Stepping Up: Florida’s Civil Citation Efforts 2016 Report

Contact Information: Ms. Cindy Gerhardt, President, president@floridapta.org,407-855-7604, FAX 407-240-9577, www.floridapta.orgFLPTA logo

September 14, 2016

PTA is the oldest and largest child advocacy group in the nation. PTA’s mission is to make every child’s potential a reality, by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children.  “All children” includes those who are displaced, are in foster care or who find themselves in the Juvenile Justice system.
PTA has long advocated for policies that would protect the rights of children and youth who come into contact with the Juvenile Justice System. Beginning in 1899, PTA was one of the first associations to encourage federal and state lawmakers to create a safe and rehabilitative justice system for children by establishing separate courts and probation systems from those serving adults. Today, PTA continues to support programs that work to prevent juvenile delinquency and provide youth currently in the system with services to help them become productive members of society.
PTA also monitors, supports, and advocates for laws and programs that:
  • Promote initiatives to address racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic inequities in the juvenile justice system.
  • Include evidence-based family engagement strategies in juvenile justice and delinquency prevention programs.
  • Incentivize community, school and family-focused interventions for status offenses, such as breaking curfew.
  • Promote alternative dispute resolution techniques that provide a range of possible sanctions.
  • Support programs that continue a child’s education while detained and allows for a smooth transition back to the classroom and their community.
  • Support research and data collection regarding youth offenses.
As has been a priority for more than one hundred years, PTA remains deeply committed to working with decision makers to advocate for safe and supportive juvenile justice systems that help every child reach his or her full potential.
It makes sound sense that we provide a better option and outcome for youth who commit misdemeanor offenses and who have the ability and desire to rehabilitate.  Arrest should not be the first answer; incarceration should be a last resort.  This data clearly shows that the use of civil citations increases public safety, saves taxpayer money, and improves youth outcomes.  The data is startling and statistics clearly show that not only is this a logical option for communities, but offers a cost savings over incarceration that can free up more revenue for education.  What district and school could not benefit from more resources to get ahead of these issues and find means of prevention, rather than be reactive to the problem with an answer that promotes recidivism among our youth? The ability to issue civil citations, evaluate a child’s living environment and offer service to the community is by far a more valuable investment in our children and will benefit our state long term. This program promotes public safety and its success will rely on participation throughout the state.
Florida PTA is proud to support this important study and we will continue to work to bring awareness to the use of civil citations instead of arresting thousands of youth across the state of Florida. We will remain committed to finding and promoting better ways to keep communities safer, families stronger and children protected.
For more information, please contact info@floridapta.org or call 407-855-7604.
Florida PTA comprises hundreds of thousands of families, students, teachers, administrators and business and community leaders devoted to improving the lives of children/youth in our state. PTA is the oldest and largest child advocacy association in the state of Florida, as well as the nation. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children. More information is available by contacting Florida PTA (407/855-7604 or executive.director@floridapta.org).
 
For more information visit our website www.floridapta.org and/or our Facebook page for programs available in your community.

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