On December 31, 2012, President Barack Obama proclaimed January 2013 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime defines human trafficking as "an act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them."
Almost 80 percent of human trafficking cases involve sexual exploitation, and most of the victims are women and children. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children estimates that at least 100,000 American children are the victims of sex trafficking each year. Young people may be forced into prostitution, pornography, and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation to meet their daily needs for food and shelter; they may be controlled through physical, verbal, or sexual abuse; or they may receive threats of violence against their families.
OJJDP has a longstanding commitment to combating this serious problem—a problem made more challenging by widespread access to the Internet. Established in 1998, OJJDP's 61 Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces represent more than 3,000 federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies. They are dedicated to developing effective responses to the online enticement of children by sexual predators, child exploitation, and child obscenity and pornography cases. Since the program's inception, the ICAC task forces have reviewed more than 324,474 complaints of alleged child sexual victimization, resulting in the arrest of more than 33,541 individuals. In addition, approximately 280,000 law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and other professionals have been trained through the ICAC program. The task forces are a critical component of Attorney General Eric Holder's National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction.
Following are a few examples of other OJJDP efforts to combat the sexual exploitation of children:
"OJJDP is committed to working on all fronts—training and technical assistance, programs and services, research, and information—to stop this horrific form of child victimization," said Melodee Hanes, OJJDP's Acting Administrator. "We will continue to support youth advocates and communities in their efforts to combat human trafficking and to help child survivors recover and heal."
To learn more about OJJDP's training and technical assistance, visit the Web sites of the AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program. For updates on recent progress in addressing child sex trafficking in the United States, visit the Web site of OJJDP's Safe Start Center.
An overview of the Office of Justice Programs' efforts to combat human trafficking is available on the Office's Web site. For more information about the Attorney General's National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction, visit the Web site of the U.S. Department of Justice.
The text of President Barack Obama's proclamation of January 2013 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month and more information about White House initiatives to end human trafficking are available on the White House Web site.
On January 2425, 2013, OJJDP joined with other partners, including MENTOR, the Corporation for National and Community Service, Harvard School of Public Health, and United Way Worldwide, to host the third annual National Mentoring Summit in Washington, DC. The summit brought together youth mentoring organizations along with government, civic, research, and corporate leaders to evaluate best practices, review new research, and chart the mentoring field's future.
The event included an update on The Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring, a partnership between the University of Massachusetts–Boston and MENTOR that aims to make research findings on mentoring more accessible to practitioners, policymakers, and the public and to increase practitioners' skills and knowledge in applying evidence-based practices to their work.
At the summit, experts conducted workshops on a range of topics, including:
OJJDP staff conducted sessions on the Office's Multi-State Mentoring Initiative, which supports organizations that operate mentoring programs for at risk and high-risk youth in at least 5 states, and the Mentoring Enhancement Demonstration Program, which incorporates advocacy and teaching functions into mentors' roles in 32 sites across the country. The American Institutes for Research will conduct an evaluation of the program.
Research findings support the effectiveness of mentoring for improving outcomes across behavioral, social, emotional, and academic domains of youth development. Recognizing these substantial benefits, OJJDP has long supported mentoring. In fiscal year 2012, the Office awarded more than $68 million to national and local organizations to strengthen, expand, and implement youth-mentoring activities and youth-development programming throughout the nation.
January 2013 marked the 12th anniversary of National Mentoring Month, an annual media campaign to recruit volunteer mentors for youth.
To access mentoring resources, visit the Web sites of MENTOR, The Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring, and OJJDP. In addition, the National Criminal Justice Reference Service's Mentoring Resources Special Feature contains links to publications and related organizations, agencies, funding resources, and Web sites that focus on mentoring activities. More information about National Mentoring Month is available online.
"Beyond Detention," a new OJJDP publication series, details the findings of the Northwestern Juvenile Project (NJP), the first large-scale, longitudinal study of drug, alcohol, and psychiatric disorders in a diverse sample of juvenile detainees. NJP is funded by OJJDP and a consortium of eight other federal agencies and five private foundations.
