Current law provides for the supervision of persons discharged from the Division of Juvenile Facilities and from county juvenile facilities by county probation departments and provides funds to the counties for that purpose. This bill would require every county, after consultation with stakeholders, to establish at least one juvenile transition center in the county that would provide housing and services to youth upon release from juvenile correctional facilities.
AAP Positional Letter
April 1, 2018
Honorable Tony Thurmond
State Capitol, P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249
RE: AB 1488 (Thurmond): County juvenile transition centers
AAP-CA Position: Support
Dear Assemblymember Thurmond:
The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA), representing over 5,000 California pediatricians, strongly supports your proposed legislation AB 1488 (Thurmond), which would require counties to establish a Juvenile Transition Center to provide wraparound reentry services and optional transitional housing for youth who were previously associated with a juvenile correctional facility.
As stated in AAP policy, “Youth in the juvenile correctional system are a high-risk population who, in many cases, have unmet physical, developmental, and mental health needs. Multiple studies have found that some of these health issues occur at higher rates than in the general adolescent population.”
The California Division of Juvenile Facilities has found that overwhelming majorities of its release populations experience mental health disorders and substance abuse problems. Many youth exiting the juvenile justice system have no home to return to, increasing their chances of recidivism: surveys suggest that as many as three in five homeless youth have been arrested, often for “survival crimes” such as food theft, or offenses such as loitering and panhandling that are associated with homelessness.
AB 1488 (Thurmond) would increase the support available to youth exiting the juvenile justice system by providing re-entry and transitional housing services to those youth who request it. This would keep children who have no home to go back to, or a hostile home environment, from being turned out onto the street immediately upon exiting the juvenile justice system, while also providing much-needed rehabilitative services to help these kids build a better life for themselves.
Pediatrician members of AAP California Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4 across the state strongly support your proposed legislation AB 1488 (Thurmond). Thank you for your public service and leadership on behalf of the health and wellbeing of children, youth, and families in California.
cc: AAP-CA Leadership; Lobbyist Lydia Bourne