From the Administrator

In December 1996, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention hosted "Juvenile Justice At The Crossroads," a national conference that focused on one of the most significant areas of public concern in this country. More than 650 juvenile justice practitioners, researchers, policymakers, public interest group representatives, and other youth-serving professionals gathered to discuss how to face the challenge of preventing delinquency, strengthening the juvenile justice system, and meeting the needs of today's youth while planning for the youth of tomorrow.

One of the strengths of this conference was its showcasing of effective and promising programs that offer hope and practical strategies for the future. As I moved about the conference workshops, I was struck by the energy and enthusiasm of the participants and the often-expressed belief that, if given the opportunity, we are on the threshold of being able to make a meaningful difference in the lives of delinquent offenders and children at risk of delinquency through full-scale implementation of our efforts.

Thanks to decades of research and practical experience, we now know substantially more about what works to improve the lives of these children. It is time for us to take advantage of increased public attention to help muster the national will to focus our resources on doing what is necessary to prevent delinquency and protect our communities. This special issue of Juvenile Justice describes the conference proceedings and brings the many important program concepts discussed in the workshops to the attention of a wider audience.

I hope that this overview of our national conference will provide you with a new perspective on juvenile justice and delinquency prevention, and I encourage you to explore some of the concepts described here for possible inclusion in a comprehensive approach to youth-related problems in your own community.

Shay Bilchik
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

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