According to a Pew Charitable Trusts report, 1 in every 28 children in the United States has a parent behind bars. The problems these children can experience include financial instability, emotional distress, changes in family structure, problems at school, and social stigma. However, research indicates that supporting healthy and positive relationships between these vulnerable children and their families has the potential to mitigate these negative outcomes.
The White House, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), OJJDP, and other federal agencies are working vigorously across many fronts to help young people affected by a parent's incarceration access the supports and services they need. As part of this commitment, OJJDP organized a 1-day listening session, "Mentoring Children of Incarcerated Parents," in partnership with the White House's Domestic Policy Council and Office of Public Engagement. Held on September 30, 2013, in Washington, DC, the session brought together national experts in mentoring, researchers, youth service providers, parents, and youth to discuss how to improve or enhance mentoring services for these vulnerable children.
“I don’t have to tell the group gathered here today that a mentor—one caring adult who is consistently present in a child’s life—can make a big difference,” OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee said in his opening remarks. “Good mentors provide a sense of emotional connection, active guidance, and a positive role model.”
In the coming weeks, OJJDP will release a report summarizing the recommendations provided during the listening session and outlining mentoring strategies targeted to the needs of young people with a parent in prison.
The listening session was planned as a followup to other recent White House events highlighting the issue of children of incarcerated parents. On June 12, 2013, the Administration honored 12 Champions of Change who have dedicated themselves to supporting children of incarcerated parents and their caregivers. The event also announced a comprehensive list of policy and outreach deliverables developed over the past year by the Federal Interagency Working Group for Children of Incarcerated Parents. The deliverables include enhanced training and technical assistance for a range of stakeholders, the development of a model arrest protocol for law enforcement, and efforts to strengthen research and data collection for this unique population.
On August 20, 2013, OJJDP leadership attended a daylong research conference at the White House that brought together scholars and policymakers across professional disciplines to review what is known about the life-course effects of the incarceration of parents on the well-being of children, and to begin to develop policy recommendations based on current research.
In fiscal year 2013, OJJDP provided more than $75 million to support state and national organizations that engage youth in mentoring and in positive activities that help connect youth with caring adults.
As part of this funding commitment, OJJDP continues to support research and demonstration programs to help further understanding of mentoring relationships. OJJDP is launching a new National Mentoring Resource Center, which will provide comprehensive resource, reference, and training materials and advance the implementation of evidence- and research-based mentoring practices. The goal is to enhance the capacity of mentoring organizations to develop, implement, and expand effective mentoring practices nationwide.
Numerous government agencies provide services that support children who find themselves impacted by the incarceration of a parent. Information about these resources is available at findyouthinfo.gov.
More information about the June 12 Champions of Change event at the White House is available online.
On July 9, 2013, OJJDP and the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at DOJ hosted a Webinar for faith leaders to discuss how to best promote the well-being of youth who have an incarcerated parent. The Webinar is archived on OJJDP's National Training and Technical Assistance Center Web site.
At the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention's third annual summit on September 2627, 2013, Administration officials, Congressmen, mayors, police chiefs, community advocates, and youth from 10 cities shared their strategies to reduce and mitigate the impact of violence on our nation's youth.
Homicide disproportionately affects individuals ages 1024 in the United States and consistently ranks in the top three leading causes of death in this age group. According to a study funded by OJJDP with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 60 percent of American children and adolescents are exposed to violence, crime, or abuse either as a victim or witness. Nearly 50 percent were assaulted at least once in the past year.
On the summit's opening day, Attorney General Eric Holder, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz, and Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Karol V. Mason stressed the Administration's commitment to addressing the lifelong consequences of exposure to violence.
"Children [exposed to violence] often face elevated risks of failing in school, suffering from anxiety and depression, or turning to drug or alcohol abuse later in life," said Attorney General Holder. "They are more likely than their peers to develop chronic illnesses or have difficulty forming emotional attachments. And far too many continue the cycle of violence by harming others."
Assistant Attorney General for OJP Mason underscored the summit's theme, "Building Toward a Safe and Healthy Tomorrow," by pointing to recent research that is shedding new light on what can be done to counter the negative effects of exposure to violence and trauma.
