OJJDP Publishes Emergency Planning Guide for Juvenile Justice Residential Facilities

Photo of flood conditions in New Orleans, LA

OJJDP has released a new publication to assist juvenile justice residential facilities in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from emergencies. Emergency Planning for Juvenile Justice Residential Facilities is the first comprehensive planning guide to address the specific needs of facility staff and children, youth, and families involved in the justice system during an emergency.

The document was developed in response to the National Commission on Children and Disasters' recommendation in October 2009 that OJJDP form a working group whose mission is to improve juvenile justice emergency preparedness nationwide. In response, OJJDP established the Justice Working Group on Children and Disasters made up of staff from federal agencies, experts in emergency planning, juvenile justice practitioners, mental and behavioral health professionals, and educators—many of whom administered programs or were first responders in a major emergency during the past 5 years.

For months, the working group members met to share resources and experiences in the area of emergency planning, response, and recovery. Emergency Planning for Juvenile Justice Residential Facilities is the result of their work.

The guide is divided into 12 sections. Section 1 provides an overview of the planning process and provides information about:

  • Forming a planning team.
  • Assessing the facility's preparedness.
  • Analyzing courses of action.
  • Writing, approving, disseminating, exercising, and updating the plan.

Sections 2–12 provide an indepth look at key issues for juvenile justice residential facilities to consider as they write or update their plans. These include:

  • Emergency preparedness training for staff.
  • The protection of critical infrastructure.
  • Protocols for communication with families, other agencies, and the public.
  • Effective emergency medical care and mental health services.

A list of references and resources at the end of the document provides additional sources of information about how to best prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies.

"Through the guidance offered in this document, we encourage facilities to develop comprehensive emergency plans that will make a real and tangible difference in the safety and well-being of the most vulnerable individuals in our nation's justice system. These young people, their families, and the staff who care for them deserve nothing less," said Laurie O. Robinson, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs.


To order a printed copy of Emergency Planning for Juvenile Justice Residential Facilities, visit the National Criminal Justice Reference Service Web site.