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Deinstitutionalization of Status Offenders (DSO)

Compliance with DSO

Washington State was found to be out of compliance with the DSO requirement of the JJDP Act from FFY 2000 through 2010, and was hence penalized a cumulative total of over 2.7 million in federal Formula Grant funds. State law – the At-Risk/Runaway Youth Act also known as the “Becca bill” – which became effective in July 1995, authorized the creation of “Secure” Crisis Residential Centers (S-CRCs) to receive runaway youth taken into custody by law enforcement officers. Per state law, youth could be placed in a S-CRC by law enforcement, by Children’s Administration staff (only after the filing of a CHINS petition–youth must be considered at risk of harm or running away), and under limited circumstances, by transfer from a semi-secure facility if the youth is assessed as a risk to run.

State law (RCW 13.32A.130) was amended in 2009, to provide that a youth admitted to a secure crisis residential facility not located in a juvenile detention center or a semi-secure facility may remain for up to 15 consecutive days. “If a child is transferred between a secure and semi-secure facility, the aggregate length of time a child may remain in both facilities, shall not exceed 15 consecutive days per admission, and in no event may a child’s stay in a secure facility located in a juvenile detention center exceed five days per admission.”

In 2009, the number of Secure CRC beds was reduced from 60 beds total within nine facilities to 40 beds total within six facilities, as a result of reductions to the 2009 operating budget. As of December 2011, there are 37 total Secure CRC beds statewide within six facilities. Two of these CRCs are located within specific designated areas of secure juvenile detention facilities—in Chelan and Clallam counties, representing 8 beds total—and the remaining four are privately operated facilities that meet the federal definition of staff-secure facilities.

During SFY 2011 (July 2010 to June 2011), there was a total of 1,016 admissions/placement of youth to the secure crisis residential centers (staff secure and detention-based), a decrease (37 percent) from SFY 2010 when there were 1,612 total admissions.

The state achieved compliance with the DSO core requirement in 2010 (based on 2009 data findings). With eight beds total in the two operating detention-based secure crisis residential centers, and an average of only 3 to 4 admissions per month in each facility, it is not anticipated the number of DSO violations in juvenile detention facilities will significantly increase in the future due to youth held in these two secure crisis residential centers. There was a slight increase in the number of violations from these two facilities from 2010 to 2011 – from 30 violations in 2009 and 2010, to a total of 35 violations (based on 12 months of calendar year data) for CY 2011. The average length of stay for admissions of status offenders to these two facilities continues to be two days, and more than one-third (35%) of the youth admitted were released in under 24 hours in 2011.

DSO Violations Summary for CY 2005-2010 and 2011 Estimate

Therefore, it is anticipated the state will maintain its compliance with DSO based on the preliminary data findings for 2011, and will again be below the 5.8 de minimis rate per 100,000 juveniles (63 DSO violations would equal a rate of 4.10 for Washington State). As such, it is anticipated the state would again be eligible to apply for the full Title II Formula Grants award in FY 2013 (based, of course, on OJJDP’s determination, and findings with the other core requirements as well).