"Many of us have begun to institute some of these evidence-based approaches in our own spheres of work," Mason said. "Our challenge now is to bring all these efforts togetherto coordinate our activities so that we're prepared to address these developmental needs at every phase of the service delivery system."
Later in the summit's first day, youth leaders told participants what they are doing in their communities to ensure brighter futures for themselves and their peers. The youth were from Chicago, IL; Memphis, TN; New Orleans, LA; Philadelphia, PA; Salinas, CA; and San Jose, CA, the communities involved in the Administration's violence prevention initiatives, including the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, Defending Childhood, Community-Based Violence Prevention, and Striving To Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere, commonly known as STRYVE.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mary Lou Leary led mayors and other city leaders from Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Salinas, and San Jose in a discussion about putting in place a comprehensive plan to address youth violence. The officials described how they align this work with other federal initiatives and how federal efforts are helping them achieve success and confront remaining challenges.
OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee introduced a panel discussion among the forum's federal partners on the critical importance of cross-sector collaboration to address the many causes and facets of youth violence. Federal leadership included U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Calvin Johnson.
Congressional speakers included Christopher S. Murphy, U.S. Senator, Connecticut; Robert C. Scott, U.S. Representative, Virginia; and Chaka Fattah, U.S. Representative, Pennsylvania.
During the summit, mayors from the four cities that recently joined the forumCamden, NJ; Minneapolis, MN; New Orleans, LA; and Philadelphia, PAunveiled their comprehensive plans to address youth violence by using not only enforcement, but also prevention, intervention, and reentry strategies. Mayors from the other six cities in the forum shared their insights about how to sustain a comprehensive plan to address youth violence. The discussion also explored how federal efforts are helping these cities achieve success and confront remaining challenges.
Breakout sessions at the summit covered a range of topics, including
Created in 2010 at the direction of President Obama, the forum is active in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Salinas, San Jose, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and Camden. It models a new kind of federal and local collaboration, encouraging its members to change the way they do business by sharing common challenges and promising strategies through comprehensive planning and coordinated action. The U.S. Departments of Justice, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor, as well as the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the Corporation for National and Community Service are the forum's federal partners.
More details about the forum, summaries of the cities' plans, and a strategic planning toolkit are available at FindYouthInfo.gov. A blog about the forum event posted by Assistant Attorney General for OJP Mason is available on the Department of Justice Web site. Information about the Administration's other youth violence prevention effortsDefending Childhood, Community-Based Violence Prevention, and STRYVEis also available online.
On September 25, 2013, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Research Council's (NRC's) Committee on Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States released their final report outlining the findings of a study on the commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors in the United States. IOM and NRC are branches of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study, commissioned by OJJDP, was conducted by a committee of independent experts who reviewed and synthesized relevant literature in a range of fields, including the behavioral sciences, health and medicine, and law; examined law enforcement data, health surveys, and national juvenile justice data sets; and consulted with experts and knowledgeable stakeholders.
The committee based its deliberations on three fundamental principles: that these crimes shoud be understood as acts of abuse and violence against children and adolescents, that minors who are commercially sexually exploited or trafficked for sexual purposes should not be considered criminals, and that identification of victims and survivors as well as any interventions should do no furthur harm.
Entitled Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking in the United States, the report recommends increasing public awareness and understanding of the issue; strengthening the law's response; expanding research to advance understanding and to support the development of prevention and intervention strategies; building multisector and interagency partnerships; and developing trainings for child welfare, law, education, and health care professionals in the identification of and assistance to victims and survivors.
To download a copy of Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking in the United States, visit the IOM Web site.
On September 23, 2013, OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee announced grant awards totaling more than $8 million to reduce youth violence and gang activity in six sites nationwide. The awards are being made through OJJDP's Community-Based Violence Prevention program. The program is changing community norms regarding violence, providing alternatives to violence, and increasing awareness of the risks and consequences of involvement in violence through the replication of programs such as the Boston Gun Project, the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model, and the Cure Violence model.
"OJJDP's Community-Based Violence Prevention program focuses youth violence prevention efforts on what research shows works," said Administrator Listenbee at a news conference in Newport News, VA, one of the cities receiving a grant award. "Through a combination of prevention, intervention, enforcement, and reentry programs, these sites will promote alternatives to violence and make communities safer." Administrator Listenbee announced the award with U.S. Representative Robert C. "Bobby" Scott, Newport News Mayor McKinley L. Price, and several city officials.
