DOB approved comprehensive RTA plan.  Localities will maintain time studies that document the proportion of an employee’s time that is dedicated to RTA.  The time studies will inform future plan submissions, but will not impact reimbursement for the plan period that has already been approved by DOB.  Claims will be submitted on Schedule D2 in ACS as a separately identified cost. 

How will the state determine which detention, foster care and preventive costs for youth resulting from the  Raise the Age  legislation for claiming/reimbursement purposes? 

For caseworkers who are coded F2 and whose expenditures are claimed through the Automated Claiming System (ACS), localities will be reimbursed for the personal and non-personal service expenses that are actually incurred in accordance with their DOB approved comprehensive RTA plan.  Appropriate claiming documentation of costs, including a time study report that identifies the proportion of an employee’s time dedicated to RTA, must be maintained at the LDSS level.  The time studies will inform future plan submissions, but will not impact reimbursement for the plan period that has already been approved by DOB.  RTA administration claims will be separately identified on the LDSS-2347-B, “Schedule D-2 Allocation for Claiming General Services Administration Expenditures,” section 1-A, line 17, column 2. 

Will there be a new funding methodology for detention to address the new specialized detention centers and the additional older youth in regular secure and non-secure detention facilities? 

The funding methodology for new specialized detention centers and additional older youth in regular secure and non-secure detention facilities is being implemented in 2019.  The State will pay 100% of extra detention costs for counties that comply with the tax cap or demonstrate fiscal hardship (specialized detention center costs and costs from additional older youth in regular secure and non-secure detention) incurred by the counties to implement  RTA.  Claiming will remain the same for counties that utilize secure and specialized secure detention and will be streamlined for counties that provide this service. 

Please explain how localities will be funded for capital and operations for the specialized secure juvenile detention facilities for older youth? 

In addition to the $19 million that is appropriated to finance local detention capital, additional funding was allocated beginning with the FY 2019 Enacted Budget to fully support the capital and operational costs of specialized secure juvenile detention facilities for older youth for those counties that comply with the tax cap or demonstrate fiscal hardship. For eligible counties, these costs will be reimbursed at 100% through existing reimbursement processes. 

Will there be enhanced funding to support higher need youth on residential campuses? 

OCFS has worked closely with the agencies that provide residential services to the vulnerable youth of New York to develop a program model that meets the needs of an older population, specifically for those placed under the Raise the Age legislation.  OCFS has contracted with 13 residential providers across the state, who will operate these programs on their campuses.  This program model includes a shorter length of stay on the residential campuses in conjunction with a mandated after-care program that works with the youth and their natural supports/network in their home communities.  These residential programs will receive an enhanced daily rate to support the additional programming and staffing requirements. 

Will there be additional funding through Probation for an increase in local juvenile probation officers? 

Yes, the State will pay 100% of extra costs incurred by the counties to implement  RTA, including the costs of additional probation officers associated with caseload increases that exceed the number of intakes and supervised cases the county had in 2017 (baseline year).  In certain circumstances, there may be a local share of  RTA costs if a county is unable to comply with the Tax Cap or demonstrate fiscal hardship.

Will eligible counties be able to receive 100% funding for presentment agency costs associated with the additional Article 3 Family Court Act proceedings resulting from the Raise the Age legislation?

The Raise the Age reforms are structurally changing how criminal and family courts handle 16- and 17-year-olds, which will result in a reduction of the burden placed upon the prosecution and defense in these systems.  Youths arrested for misdemeanor offenses will no longer be handled by adult court but will be directed to probation intake. Outside of New York City, 70 percent of arrests of 16- and 17-year-olds are for misdemeanor crimes. Directing these cases out of the adult court system will reduce the workload for district attorney and public defender offices.  A portion of this workload will be assumed by county attorneys and attorneys for the child, but it will be significantly less than the current burden on the adult court system.  The county attorney and the attorney for the child will only be involved in those cases that are not successfully diverted after probation intake and adjustment.  In summary, a portion of the cases formerly handled by adult prosecution and defense will now be handled by county attorneys and the attorneys for the child.  However, the overall resources required by the county to support criminal and family court prosecution and defense will decline. 

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Youth Detention Facilities
Youth Detention Facilities
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How does OCFS plan to ensure staff safety from violence perpetrated by older youth? 

