September 21, 2017

Frequently Asked Questions

TOP Frequently Asked Questions
Funding
WYSIWYG

Who will pay for the extra costs incurred by the counties to implement Raise the Age?
The financial plan assumes the State will pay 100% of extra 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? When will eligible counties be able to receive 100% State funding for the new costs associated with the Raise the Age legislation?
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 timeframe for applying for a waiver are under development and will be issued as soon as possible. The Division of the Budget will make the determinations as to whether a county/NYC has demonstrated financial hardship consistent with the established criteria.  Eligible counties could begin to receive 100% State funding beginning in State Fiscal Year 2018-19.

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 100% of county costs associated with the transport of youth by the applicable county sheriff that would not have otherwise occurred absent Raise the Age legislation.

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?
The process for documenting and claiming personal and non-personal service costs associated with caseworkers serving older juvenile delinquents is under development and will be shared with the counties as soon as possible. 

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?
Yes, counties will receive 100% reimbursement for additional presentment agency costs (under RTA this refers to JDs prosecuted by a county attorney in cases outside of NYC or the Corporation Counsel for NYC cases, instead of the local District Attorney's office) incurred as a result of RTA.  In certain circumstances, there may be a local share of these RTA costs if a county/NYC is unable to comply with the tax cap or demonstrate fiscal hardship as required in the RTA bill.

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?
Changes will be made to the applicable state claiming systems to distinguish the detention, foster care and preventive costs associated with the youth. 

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 reviewed as part of RTA implementation.  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

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 dollars will be allocated beginning with the FY 2019 Executive 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 anticipates that an enhanced maximum state aid rate will be necessary to provide appropriate supervision and services to the new older juvenile delinquents placed as a result of the Raise the Age legislation.

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.  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.

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Youth Detention Facilities
Youth Detention Facilities
WYSIWYG

What procedures will OCFS implement to ensure security is maintained for older youth in their facilities?
As brain research shows, adolescents tend to be more impulsive than adults and more likely to act out regardless of the setting they are in.  OCFS has a wide range of policies and practices designed to address troubling adolescent behaviors in developmentally appropriate manners including specialized programs for youth who are aggressive or assaultive.  These interventions are designed to provide highly structured and restrictive programming.  Youth receive intensive skills training, enhanced counseling, and must demonstrate pro-social behaviors before they can return to the general population. 

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?
The location of specialized secure juvenile detention facilities will be determined by the counties. OCFS and the Division of Criminal Justice Services will work collaboratively with the counties to review options for the location of the specialized secure juvenile detention facilities for older youth based on placement trends and bed projections.  Counties are encouraged to partner with neighboring or contiguous counties to develop a regional approach to the creation of the local specialized secure juvenile detention facilities as each county will not need to create a new facility, but each county will need to have access to a facility in which to make placements. 

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; physical access between the AO and JD/JO populations must be prevented in shared common spaces (e.g. cafeteria, medical, vocational and recreational); facilities may be allowed to share space for AOs, JDs, and JOs for educational purposes; and facilities must abide by all OCFS and State Commission of Correction (SCOC) regulations. OCFS and SCOC are working to promulgate 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 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 anticipates that enhanced maximum state aid rates will need to be established 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 currently has available capacity in its facilities, which will enable OCFS to begin serving youth on the effective date of the Raise the Age legislation.  Based on the final bed projections, OCFS will determine how many additional beds are needed to address all of the youth who may be placed with OCFS when the legislation is fully implemented and where they will be located. 

How will Raise the Age impact the Close to Home initiative?
The current statutory authority for the Close to Home initiative sunsets March 31, 2018.  Therefore, the impact of Raise the Age on the Close to Home initiative most likely will be subject to negotiation with the Legislature during next year’s budget.  New York City’s Close to Home initiative currently has some vacant capacity.   OCFS will work closely with NYC to determine the projected needs for any additional facilities or changes to current New York City Close to Home practices to address the needs of older New York City youth who may be placed with New York City through Family Court placements as the result of the Raise the Age legislation.  Currently 73% of youth served in Close to Home initiative are over the age of 16, so the programs are familiar with the needs of older youth.   

