PA 13-268—SB 1163

Judiciary Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE PREVENTION OF URBAN YOUTH DELINQUENCY AND VIOLENCE

SUMMARY: This act requires the Court Support Services Division (CSSD) of the Judicial Branch, within available resources, to collaborate with at least one private community-based service provider in Hartford to (1) inventory Hartford programs designed to promote positive youth development and reduce youth contact with the juvenile justice system and (2) design a process to identify and refer at-risk youth to such programs. The chief court administrator must report to the Judiciary Committee on the inventory and process by February 1, 2014.

The act authorizes up to $1. 5 million in general obligation bonds for the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to provide grants-in aid, of up to $500,000 each, to:

1. the Metropolitan Economic Development Commission to create elderly housing,

2. the John E. Rogers African American Cultural Center to convert the former Northwest-Jones School to a cultural center, and

3. Catholic Charities of Hartford to create affordable housing with supportive services.

The grants can be used for construction, improvements, repairs, renovations, and, except for Catholic Charities of Hartford, land acquisition.

The act also requires the DECD commissioner, within available appropriations, to establish a Connecticut Young Adult Conservation Corps program. The program generally requires recipients of the bond proceeds described above to set aside at least 10% of all positions for employable youth and young adults at each facility for five years. The commissioner (1) may audit and investigate these organizations and bring an action for failure to comply and (2) must annually report on the program.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage for the youth program inventory; July 1, 2013 for the bond authorization; and January 1, 2014 for the Connecticut Young Adult Conservation Corps.

HARTFORD YOUTH PROGRAM

The act specifies that the inventory of programs must indicate the types of services the programs provide, including:

1. screening and assessment;

2. crisis intervention;

3. family mediation;

4. educational evaluations and advocacy;

5. mental health treatment and services, including gender specific trauma treatment and services;

6. resiliency skills building;

7. access to positive social activities;

8. short-term respite care; and

9. access to services for children in the juvenile justice system.

The provider or providers with which CSSD collaborates to inventory the programs may include a family support center or centers. Family support centers are community-based service centers for children and families against whom a family with service needs complaint has been filed.

CONNECTICUT YOUNG ADULT CONSERVATION CORPS PROGRAM

Program

The act requires the DECD commissioner, within available appropriations, to establish a Connecticut Young Adult Conservation Corps program, similar to the former federal Young Adult Conservation Corps program (see BACKGROUND). The program's purpose is to employ youth and young adults (i. e. , age 16 to 25, except for emancipated 16 and 17-year-olds) at the organizations receiving bond proceeds under the act (e. g. , Catholic Charities of Hartford).

Under the act, the heads of these organizations must set aside at least 10% of all their employment positions for employable youth and young adults. The set-aside must (1) begin in the fiscal year following the fiscal year in which the organization first receives bond proceeds and (2) continue for five consecutive fiscal years. However, the commissioner may extend the start date to comply with these requirements for good cause shown.

Audits and Investigations

The act allows the DECD commissioner to (1) audit the financial, corporate, and business records of the organizations and (2) investigate them to determine program compliance.

Action for Noncompliance

The act authorizes the commissioner, acting through the attorney general, to bring an action on behalf of the state against any organization that fails to set aside the required number of positions. The action may seek (1) compliance or (2) recovery of the reasonable amount of wages that the organization would have paid to employable youths and young adults had it complied.

Reporting Requirement

The act requires the DECD commissioner to submit to the General Assembly an annual report assessing and evaluating the program. The first report is due no later than December 1 after the fiscal year in which the organizations first receive bond proceeds. The commissioner must submit the report by the same date in each of the next four years.

BACKGROUND

The Federal Young Adult Conservation Corps Program (YACC)

The 1977 Youth Employment and Demonstration Projects Act (P. L. 95–93) established YACC to employ youths who would not otherwise be productively employed on a year-round basis to perform resource management work on public lands. The Department of Labor administered the program, which continued through the early 1980s. To be eligible for YACC, a person had to be (1) unemployed, (2) between ages 16 through 23, (3) a U. S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, and (4) physically capable of carrying out the work.

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