OCFS already successfully serves youth who commit a full range of criminal acts and maintains them in OCFS facilities up to age 21.  Therefore, OCFS staff are used to serving the types of youth it will receive under the Raise the Age  legislation.  OCFS staff are trained to utilize self-protection skills and a full range of options to de-escalate and respond to crises through a range of various physical restraint options. Mechanical restraints may be utilized, when necessary, to help control violent youth.  Under the Raise the Age  legislation, the most seriously violent older youth will be processed through the Youth Part of criminal court and placed with the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision; not with OCFS.  OCFS will be a placement option only for youth who, based on the nature of their crimes, have their cases heard in Family Court and, at judicial option, youth processed through the Youth Part who commit lesser offenses and are sentenced to a year or less.   

Where will the newly created local specialized secure juvenile detention facilities for older youth be located? 

As of January 1, 2019, there are five specialized secure detention facilities that are co-located with secure detention facilities outside of New York City (NYC), and one in NYC.  OCFS and SCOC are working with other localities to identify potential sites for new detention facilities as needed. 

Can the newly created local specialized secure juvenile detention facilities for older youth be co-located with currently operating juvenile secure detention facilities? 

Yes, these two facilities can be co-located provided the following conditions are met: AOs must be assigned to separate housing units from JDs and JOs; comingling of AO and JD/JO populations must be prevented in shared common spaces, except facilities may be allowed to share space for purposes of education, infirmary, fire drills, transport to the facility, or, as approved by OCFS and SCOC upon a showing that maintaining separate spaces creates an undue burden; and facilities must abide by all OCFS and State Commission of Correction (SCOC) regulations. OCFS and SCOC promulgated regulations for the establishment, certification, and operation of these facilities.  

Will youth who are detained in county facilities under a PINS petition be housed  with violent youth who have been accused of a serious crime? 

No.  Under existing State law, PINS cannot be housed in secure detention facilities.  By contrast, 16- and 17-year-old adolescent offenders charged with serious crimes who are processed through the Youth Part will be housed in separate specialized secure juvenile detention facilities for older youth. 

What services will 16- and 17-year-olds receive who are placed under  Raise the Age? 

Those 16- and 17-year-olds who are placed in OCFS facilities either through Family Court placements or because they receive definite sentences through the criminal courts of a year or less, will receive developmentally and age appropriate education, vocational, job training, independent living, counseling, mental health, and recreational services.  The voluntary agencies that will care for 16- and 17-year-olds placed with local departments of social services through the Family Court also currently serve thousands of youth between the ages of 16 and 21.  They provide a range of services including education, independent living, vocational readiness, behavioral health services including substance abuse treatment and psychiatric services.  OCFS will promulgate new and amended regulations for programs that will specifically serve youth placed on a delinquency matter in voluntary agencies.  OCFS has enhanced maximum state aid rates to provide appropriate supervision and services to this older juvenile delinquent population.  

Does Family Court take into consideration the desires of crime victims?  

Court rules regarding juvenile delinquent (JD) adjustment processes require probation staff to consult with the victim when considering whether to provide diversion services or automatically refer a matter to the presentment agency for court action.  If a youth is adjudicated as a JD, the court will order a pre-dispositional investigation report at which time the probation department also is required to consult with the victim and report its findings to the Court for consideration at disposition.  In addition, the Raise the Age legislation added provisions to the Family Court Act to permit a victim to make a statement, orally or in writing, at the dispositional hearing.  

Do OCFS facilities have the capacity to house the number of youth expected? If not, where will the new facilities be located? 

OCFS expanded the capacity of its state-operated juvenile justice facilities by opening a female limited secure facility, The Harriett Tubman Residential Facility in Sennett, NY; and expanding the Industry Residential Facility, a male limited security facility in Rush, NY.  

How will  Raise the Age  impact the Close to Home initiative? 

Youth adjudicated delinquent in New York City who require out of home placement at the non-secure and limited-secure levels will be placed within the Close to Home continuum.  There is currently excess capacity within the Close to Home programs to absorb older youth. 

Will existing jails be permitted to house AOs? 

Counties will not be permitted to house AOs in existing jails that continue to serve individuals charged or sentenced as adults even if there is sight and sound separation between the populations. 

How will foster care agencies be impacted by  Raise the Age?  Will there be more youth with criminal histories placed in the agencies? How many more? 

