The Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice has received a $700,000 federal grant to improve community re-entry and other services for juveniles.

Virginia was one of three states (North Carolina and Iowa the others) to receive the grants from the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, said Andrew Block, director of the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice.

The department houses 362 youths at two juvenile correctional centers and 58 others at community placement programs or detention re-entry programs in local detention centers across the state.

The community placement program is typically a longer-term stay and offered in six detention centers, soon to be seven. Detention re-entry is a shorter-term program available in most local detention centers, Block said.

Officials said the grant will be used to increase staff training and technical assistance, to better engage families and other adults in re-entry planning, expanding treatment and supporting the implementation of a statewide re-entry system.

Officials said youths leaving state correctional centers face many challenges, such as mental health, substance abuse, child welfare and educational issues.

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