State of New Jersey
Executive Order #27

Governor James J. Florio

WHEREAS, there continues to be an absence of a comprehensive, coordinated range of services for juveniles who become involved in the juvenile justice system; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Corrections, Division of Juvenile Services, has shown that alternative correctional programs for troubled youth are appropriate and cost-effective; and

WHEREAS, there continues to be a lack of sufficient alternatives to costly institutional care; and

WHEREAS, substantial numbers of juveniles require timely prevention and intervention services; and

WHEREAS, it is essential that we avoid duplication and make the best possible use of public funds; and

WHEREAS, there are a number of separate departments and agencies involved in providing services to troubled youth; and

WHEREAS, effective prevention and intervention services for youth at risk of involvement with the juvenile justice system will require cooperative and coordinated efforts of various departments of state, county and local governments as well as business, religious and community organizations; and

WHEREAS, the Attorney General has developed and released an Attorney General Directive to police and prosecutors on the handling of juvenile matters;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JAMES J. FLORIO, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in my by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:

1. There is hereby created a Governor's Cabinet Action Group on Juvenile Justice (hereafter referred to as the Action Group). The Action Group shall consist of the Attorney General, who shall serve as chairperson; the Commissioner of Education; the Commissioner of Health; the Commissioner of Human Services; the Commissioner of Corrections; the Commissioner of Labor; the Commissioner of Community Affairs; and the Public Advocate. The Administrative Director of the Courts should be invited to participate in the activities of the Action Group.

2. The responsibilities and functions of the Action Group shall include:

a. Identifying, developing and implementing a range of services, both residential and non-residential, for juvenile justice system involved youth so that more uniform, timely, cost-effective and appropriate alternatives to institutional care are made available to youth for whom institutional care is not warranted.

b. Consistent with the Code of Juvenile Justice, working cooperatively to expand the range of disposition options available to the Court, including the sharing of resources to allow for more appropriate intervention services at the local level.

c. Substantially increasing the availability of drug treatment services to juvenile justice system involved youth and youth at risk of involvement with the juvenile justice system.

d. Developing formal interdepartmental policy and planning agreements in order to improve coordination and cooperation among state departments of government in the provision of services to youth at risk of involvement with the juvenile justice system. These agreements must include cross training sessions including cultural and ethnic sensitivity training, the willingness to share state and federal resources, and a mechanism to share data and department policy decisions affecting juvenile justice system involved youth.

e. Developing more efficient, cost-effective community-based prevention and intervention services to prevent youth from proceeding further into the juvenile justice system. This shall include expanded efforts to keep troubled youth within the educational system and an emphasis by each department of state government on the development of public/private partnerships in their service delivery systems for youth.

f. Reporting to the Governor on an ongoing basis as to issues, programs and the setting of budgetary and policy priorities.

3. The Action Group shall begin its efforts immediately. The Action Group shall work cooperatively with the Judiciary and Legislature and shall consult with the State Youth Services Commission, the Association for Children of N.J., the Governor's Committee on Children's Services Planning, the Governor's Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Advisory Committee, the Juvenile Delinquency Commission, the Governor's Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, and any other agencies and organizations involved with policy and program issues for delinquent and pre-delinquent youth.

4. The Office of the Attorney General shall coordinate staffing needs of the Action Group. Each member of the Action Group shall assign a representative of his or her department to be designated as staff support to the Action Group. The Action Group is authorized to call upon any department or agency of state government to provide such information, resources or other assistance deemed necessary to discharge their responsibilities under this Executive Order.

5. This order shall take effect immediately.

GIVEN, under my hand and seal
this 11th day of March in the Year
of Our Lord, one thousand nine
hundred and ninety-one, and of the
Independence of the United States,
the two hundred and fifteenth.

/s/ James J. Florio


/s/ Andrew Weber
Chief Counsel to the Governor