It is anticipated that some of the youth who are adjudicated as JDs in Family Court will be placed by the courts in local department of social services custody.  OCFS will work closely with the Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives (OPCA) and the courts to maximize all opportunities for alternatives to placement that will be able to keep youth safely in the community.  For those youth placed in the custody of the local department of social services, OCFS has worked closely with the agencies that provide residential services to the vulnerable youth of New York in developing a program model that meets the needs of an older population, specifically for those who enter care under the Raise the Age legislation.  OCFS has contracted with 13 residential providers across the State, who will operate these programs on their campuses.  This program model includes a shorter length of stay on the residential campuses in conjunction with a mandated after-care program that works with the youth and their natural supports/network in their home communities.  These residential programs will receive an enhanced daily rate to support the added programming and staffing requirements. 

How will decisions be made regarding which youth go to community supervision (Probation), foster care agencies, or juvenile justice facilities following adjudication in family court? 

When there is a finding of delinquency within family court, the local probation department prepares a pre-dispositional investigation report for the court.   The investigation helps to inform the judge as to whether supervision, placement or another disposition may be appropriate.  That process will be applied to the older youth in Family Court. Additionally, OCFS, DCJS and the Unified Court System have worked together to ensure there are a wide range of services available to those under community supervision as well as alternatives to placement to help keep youth safely in the community.  

Will foster care agencies be expected to have increased security? 

Some foster care agencies have already made investments in enhanced security measures to address the needs of their current populations.  This includes the hiring of Directors of Security, conducting safety and security assessments of the physical layout; purchasing metal detectors, requiring staff to wear standardized clothing (t-shirts/jackets); and strengthening search and contraband policies. Specific to the agencies providing the RTA residential model of care, OCFS provided an enhanced maximum state aid rate to address the need for these additional security measures as well as other services and supports necessary to serve the older juvenile delinquents that will be placed as a result of the Raise the Age  legislation.         

What happens when youth in an agency commit crimes and are re-arrested? 

Youth who commit a crime and are re-arrested while in the care of an agency will be processed through whichever court is appropriate based on their age and the nature of the offense.  As happens now, the response will depend on the age of the youth and severity of the offense.   

Will every agency be expected to admit youth?  Or will there be a few agencies that will specialize in this population? 

Currently, OCFS has issued operating certificates to 13 agencies to provide specialized programs to the youth placed under the RTA legislation. 

Is there an expectation that counties will use child welfare preventive funding (62/38) to support more diversion services? 

As is current practice, local departments of social services will be able to use their child   welfare preventive funding for diversion for older JDs.    

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Juvenile Justice Processes under RTA
Juvenile Justice Processes under RTA
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Raise the Age requires specially trained Family Court judges to preside over the newly created Youth Part of the criminal court. How will these judges be trained, and by whom? 

Training of Family Court judges is the responsibility of the Office of Court Administration (OCA). OCA will determine how these judges are trained and will conduct the trainings. 

Will violent felony offenders be seen in Family Court and go to youth facilities? 

If a 16- or 17-year-old is charged with a violent felony offense, the case will be handled in Youth Part if the court finds the victim suffered a significant physical injury or the defendant displayed a weapon or unlawfully engaged in a sex act. 

Will 16- and 17-year-olds whose crimes are heard in the Youth Part of the criminal court be eligible to have their records sealed? 

Yes, if the 16- or 17-year-old is adjudicated a youthful offender or stays conviction free for 10 years after completion of a sentence, the youth will have the opportunity to apply for sealing for up to two convictions (nonviolent only). The District Attorney has the ability to oppose such application. The sealing is for civil purposes only. 

Does the  Raise the Age  legislation prohibit youth from being confined at Rikers Island? 

The law specifically mandates that all 16- and 17-year-olds be removed from Rikers, which was accomplished prior to October 1, 2018. 

Will violent crimes and non-violent crimes be handled differently under the Raise the Age legislation? 

Yes. For example, a 16-or 17-year-old charged with a violent crime will remain in criminal court when he/she caused significant physical injury to another, engaged in an unlawful sex act, or displayed a weapon in furtherance of such crime. For those 16- or 17-year-olds charged with a nonviolent crime, he or she will be removed to Family Court after 30 days unless the court determines that there are extraordinary circumstances that justify the case remaining in criminal court. 

What role will the District Attorneys have in determining if a youth’s crime should be heard in the Youth Part of criminal court or moved to the Family Court? 