The six grant recipients are:
Nationwide, seven children and teenagers die from gunfire every day. This violence disproportionately affects youth, low-income populations, and people of color. For African American boys and young men between the ages of 10 and 24, homicide is not only the leading cause of death—it results in more deaths than the next four leading causes combined.
For more information on OJJDP's Community-Based Violence Prevention program, visit OJJDP's Web site.
OJJDP has released Children's Exposure to Violence and the Intersection Between Delinquency and Victimization. The latest in OJJDP's National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV) publication series, the bulletin presents survey results regarding the co-occurrence of victimization and delinquency among children who are exposed to violence.
The survey categorized adolescents ages 10 to 17 into one of four groups: those youth who were primarily delinquents and not victims (primarily delinquents), those who were primarily victims and not delinquents (primarily victims), those who were both delinquents and victims (delinquent-victims), and those who were neither victims nor delinquents. Youth identified as delinquent-victims had higher levels of both delinquency and victimization than either the primarily victim or primarily delinquent youth. These youth also suffered more adversities, and had lower levels of social support and higher rates of mental health symptoms. The study points to the importance of early intervention.
The relative sizes of these various groups appear to change as children age; they also differ by gender. The delinquent-victim group among boys is larger overall and increases substantially between ages 13 and 14. This may reflect an increase in delinquent activities around the time they enter high school among boys who had previously been primarily victims. The high school environment may expose them to older delinquent role models and present them with conditions of more independence and less supervision than middle school.
For girls, the pattern change appears to occur earlier (between ages 11 and 12) and is associated with an increase in both victimization and delinquency, but particularly victimization. This is likely related to the onset of puberty in girls and shows up in the data as a particularly marked increase in sexual harassment.
These findings strongly suggest that delinquency- and victimization-prevention efforts need to be marshaled around or before the fifth grade, and they need to include components that minimize sexual aggression and harassment.
To order print copies of Children's Exposure to Violence and the Intersection Between Delinquency and Victimization, visit the New Publications page.
6th International Conference on the Training of the Judiciary: November 37, 2013
The International Organization for Judicial Training and the National Center for State Courts are sponsoring this training. Topics to be covered at the event, to be held in Washington, DC, include leadership and judicial education, judicial skill building, technology and judicial education, judicial education and the academic community, and judicial education in support of justice system reform, independence, and accountability. Registration information is available online.
National Legal Aid & Defender Association Annual Conference: November 69, 2013
The National Legal Aid & Defender Association annual conference is a national training event for the civil legal aid, indigent defense, and public interest law communities. This year's conference theme is "Justice in America: Delivering on the Promise." The conference sessions will explore a range of topics, including strategic alliances for justice; Gideon and beyond: client and community-driven strategic reform to ensure the future of defense excellence; civil/defender partnerships to advance the rights of people, families, and communities; philanthropy and legal aid; risk management; technology; and evidence-based practices. Registration information is available online.
Introduction to Juvenile Interview and Interrogation Techniques: November 1314, 2013
This training, sponsored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), will present key components of IACP's and OJJDP's recommended juvenile interview techniques for law enforcement. Strategies will be provided for analyzing behavior, developing rapport, and conducting effective interviews and interrogations of juveniles. Case examples and actual footage of interviews will be presented to illustrate successful investigative techniques. The training will be held in Downers Grove, IL. Registration information is available online.
National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children Conference: November 1820, 2013
The National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children will hold this conference in Oklahoma City, OK, in collaboration with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, the Oklahoma Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, and the Oklahoma Alliance for Drug Endangered Children. Topics of workshops and sessions include identifying drug endangered children, promoting mental health and preventing substance abuse in early childhood, assessing children from methamphetamine homes, drug endangered children and human trafficking, optimizing outcomes for youth and their families by identifying unrecognized disorders that affect brain functioning, new strategies for the criminal prosecution of drug endangered children's cases, acknowledging and addressing the needs of children with incarcerated parents, and family-centered management. Registration information is available online.
