November | December 2012

National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention Convenes in Washington, DC
National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention banner.

On December 10–11, 2012, the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention met for its annual working session in Washington, DC. Established at the direction of President Obama in 2010, the forum brings together federal, state, and local partners in a collaborative effort to address youth violence in 10 U.S. cities.

The cities have rallied local stakeholders—police, educators, public health and other service providers, faith and community leaders, parents, and youth—to develop comprehensive strategic plans to combat local youth violence. The cities' plans are data driven and address youth violence through a range of strategies, including prevention, intervention, enforcement, and reentry.

The working session provided an opportunity to report on progress made in developing and implementing the cities' plans to address youth violence; to share information about opportunities and challenges; and to be briefed on best practices for organizational and systems change. The session also featured breakout sessions on a range of topics, including education, housing, and youth employment strategies; information sharing; reentry; coalition building; and data collection.

On the session's second day, representatives of the forum cities were joined by grantees from eight demonstration sites in Attorney General Eric Holder's Defending Childhood Initiative, launched in September 2010 to prevent, address, and reduce childhood exposure to violence. The grantees are preparing to implement coordinated, community-based strategies to address children's exposure to violence. Defending Childhood's demonstration sites are the city of Boston, MA; the city of Portland, ME; the Chippewa Cree Tribe, MT; the city of Grand Forks, ND; the Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners, OH; the Multnomah County Department of Human Services, OR; the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, SD; and Shelby County, TN.

In introductory remarks before the joint session, OJJDP Acting Administrator Melodee Hanes expressed the hope that the joint session might serve as a springboard for partnerships and collaboration between the forum and Defending Childhood and a further alignment of their efforts to promote positive youth development.

Participants in the joint session were briefed by Vincent Felitti, M.D., co-principal investigator of the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, one of the largest studies ever undertaken to examine the link between childhood maltreatment and health and well-being in later life; and Nadine Burke Harris, M.D., M.P.H., chief executive officer of the Center for Youth Wellness, a comprehensive health and wellness center in San Francisco that integrates medical, mental health, and social services for urban youth.


To learn more about the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, read About the Collaboration, review the Logic Model, and visit Forum in the News. More information about the Defending Childhood Initiative is available online.