The District Attorney, in conjunction with law enforcement, determines what charges are filed against every defendant. Under RTA, the District Attorney may bring a motion to retain in criminal court a 16- or 17-year-old who is charged with a nonviolent crime. For a violent crime, the District Attorney must prove to the court that the defendant engaged in unlawful sexual conduct, displayed a weapon in furtherance of the crime charged, or caused significant physical injury to another person for the case to proceed in Youth Part. The DA can always consent to a case being transferred to Family Court. 

Are there any new provisions in the Raise the Age legislation that require police officers to read Miranda Rights to those under the age of 18?  

Miranda rights are always required when law enforcement interrogates a defendant in custody. The law now requires that for anyone under the age of 18 who is arrested, his or her parent or legal guardian must be notified of the arrest and location where the youth is to be questioned. If present during questioning, the parent must also be advised of the Miranda rights of the youth. This does not take effect until 10/1/18 for 16-year-olds and 10/1/2019 for 17-year-olds.         

How will the prosecution and defense of youth transition from the Youth Part to Family Court for removal cases? 

The transition process for youth whose cases are removed from the Youth Part to Family Court will adhere to the same process that exists for 14- and 15-year-olds currently. 

Will youth who are removed from the Youth Part to Family Court be eligible for adjustment services under Article 3 of the Family Court Act? 

Yes, if the offense is deemed eligible and suitable for adjustment services. 

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Adolescent Offender Facilities
Adolescent Offender Facilities
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Where will the newly-created facilities for Adolescent Offenders be located?

DOCCS is currently operating AO facilities at the Adirondack Correctional Facility in Essex County and the former Hudson Correctional Facility in Columbia County. The Hudson AO facility will be used as the reception center for all AOs received into DOCCS custody and will remain the only AO facility to house female AOs. DOCCS has identified the former Groveland Annex in Livingston County as the third AO facility if it becomes necessary.

Will the youth facility created at the Hudson Correctional Facility to fulfill Executive Order 150 still be used for youth?

Yes, see above.

What OCFS programs or services will be available in the adolescent offender facilities?

Similar to what was done at Hudson CF under Executive Order 150, DOCCS, with OCFS’ assistance, has implemented the Youth Program Model which utilizes evidence-based services through the provision of cognitive behavioral interventions specifically designed for the adolescent offender to increase awareness of the connection between thoughts and actions at Adirondack AO Facility. The program is based on an inmate-centered, youth oriented model which identifies individual needs, and provides a guideline for the provision of activities. The model focuses on assisting inmates in their development of pro-social skill development, substance abuse prevention skills, and meaningful transition plans consistent with the philosophy and practices of youth programming. DOCCS administration, security and program staff function as a team to accomplish the Youth Program objectives. With a rich staffing configuration, it provides multiple staff contacts with each inmate on a daily basis through therapeutic programming, organized physical education, vocational and academic education and individual sessions.

Who will staff the adolescent offender facilities?

DOCCS staffs the adolescent offender facilities with specially trained correction officers. OCFS staff participate with DOCCS in conference calls, video conferences, site visits, shared training sessions and case consultations on a regular basis.

What role will the OCFS Assistant Commissioner permanently assigned to DOCCS play in the operation of the adolescent offender facilities?

OCFS has assisted DOCCS in implementing the Adolescent Offender Facility by facilitating specialized Train the Trainer trainings, reviewing DOCCS policies and procedures for the AO population, and consulting on difficult cases. OCFS has assigned an Assistant Commissioner to work collaboratively with the Assistant Commissioners from DOCCS Program Services in the development of programs, training initiatives and discharge planning/transition activities and identifying resources in the community. The OCFS Assistant Commissioner will conduct site visits to the Adolescent Offender Facilities and prepare site visit reports that will be provided to the DOCCS, OCFS Deputy Commissioners, and the oversight Commission. He/She will take part in meetings coordinated by the DOCCS Deputy Commissioner that will include facility and Central Office Staff.

How will DOCCS coordinate with OCFS to develop discharge plans for adolescent and juvenile offenders released from DOCCS facilities?

DOCCS will collaborate with OCFS to determine the appropriate risk assessment tool to utilize for this population. The adolescent offenders assigned Offender Rehabilitations Coordinator will complete the Community Preparation paperwork and provide it to the assigned Community Supervision Bureau who is responsible for the discharge plan in conjunction with the re-entry manager that would address the criminogenic needs and conditions specific to the adolescent offender, targeting juvenile/youth service providers as available in the releasing community and determining appropriate services for individuals. DOCCS academic staff also work with the local school district where the offender is returning to establish an education plan if the youth has not obtained his/her High School Equivalency.

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