Forensic Interviews at Trial: Preparation and Presentation Training: November 1920, 2013
The National Children's Advocacy Center, along with the National District Attorneys Association, is pleased to announce the return of "Forensic Interviews at Trial: Preparation and Presentation Training," originally presented in 2010. Topics include overview of current best practices in forensic interviewing; creating and using the curriculum vitae; court preparation and testifying; qualifying and testifying as an expert witness; and direct, cross, and redirect examination of the forensic interviewer. To be held in Huntsville, AL, the training is designed for teams of forensic interviewers and prosecutors. Team registration (a forensic interviewer and a prosecutor) is required. Registration information is available online.
Advanced Forensic Interview Training: November 1922, 2013
This training, to be held in Minneapolis, MN, is for experienced forensic interviewers, child protection workers, tribal social service investigators, law enforcement officers, and prosecuting attorneys who have completed the required prerequisites. Offered by the CornerHouse Interagency Child Abuse Evaluation and Training Center, the course teaches advanced forensic interviewing skills and covers a range of topics, including modifications to the CornerHouse Forensic Interview Protocol, physical evidence in the forensic interview, autism spectrum disorders, multisession forensic interviews, and active participation in peer review using a variety of written assessment tools. Registration information is available online.
American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting: November 2023, 2013
The American Society of Criminology's 2013 meeting, "Expanding the Core: Neglected Crimes, Groups, Causes, and Policy Approaches," to be held in Atlanta, GA, will offer sessions and roundtables on the measurement, etiology, consequences, prevention, control, and treatment of crime and delinquency. The agenda features 10 presentations on OJJDP-funded research. Topics of OJJDP presentations include gang membership and differential consequences during the life course; mentoring research studies and findings; commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors in the United States; reflections on youth violence trends over the past three decades; childhood exposure to crime, violence, and victimization in the United States; and girls' delinquency research. Registration information is available online.
Basic Child Sexual Abuse Forensic Interview Training: December 26, 2013
This training, offered by the CornerHouse Interagency Child Abuse Evaluation and Training Center teaches the CornerHouse Forensic Interview Protocol, which is appropriate for children, adolescents, and vulnerable adults involved in a sexual abuse investigation. Training methods include lecture and discussion, review of CornerHouse video-recorded interviews, skill-building exercises, and an interview practicum. The course is designed for teams of forensic interviewers, child protection workers, tribal social service investigators, law enforcement officers, and prosecuting attorneys. Courses are outcome based and include an exam upon completion. Registration information is available online.
Eighth Global Youth Justice Training Institute: December 35, 2013
Global Youth Justice will host its eighth Global Youth Justice Training Institute in Las Vegas, NV. Participants will learn how to establish or enhance local juvenile justice diversion programs—teen, peer, youth, and student courts and peer juries. Topics include training youth and adult volunteers, delivering quality community services and programs, conducting mock family intake meetings, identifying funding and resources, addressing legal and liability issues, creating partnerships with memorandums of understanding, evaluating programs, writing proposals, and identifying public and private resources. Registration information is available online.
Enhancing Judicial Skills in Domestic Violence Cases Workshop: December 811, 2013
The National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence, a partnership of the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and Futures Without Violence, is offering this interactive workshop for new and experienced state, tribal, and territorial judges and judicial officers to enhance their skills in handling civil and criminal domestic violence cases. The workshop, which will be held in Santa Fe, NM, will cover a range of topics, including evaluating the impact of violence on adult victims and children who witness violence; resolving difficult evidentiary issues and applying an understanding of domestic violence to judicial fact finding; identifying and devising strategies for overcoming administrative and community barriers to achieving justice in domestic violence cases; and identifying potential biases that might influence courtroom demeanor, interpretation of facts, or decisionmaking in domestic violence cases. Participation is open to all state and tribal court judges and judicial officers, but priority will be given to judges from jurisdictions currently receiving particular OVW grants. The application is available online.
ZERO TO THREE's 28th National Training Institute: December 1114, 2013
The National Training Institute, to be held in San Antonio, TX, is ZERO TO THREE's annual multidisciplinary training event for experienced early childhood professionals. The institute has been developed to meet the learning and networking needs of those working with infants and toddlers in child welfare, early childhood education, early intervention, mental health, parent education, and pediatrics. Registration information is available online.