This study addresses a key omission in the delinquency literature. Many studies examine the connection between risk factors and the onset of delinquency. Far fewer investigations follow youth after they are arrested and detained. Topics covered in the publication series include the prevalence of suicidal thoughts and behaviors among juvenile detainees, posttraumatic stress disorder and trauma within this population, functional impairment after detention (at work, at school, at home, or in the community), psychiatric disorders in youth processed in juvenile or adult court, barriers to mental health services, violent death among delinquent youth, and the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in youth after detention.
NJP studies a randomly selected sample of 1,829 youth who were arrested and detained in Cook County, IL, between 1995 and 1998. Baseline interviews began in November 1995; followup interviews began in November 1998 and are ongoing. The first bulletin in the series, The Northwestern Juvenile Project: Overview, discusses NJP's approach and goals, sampling and interview methods, diagnostic measures, and selected findings.
The study revealed that psychiatric disorders among detained youth are prevalent: 66 percent of males and 74 percent of females met the criteria for at least one disorder at the baseline interview in detention. The researchers found that the mental health needs of these youth are largely untreated. Among detainees with major psychiatric disorders and functional impairment, only 15 percent had been treated in the detention center before release. Only 8 percent received treatment in the community by the time of case disposition or 6 months after detention.
Three years after the baseline interview, 17 percent of detained youth had developed antisocial personality disorder (APD). Significantly more males than females developed APD. The overall mortality rate of juvenile detainees an average of 7 years after they were detained was more than four times higher than the rate in the general population. The mortality rate of female detainees was nearly eight times the rate in the general population. Ninety-six percent of deaths were homicides or legal interventions; among homicides, 93 percent resulted from gunshot wounds.
To view, download, or order a printed copy of The Northwestern Juvenile Project: Overview, visit the New Publications page. For more information about the Northwestern Juvenile Project, visit the Web site of Northwestern University's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
On December 6, 2012, Casey Family Programs, Campaign for Youth Justice, and Justice for Families, in collaboration with OJJDP, sponsored a daylong retreat for Office staff on engaging families as valued partners in the juvenile justice system.
During the opening panel presentation, staff heard firsthand about what families face when their child enters the juvenile or criminal justice system. Presenters, who included youth who have experienced incarceration as well as parents of currently or previously incarcerated juveniles, spoke of a range of challenges: little or no information about their rights and about the legal process; difficulty in locating and visiting incarcerated family members; confinement of youth in facilities located far away from their families; exposure to violence in confinement; and a lack of mental health, education, and reentry services.
Grace Bauer, codirector of Justice for Families, first encountered the juvenile justice system when her 14-year-old son, an honor roll student in Sulphur, LA, was sentenced to 5 years in a juvenile justice facility for stealing a $300 stereo out of a pickup truck. While incarcerated, her son "was beaten, raped, abused, and neglected, and he had lots of issues when he came home," Ms. Bauer said. "And there was very little aftercare. I've talked to thousands of families whose children have been victimized by the system."
Following the panel presentation and discussion, OJJDP staff met with advocates, parents, and youth to identify specific strategies that OJJDP can use to raise public awareness about the need for family engagement and to incorporate the promotion of family engagement into all of the Office's work, including grant requirements and the development of training and technical assistance resources.
On December 14, OJJDP and its National Center for Youth in Custody launched a Webinar series on family engagement. The first Webinar, titled "Engaging and Empowering Families in Juvenile Justice: An Overview From the National, State, and Local Levels," focused on how to increase family engagement at all decision points in the justice system and showcased efforts that have successfully engaged families and improved outcomes for youth.
Panelists included Melodee Hanes, OJJDP Acting Administrator, as well as John Gomez and Tammy Schneiderman, director and client services coordinator, respectively, of the Colorado Department of Human Services' Division of Youth Corrections. The second Webinar in the series, "Expanding on the Definition of Family and Engagement," was held on February 13. The Webinar explored the definition of "family," discussed what it means for agencies and practitioners to meaningfully engage with families, and offered strategies for involving and empowering families of court-involved youth.
The Webinars were made available through OJJDP's National Training and Technical Assistance Center.
