Funding will provide relocation assistance as part of a new Discharge Pilot Program at the Juvenile Justice Services Center
PHILADELPHIA — Today, Philadelphia City Councilmember Helen Gym announced new funding to support relocation assistance as part of a pilot discharge program for youth exiting the Juvenile Justice Services Center (PJJSC), backed by $300,000 in the City’s mid-year transfer ordinance.
The new funds will expand efforts advocated by Councilmember Gym to provide wrap-around services for youth entering and exiting the center, to help young people and their families achieve stability and safety. The pilot discharge program was initiated after a young person was killed earlier this year soon after their discharge from the PJJSC, and builds on reforms advanced by the City’s Youth Residential Placement Task Force which was created pursuant to legislation passed by Councilmember Gym. The program is run by the City’s Department of Human Services.
“To break cycles of violence and bring safety to our neighborhoods, we need to ensure justice-involved youth are given the resources they need to successfully and smoothly re-enter our communities,” said Councilmember Helen Gym (At-Large). “Until now, young people often were exiting the JJSC without the full breadth of support they needed. Providing relocation resources as part of a comprehensive program will help us disrupt harmful patterns of behavior and help young people truly thrive. This is an important step toward providing the wrap-around services youth both need and deserve.”
“The PJJSC’s discharge process is a critical component of its services for youth returning to their homes and communities. This process is youth- and family-centered and engages key stakeholders to develop a plan for youth successfully reintegrating back into their communities or relocating to a new setting,” said Gary Williams, Deputy Commissioner for Juvenile Justice Services. “We are grateful for this significant investment which will allow DHS to enhance our aftercare supports for youth exiting the PJJSC.”
The funds will be allocated to the Managing Director’s Office and are paired with an additional $1 million to support relocation for adult victims and witnesses of crimes. The transfer ordinance received committee approval and is scheduled for final vote of City Council on December 1st.