WHEREAS the Family Court, the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, the Attorney General, the Public Defender, the Criminal Justice Council and other interested and informed groups have entered into productive discussions concerning the development of guidelines for making decisions regarding adjudicated youth; and
WHEREAS, a conference jointly sponsored by the Family Court, the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families and the Criminal Justice Council is scheduled to develop consensus on a framework for guiding dispositions for adjudicated youth as well as options for placement and/or treatment of such youth; and
WHEREAS, the General Assembly wishes to support this effort and provide legislative oversight and direction to the aforementioned group.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend Part A. Subchapter III, Chapter 9, Title 10, Delaware Code, by designating §936 as §936A and inserting a new §936B to read as follows:
§936B. Committee on Dispositional Guidelines for Juveniles.
(a) There is hereby established a Committee on Dispositional Guidelines for Juveniles.
(b) The members of the Committee shall include the following persons or their designees:
the Chief Judge of the Family Court; Family Court Judge, designated by the Chief Judge; Secretary, DSCYF; Director, Division of Youth Rehabilitative Service; Attorney General; Public Defender; Executive Director, Criminal Justice Council; Executive Director, Delaware Council on Crime and Justice; Executive Vice President, Child, Inc.; Designee of the United Way of Delaware Chair, Foster Care Review Board; Governor's Assistant for Criminal Justice; Chairperson of the Senate Committee of Children, Youth and Families; Chairperson of the House Committee on Human Resources; Executive Dir., Del. Volunteer Legal Service.
(c) The Committee is hereby directed to develop recommendations on guidelines for use in determining dispositions for juvenile offenders. The guidelines shall include clear, consistent and objective criteria for determining that the rehabilitation plan for a youth should include a period of secure incarceration. Such guidelines shall reflect the General Assembly's intent that only chronic or violent juvenile offenders require secure incarceration, and that other adjudicated youth are more appropriately and effectively served through less restrictive programs.
(d) The Committee shall also develop guidelines for the process to be used by the Family Court and the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families in reaching dispositional decisions, which shall include:
(1) consideration of the instant offense(s) for which the youth has been adjudicated
(2) consideration of the youth's prior record of delinquency
(3) the availability of less restrictive interventions which will protect public safety and provide the youth an opportunity for rehabilitation
(e) The Committee shall develop a list of services required to provide a full continuum of placement and/or treatment options for adjudicated delinquent youth. In developing this list, the Committee shall:
(1) review available data from both the Family Court and the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Theft. Families concerning the characteristics of youth who come to the attention of these agencies;
(2) review existing programs and services of the Family Court, of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, and other agencies within the State;
(3) review relevant information describing dispositional services from other states and from the professional literature; and
(4) consult with experts both within and outside the State.
(f) The Committee shall prepare a written report and recommendations and shall forward any recommendations requiring legislative action to the appropriate committee(s) of the General Assembly by January 1, 1991.