Information about upcoming Webinars on family engagement will be available on the Web site of the National Center for Youth in Custody. To learn more about OJJDP's efforts to support family engagement in the juvenile justice system, read the articles "Engaging Families as Valued Partners in the Juvenile Justice System" and "OJJDP Holds Family Engagement Listening Sessions" in past issues of OJJDP News @ a Glance.
The current issue of OJJDP's Journal of Juvenile Justice features an article about Juvenile Justice 101, a peer support program in Washington state that has proven helpful in educating parents and youth about, and engaging them more fully in, the court process. A guidebook for implementing the program is available online.
Judicial Institute: Family Law: February 2427, 2013
To be held in San Antonio, TX, this conference will feature a range of family law topics on challenging issues in divorce, custody and visitation, property distribution and finances, military service and families, and the role technology and social media play both in and out of the courtroom. The event is hosted by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Registration is available online.
Responding to Missing & Unidentified Persons National Training Conference: February 27March 1, 2013
This conference will help participants navigate the complex investigative issues necessary to bring resolution to families of the missing as well as to law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Presenters at the event, to be held in Appleton, WI, will discuss the most current knowledge about information systems and technology, investigative practices, and strategies for developing effective interagency collaborations and protocols. The conference is sponsored by Fox Valley Technical College's National Criminal Justice Training Center. Registration is available online.
National Symposium on Child Abuse: March 1821, 2013
The National Children's Advocacy Center is holding this symposium in Huntsville, AL. The event will feature workshop tracks in the areas of administration, child protective services, interviewing, law enforcement, legal issues, medicine, mental health, prevention, victim advocacy, and wellness. Workshops are designed for both seasoned professionals and those new to the field. Registration is available online.
10th Annual Hawaii Conference on Preventing, Assessing, and Treating Child, Adolescent, and Adult Trauma: March 1921, 2013
Organized by the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma, this conference will discuss the latest research regarding child, adolescent, and adult trauma as well as prevention, assessment, and intervention techniques. Conference tracks include child trauma; adolescent trauma/youth violence; adult/family trauma; prevention/early intervention; intimate partner violence; trauma in military personnel, veterans, and their families; healthcare professionals dealing with abuse and trauma; and criminal justice and legal issues. The event will be held in Honolulu, HI. Registration is available online.
2013 National Court Appointed Special Advocates Conference: April 69, 2013
At this event, sponsored by the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association, more than 1,200 CASA and guardian ad litem staff, board members, volunteers, judges, attorneys, and other child welfare professionals will gather to connect with peers and learn from leaders in the field. The conference will include more than 50 workshops and institutes, general sessions, and an exhibit hall featuring information and resources for the field. The conference will take place in Anaheim, CA. Registration information is available online.
31st Annual Protecting Our Children National American Indian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect: April 710, 2013
To be held in Tulsa, OK, this conference will highlight the latest research and policies concerning the well-being of American Indian and Alaska Native youth, reveal innovative child welfare and mental health practices, highlight effective strategies for financing and sustaining services that impact children, and showcase strategies for involving youth and families in developing services and policies that lead to systems change. Registration is available online.
Judicial Academy for New Juvenile and Family Court Judges: April 812, 2013
Sponsored by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, this intensive institute is for state and tribal judicial officers who are new to the juvenile and family court bench or those returning to the bench after other assignments and are interested in taking a refresher course. Topics include judicial leadership and the role of the judge, ethics, decisionmaking, evidence, child and adolescent development, schools and the court, trauma-informed justice, abuse and neglect, delinquency, interpersonal violence, custody, divorce, self-represented litigants, and dealing with the media. The institute will take place at the University of Nevada campus in Reno. Registration is available online.
Child Welfare League of America National Conference: April 1417, 2013
This conference will take place in Washington, DC. Attendees will learn about evidence-informed, evidence-based practices and real world solutions that demonstrate successful thinking in support of children, youth, and families. Conference activities include a visit to Capitol Hill and a gala dinner. Registration is available online.
13th Annual International Family Justice Center Conference: April 1618, 2013
Sponsored by the Family Justice Center Alliance and OJJDP, this conference will address a range of topics, including elder abuse awareness, prevention, intervention, accountability to survivors, and promising practices. The event, to be held in Fort Worth, TX, will also include practical, hands-on training for police officers, prosecutors, advocates, and medical professionals in the day-to-day handling of domestic violence and sexual assault cases. The conference faculty includes survivors, advocates, and nationally and internationally recognized subject-matter experts. Registration is available online.
