National Center for Youth Law


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Youth diversion funding available in 2019

In 2019, the State of California will make available more than $40 million for youth diversion, through the NCYL-sponsored Youth Reinvestment Grant and Fostering Success Funds. These funds will support community-based, culturally rooted, trauma-informed services for youth in California as alternatives to arrest and incarceration. Members of the NCYL team are working to ensure a diverse group of applicants is informed about the funds and prepared to apply.

Thousands of California youth are arrested every year for low-level offenses. Youth who are arrested or incarcerated for low-level offenses are less likely to graduate high school, more likely to suffer negative health-outcomes, and more likely to have later contact with the justice system. Evidence has repeatedly shown that providing community-based services instead of arresting and incarcerating youth improves outcomes for youth and increases public safety.

Youth Reinvestment Grant

The Youth Reinvestment Grant (YRG) is a one-time state expenditure of $37.3 million distributed over a three-year grant period. Grants of $50,000 – $1 million will be awarded through a competitive grant process to fund community-based, trauma informed, culturally relevant, developmentally appropriate, and health-based diversion programs.

Funds must be awarded to a local government agency or department, and 90% of grant money must pass through to a community-based organization or organizations. Communities with high juvenile arrest rates and high racial and ethnic disparities in juvenile justice system involvement will be given priority for funding.

Three percent of the YRG is set aside for tribal grants. These funds must be awarded to federally recognized Indian tribes for implementing diversion programs for youth using culturally-relevant, trauma-informed, community-based, and health-based interventions. Non-federally recognized tribes are eligible for general YRG funds.

The YRG is currently in development and a request for proposals (RFP) is expected in early 2019. More information can be found on the BSCC website.

Fostering Success Fund

The Fostering Success Fund will provide $4 million over a three-year grant period to support foster youth who are at risk of being criminalized for minor misbehaviors and low-level offenses.

A portion of the funds are available for training local law enforcement, group home and shelter staff on alternatives to arrest and responses to youthful behavior, including de-escalation techniques. The majority of the funds are for community-based, culturally relevant, trauma-informed services for foster youth as an alternative to arrest and incarceration.

Prospective lead agencies must submit a plan by February 1, 2019. Additional information can be found in the ACIN just published by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS).

For more information about either of these grant opportunities, please contact Anna Johnson at or Briana Zweifler at