Will existing OCFS-certified detention facilities be permitted to house Adolescent Offenders (AOs)?
There are significant vacancies in existing certified detention facilities.  OCFS will work with the State Commission of Correction to determine the capacity of current certified secure detention facilities to convert a portion of their facilities into the specialized secure juvenile detention facilities for older youth required by law to house alleged and certain sentenced adolescent offenders and what other options exist to fulfill the need for these specialized beds. 

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.  However, a county could choose to convert an existing jail to operate solely as a specialized secure juvenile detention facility.   

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.  OCFS is currently looking at the expected impact of the legislation on the placement numbers, but New York State has done a remarkable job over the past 5 years in continuing to reduce reliance on out of home placement for all youth in the juvenile justice system.  It is our expectation that these same strategies and approaches will be applied to 16- and 17-year-olds with the same level of success. 

What expectations and requirements will OCFS have for handling additional youth with problematic behaviors on campuses?  Will there be different regulations?
In anticipation of RTA, OCFS has been developing enhanced regulations, policy directives and support for agencies to more effectively manage and address the needs of challenging youth. OCFS anticipates new and amended regulations will be released for public comment by early 2018. 

How will the State support Regional Treatment Centers (RTCs) when additional youth with criminogenic histories are admitted and may act out?
Over the last several years, OCFS has conducted targeted reviews and focused technical assistance and monitoring where foster care agencies have faced challenges.  Agencies will be provided guidance on evidence-based practices, the risk-needs-responsivity framework, and lessons learned from OCFS’ own facilities.  OCFS has also worked closely with the Close to Home facilities and ACS to provide guidance, oversight and technical assistance to improve the outcomes in those facilities. OCFS anticipates that a higher rate will be required to meet the needs of these youth and will be promulgating regulations to address the needs of youth who are placed in out of home placement for a delinquency matter. 

How will decisions be made regarding which youth go to community supervision (Probation), foster care agencies, or juvenile justice facilities?
Currently, local departments of probation utilize an actuarial risk and needs assessment instrument for youth moving to petition in Family Court.  The recommendations of probation inform the judiciary regarding the youth’s level of risk and need and the recommendation for supervision or placement. That process will be applied to the older youth in Family Court. Additionally, OCFS, DCJS and the Unified Court System have created a strong partnership to help counties support a robust array of alternatives to placement that 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. OCFS anticipates setting enhanced maximum state aid rates that 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?
As is current practice, agencies determine their own interest and capacity to work with specific populations of children and youth.  OCFS will partner with the foster care   agencies and their trade association (COFCCA), local departments of social services and their association (NYPWA) and other stakeholders to identify the best approaches to effectively and safely serve the needs of this population.   

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
WYSIWYG

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 16- and 17-year-olds be removed from Rikers.

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?
Consistent with current practice for 14- and 15-year-olds, there is no provision under RTA that allows for additional adjustment services under Article 3 of the Family Court Act for youth who are removed from the Youth Part. 

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Adolescent Offender Facilities
Adolescent Offender Facilities
WYSIWYG

Where will the newly-created facilities for Adolescent Offenders be located?
The newly-created AO facilities operated by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) will be located at Adirondack Correctional Facility in Essex County (operational October 1, 2018) and the former Groveland Annex in Livingston County (operational October 1, 2019). In addition to the newly created facilities, the Hudson Correctional Facility which is currently used to house incarcerated 16 and 17 year olds will transition to a AO facility. Hudson 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. Hudson will remain an Office of Mental Health and Medical Level 1 facility providing medical and mental health services 24 hours a day.

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, will work to further implement and monitor 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.  It 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 will staff the adolescent offender facilities with specially trained corrections officers. OCFS staff will 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 will assist 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 will assign 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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