To Our Dedicated Staff:
I wanted to update you on the continuing changes to the operation of the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Yesterday, Governor Newsom signed SB 823 which, among other things, will set us on the path for the eventual closure of DJJ and transition of youth offenders to local county jurisdictions.
Let me assure you that the change is not immediate, and facilities will remain staffed for the foreseeable future. In fact, there is not a definitive closure date at this time.
However, SB 823 does set some critical items into motion, including the suspension of intake of new commitments to DJJ starting on July 1, 2021, with a few exceptions, as well as the creation of an Office of Youth and Community Restoration under the California Health and Human Services Agency. This Office will oversee the gradual transition of youth offenders from state to local custody over the next several years.
In the coming weeks and months, we will be sharing more detailed information with the staff, youth and families impacted to ensure collaboration, transparency and open communication. We will be working closely with Human Resources and personnel to answer all of your questions and/or concerns, and we will be posting information on the intranet as well.
As your Director, please know how proud I am of the work that you do on a daily basis to care for some of California’s most challenged youth. Your ability to continue doing that, even as we work through complex challenges resulting from COVID-19, makes me even more grateful for your continuing dedication. As we reflect on our past work and look toward future opportunities, rest assured that you are valued and appreciated, and have made a real difference for the youth in our care. Please keep up the good work as we continue to fulfill our mission.
If the need for counseling support should arise for you or your colleagues, please contact the Employee Assistance Program at 866-327-4762 or https://soceap.magellanascend.com/ and Peer Support at 1-855-897-9822. Additionally, Law Enforcement and Community Services/Chaplain Corps support are available at 916-365-2273. You could also consider reaching out to a supervisor if you or a peer needs help.