DJJ's Implementation Ruling Still Wrong

Counties prevail on 'two day rule' and actual costs; DJJ prevails on new law violations of probation

Late yesterday, the state of Florida Division of Administrative Hearings Judge David Watkins issued his ruling regarding juvenile detention cost share.  While there were many arguments made during the course of this rule challenge, the judge ruled with counties on all but one of them.

Counties have been responsible for funding a portion of juvenile detention for eleven years and the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is still failing to correctly implement this decade old statute.  The judge's ruling further confirms DJJ's inattentive and careless approach, reinforcing the need for the legislature to act this year.

FAC and Florida's counties recognize that it is the judicious application of local tax dollars that is at stake here.  But it is clear that DJJ can not ensure that actual costs.  It is imperative that the legislature act during the Session to change this broken system.

If the legislature does not act, DJJ will once again have to go back to the rule making drawing board which has consistently been flawed.  It is time to move forward with a true 50/50 partnership so that we can end this bureaucratic malpractice and focus on caring for these youth who so rightly need our help.

For a more thorough summary of the arguments and outcomes, please click here for a FAC's white paper on the issue.  To read the entire ruling, please click here.

FAC's Argument

Judge's Ruling

1.  DJJ should not automatically assume that a juvenile arrested with in two days of impending incarceration has committed a new violation and charge counties accordingly.

Counties - DJJ has data available to determine why a juvenile was arrested prior to detention and should bill counties based off of actual data and not assumptions.

2.  If an adjudicated juvenile is on probation and is arrested for the new violation, the state is responsible for those costs.

DJJ - If a child is on probation and commits a new law violation, detention days related to the new law violation are the responsibility of the counties  

3.  DJJ should use actual costs, not a legislative appropriation to determine the individual county cost share.

Counties - A legislative appropriation does not impact the existing statute.  Therefore, DJJ must use actual and real costs for detention when billing counties.

4.  Counties are required by law to be consulted when DJJ is estimating and reconciling billing costs.

Counties - Existing law requires, and the rule must articulate that DJJ will consult with counties on calculations.

5.  The existing law clearly states that DJJ is responsible for "preadjudicatory  non-medical educational or therapeutic services." yet this was not a cost assumed in the rule.

Counties - Existing law requires, and the rule must articulate that DJJ is responsible for these defined expenses.

Ruling Summary