Crimes Against Children in Indian Country Conference:
April 1618, 2013
Sponsored by the National Criminal Justice Training Center, sessions at this conference will provide attendees with the knowledge and resources to address issues related to substance use and the latest drug trends, sex offender registration and monitoring, Internet crimes, and cyberbullying. One goal of the conference is to strengthen relationships between various agencies, tribes, and states to promote a multidisciplinary, multijurisdictional approach to serving tribal youth and families. More information about the event is available through Fox Valley Technical College.
National Missing Children's Day Ceremony: May 15, 2013
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will hold its annual National Missing Children's Day ceremony in DOJ's Great Hall. The ceremony honors the heroic and exemplary efforts of agencies, organizations, and individuals to protect children. National Missing Children's Day has been commemorated in the United States since 1983, when it was first proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan. For more information about the ceremony, contact OJJDP.
17th Child Abuse and Neglect Institute: June 37, 2013
Sponsored by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, this institute brings together local and national faculty to teach on a range of topics, including the role of the juvenile court judge; judicial leadership and ethics; federal child welfare legislation; substance abuse and permanency planning; medical issues in child abuse and neglect cases; child development, bonding and attachment, and trauma; the Indian Child Welfare Act; and tribal-state court collaboration. Information about registration and fees is available online.
7th Global Youth Justice Training Institute: June 1113, 2013
This training institute, to be held in Provincetown, MA, is designed to assist adult staff and volunteers in enhancing and expanding teen court, youth court, or peer court diversion programs. Training topics will include fundraising, partnerships, social media, service connections and resources, and grant-writing skills. Registration information is available online.
AMBER Alert Program Marks 17th Anniversary, Expands Wireless Emergency Alert Capability
The AMBER Alert program marked its 17th anniversary on January 13, 2013. The program is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies, broadcasters, transportation agencies, and the wireless industry to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child abduction cases. The goal of an AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize the entire community to assist in the search for and the safe recovery of the child. AMBER Alert messages provide information about the child and the abductor that could lead to the child's recovery, such as a physical description of each and a description of the abductor's vehicle.
Among other recent developments, AMBER Alerts are now being distributed via the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) program, which is also used to distribute Presidential and Imminent Threat Alerts. WEA AMBER Alerts will automatically send messages to all wireless customers with a WEA-capable mobile device in the area where a child has been abducted, even if the wireless customer is not from the area. The transition to the WEA program is expected to significantly expand the reach of AMBER Alerts.
OJJDP Convenes Meeting of National Girls Institute Working Group
On January 10, 2013, the National Girls Institute’s (NGI’s) 19-member working group gathered in Washington, DC, to begin developing recommendations to OJJDP on policies and practices to improve outcomes for girls who are at risk or who are involved in the juvenile justice system. The meeting covered a wide range of topics, including girls’ pathways to the juvenile justice system, the need for trauma-informed care, evidence-based practices, the health needs of girls, and the disproportionate number of minority girls who come into contact with the juvenile justice system.
In developing their recommendations, the working group will be guided by information gleaned from 64 listening sessions held by NGI across the country in the spring and summer of 2011. As OJJDP maps out future directions for addressing the gender-specific needs of girls, the Office will also consider recommendations from the recently released report of the Attorney General’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence and from the fall 2012 meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which focused on at-risk and juvenile justice system involved girls.
The working group will submit its recommendations this spring.
DOJ Enters Into Agreement To Reform the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County, TN
On December 18, 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it had entered into a comprehensive memorandum of agreement with the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County, TN, to resolve findings of serious and systemic failures in the juvenile court that violate children's due process and equal protection rights. For more information about the agreement, read DOJ's press release.
Attorney General Emphasizes Prevention of Online Child Sexual Abuse
On December 5, 2012, Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., addressed the Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online ministerial in Brussels, Belgium. The newly launched alliance aims to promote a unified, global approach to identifying and assisting victims and to prosecuting the perpetrators. The Attorney General highlighted the ways in which the U.S. Department of Justice and its partners have combated the sexual exploitation of children and prosecuted sex offenders, including the work of Project Safe Childhood, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and the Internet Crimes Against Children task force program. He also emphasized the shared commitment of the members of the alliance.
