UVA law students and professor work with Sen. McClellan on SB 485 bill

UVA School of Law
UVA School of Law
Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 5:41 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - UVA law students are working in partnership with Virginia State Senator Jennifer McClellan.

Her bill, SB 485, passed the Senate unanimously and is now headed to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s desk for a signature. It’s designed to update the Delinquency Prevention and Youth Development Act.

The goal is to make it easier for local government to accept state money to help initiate afterschool, mentorship, and youth employment programs.

“This bill will help children across Virginia receive the preventative help they need,” Sen. McClellan said. “We need to give more Virginia localities flexibility for proven programs that help intervene before children run into trouble with the legal system. This is an opportunity to build our communities, make them safer, and support the children of Virginia.”

Andrew Block, a UVA state and local government policy professor, and his students helped develop the bill. He says many existing programs for at-risk children and teens are are only available after they encounter the criminal justice system.

“Most Virginia laws affecting kids, wait until after they’re in trouble or something bad has happened to them before we provide funding and services, and it’s one of the few state statues that really focus on well before they get in trouble,” Block said.

He says research shows early intervention tools are beneficial.

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