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Agency Mission Statement:
The Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA) along with its community partners provide prevention, education, and treatment services for at-risk youth throughout Oklahoma. This joint effort creates a statewide system that supports and encourages young people to achieve their full potential.
Please explore more of OJA's web site for additional information about services, programs, offered through our agency.
In January, 1978, the Terry D. v. Lloyd Rader lawsuit was filed in Federal Court in Oklahoma City. The suit alleged abusive practices, unconstitutional use of isolation and restraints, the absence of adequately trained staff, and the mixing of offenders with non-offenders. As a result, a number of public institutions were closed, and the Department of Human Services implemented a variety of community-based programs for children and youth, including both residential and non-residential services.
Creation of OJA
In 1994, the Oklahoma Legislature passed the Juvenile Reform Act (H.B. 2640) creating OJA as the state juvenile justice agency, effective July 1, 1995. This legislation also created the Youthful Offender (YO) Act to provide justice for serious and habitual juvenile offenders 15 through 17 years of age.
OJA was given the responsibility and authority to manage the state's juvenile affairs, a seven member board was created with appointments by Governor Frank Keating based off the advice and consent of the Senate.
On April 5, 1996, OJA was able to meet the Federal Court requirements for dismissal of the Terry D. lawsuit. A new era of innovative programs, increased community involvement, and an enhanced, open relationship with the judiciary had begun.
NEXT GENERATION CAMPUS
Governor Mary Fallin signed HB2387, in 2017, which allows OJA to build a state of the art campus for young people receiving care in the agency’s secure care facilities.
The campus will be built on the grounds currently occupied by the Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center in Tecumseh. Ultimately, the campus will serve as the single secure care facility operated by the agency as operations from two other centers will be centralized onto the new campus.