OJJDP Acting Administrator Participates in Juvenile Justice Training in Morocco
On December 37, 2012, OJJDP Acting Administrator Melodee Hanes participated in a 3-day training program for judges and magistrates in Rabat, Morocco. The program was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice of Morocco. Ms. Hanes was joined by two other experts on youth issuesLeonard Edwards, a retired superior court judge and judge in residence at the Center for Families, Children & the Courts in California; and Dr. Rodney Erwin, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and member of the National Center for Youth in Custody's working group. The presenters offered training on the following topics: the history of juvenile justice in the United States (Hanes); juvenile trials, investigations, and ethics (Edwards); adolescent brain development and juvenile psychology (Erwin); and alternatives to incarceration, restorative justice, and the current state of the juvenile justice system in the United States (Hanes). In addition, the presenters participated in roundtable discussions and breakout sessions and visited juvenile justice professionals and facilities. Ms. Hanes also met with representatives of the Ministry of Justice to discuss juvenile justice reform.
Report Describes How Solitary Confinement Affects Youth
The American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch have released Growing Up Locked Down: Youth in Solitary Confinement in Jails and Prisons Across the United States. The report, which details the physical, psychological, and developmental harm that solitary confinement causes youth incarcerated in adult jails and prisons, is drawn from interviews and correspondence with youth and detention officials.
New Toolkit Provides Information on Exposure to Violence Among Court-Involved Youth
Many youth entering the juvenile justice system have previously been exposed to violence, often multiple times. Therefore, a trauma-informed justice system is critical to promoting the well-being of children, their families, and communities. In partnership with the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, Child & Family Policy Associates, and the Chadwick Center for Children and Families, OJJDP's Safe Start Center has developed a toolkit that includes practical tips for legal professionals, advocates, and child welfare staff on meeting the needs of court-involved children exposed to violence. The toolkit also provides guidance on policy reforms and other considerations for trauma-informed advocacy in the courts. The toolkit is available online.
OJJDP Funds Three Drug Courts To Implement Reclaiming Futures Program
Three communitiesLucas County, OH; Forsyth County, NC; and Duval County, FLwill receive a total of $5.27 million in funding from OJJDP over the next 4 years to integrate into their juvenile drug courts the Reclaiming Futures drug and alcohol treatment program for teens in trouble with the law. The Reclaiming Futures national program office will receive $1.4 million over 2 years to provide training and technical assistance to the six existing federally funded Reclaiming Futures sites and the three new sites. Read a press release about the awards on the Reclaiming Futures Web site. For information about OJJDP's funding opportunities, visit the Office's Web site.
All OJJDP publications may be viewed and downloaded on the publications section of the OJJDP Web site. Print publications may be ordered online at the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) Web site.
The Northwestern Juvenile Project: Overview
Beyond Detention Bulletin
This bulletin, the first in OJJDP's Beyond Detention publication series, presents an overview of the Northwestern Juvenile Project, the first large-scale, longitudinal study of drug, alcohol, and psychiatric disorders in a diverse sample of juvenile detainees. The study found that the mental health needs of youth detained in the juvenile justice system are far greater than those in the general population, and that these needs are largely untreated. Among detainees with major psychiatric disorders and functional impairment, only 15 percent had been treated in the detention center before release. Only 8 percent received treatment in the community by the time of case disposition or 6 months after detention.
Developmental Sequences of Girls' Delinquent Behavior
Girls Study Group Bulletin
In 2004, OJJDP convened the Girls Study Group (GSG) to examine the delinquent behavior of girls. At the request of GSG, researchers from two long-term longitudinal studies of delinquency—the Denver Youth Survey and the Fast Track Project—collaborated to establish common delinquency measures, conduct analyses, and integrate findings on developmental patterns of girls' offending from childhood through adolescence. Among other major findings, this bulletin reports that girls engaged in a wide range of offending behaviors, most girls who were involved in delinquency did not offend frequently, and many girls involved in other delinquent behaviors also used alcohol and/or drugs.