SECTION 1. Chapter 6 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:-
Section 219. (a) There shall be a special interagency task force to investigate and study methods of instituting gender-responsive programming for juvenile justice system-involved girls and improve the effectiveness of services for juvenile justice system-involved girls.
(b) The task force shall consist of: 2 members of the senate, 1 of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader; 2 members of the house of representatives, 1 of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader; the secretary of health and human services or a designee; the commissioner of elementary and secondary education or a designee; the commissioner of probation or a designee; the commissioner of youth services or a designee; the commissioner of children and families or a designee; the commissioner of mental health or a designee; the commissioner of public health or a designee; the chief counsel for the committee for public counsel services or a designee; the chief justice of the juvenile court department or a designee; and 8 persons to be appointed by the governor who are current state vendors or representatives of current state vendors that provide direct services to high-risk girls and who collectively serve or reside in each major geographic area of the commonwealth. The governor shall designate a chairperson or 2 co-chairpersons from the members of the task force.
(c) The task force shall: (i) conduct a review of gender-responsive programming implementation successes and challenges in the commonwealth and in other states’ juvenile justice systems; (ii) conduct a review of the published reports, curricula and best practices for gender-specific programming by government, foundations and non-profit organizations; (iii) conduct a review of leading indicators that statistically result in girls becoming involved in juvenile justice systems; (iv) review relevant state training curricula; (v) review relevant state agencies’ methods of data collection and aggregation by gender and race; (vi) analyze and evaluate relevant state contracts with private or community-based vendors to determine whether the vendors utilize a comprehensive approach when providing programming for girls involved in juvenile justice systems; (vii) analyze and report the rates of recidivism amongst juvenile justice system-involved girls; (viii) analyze and report the rates of non-juvenile justice system executive agency service utilization by juvenile justice system-involved girls; (ix) track and analyze educational attainment of juvenile justice system-involved girls; (x) hold at least 3 regional meetings to solicit the input of community members and agencies serving high-risk girls; and (xi) establish a mechanism for incorporating the opinions of juvenile justice system-involved girls into the findings of the task force.
(d) The task force shall meet at least 4 times per year at the call of the chair or chairpersons or at the call of a majority of the members of the task force. The task force may seek assistance from other organizations or individuals on a pro bono basis. The task force shall file biennial reports that shall include recommendations relative to community-based and state-wide gender-responsive programming for serving high-risk and juvenile justice system-involved girls with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives who shall forward the same to the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities.
SECTION 2. The initial report of the special interagency task force shall be filed by January 31, 2016.
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