28th Annual San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment: January 2831, 2014
The objective of the San Diego International Conference is to develop and enhance professional skills and knowledge in the prevention, recognition, assessment, and treatment of all forms of child and family maltreatment, as well as to enhance investigative and legal skills. Topics to be highlighted include child fatality investigations, medical and legal issues associated with abusive head trauma, the latest in child brain research and the impact of toxic stress, corporal punishment, trauma-informed practice, and genetics. Registration is available online.
National Mentoring Summit: January 3031, 2014
MENTOR, along with OJJDP, the Corporation for National and Community Service, Harvard School of Public Health, and United Way, are organizing this summit. To be held in Arlington, VA, the event will focus on how evidence-based quality mentoring relationships help young people succeed at home, in school, and at work. Workshops and plenary sessions will demonstrate the many ways in which mentoring works to support positive youth outcomes by showcasing innovative program models, emerging research, and the nuances across diverse youth populations. Registration information is available online.
OJJDP Administrator Discusses Juvenile Justice Reform Efforts in NPR Interview
In a recent interview with National Public Radio, Robert L. Listenbee, OJJDP Administrator, discussed priorities for the Office, which include supporting research and programs that promote the safety and well-being of the nation's youth. He spoke about the importance of adopting a trauma-informed approach for treating children exposed to violence and a developmental approach to juvenile justice. He also discussed federal efforts to address the "school-to-prison pipeline."
"We believe firmly that children should be kept in school and out of courts," Listenbee said. "We don't think that kids who are truant, kids who are runaways, kids who engage in various sorts of violations of the code of conduct that aren't criminal offenseswe don't think they belong in the juvenile justice system."
OJJDP Updates Statistical Briefing Book
OJJDP has updated its Statistical Briefing Book (SBB). Developed by the National Center for Juvenile Justice, SBB offers easy access to a variety of juvenile justice resources. Its data analysis tools allow users to create custom analyses of juvenile populations, arrests, court cases, and residential placements.
The following SBB resources have recently been updated:
Easy Access to Juvenile Populations now includes data through 2012 on national, state, and county population estimates.
Easy Access to the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement, which provides information such as youth demographics, length of stay, and most serious offense, and Easy Access to the FBI's Supplementary Homicide Reports, which provides victim and offender demographics, now include national and state data through 2011.
Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) on juvenile homicide victims and juvenile homicide offenders now include data for 2011. Also available are answers to new FAQs on the Organization & Administration of Delinquency Services.
OJJDP Report Offers Testimonies of Positive Change From Justice-Involved Tribal Youth
Understanding what helps justice-involved tribal youth to make positive changes in their lives and end or reduce their involvement in the tribal juvenile justice system is important for developing effective support from them. This recently released OJJDP report presents perspectives on personal change among justice-involved tribal youth from three tribes that participated in OJJDP's Tribal Juvenile Detention and Reentry Green Demonstration ("Green Reentry") program. The report summarizes past research on risk and protective factors for ongoing justice-system involvement among tribal youth; describes the Green Reentry initiative; and presents the perspectives of youth, parents, program staff, and other stakeholders on experiences of personal change among participating youth.
OJJDP Interviews Students in GWU's Native American Political Leadership Program
In April 2013, then-OJJDP Tribal Youth Justice Fellow Sarah S. Pearson conducted two indepth interviews with young adults (ages 2126) in George Washington University's Native American Political Leadership Program. The interviews examined the need for more leadership opportunities for high school students in Indian country. To learn more, read Ms. Pearson's article, "Engaging a Powerful Tribal ResourceTribal Teens: A Candid Conversation with Native American University Students," in the summer 2013 issue of Prevention & Recovery magazine. The magazine is published by the Office of Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse.
New "Practices" Feature Available at CrimeSolutions.gov
The Office of Justice Programs' CrimeSolutions.gov, an online resource that uses rigorous research to determine what works in criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victim services, has recently added more than a dozen practices to its database. Practice profiles provide valuable information about the average results from multiple evaluations of similar programs, strategies, or procedures. Until now, practitioners looking for evidence of what works in criminal justice often had to rely largely on results from single studies at only one site, which made it difficult to assemble evidence across multiple evaluations of similar programs.
Justice Department Releases New PSA on Cyber Security for Kids
Child Cyber Safety Night at the Ballpark on September 21, 2013, was the latest effort by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and its law enforcement and community partners to encourage parents to speak with their children about online and cell phone safety and to provide prevention materials. As part of the event, DOJ released a new public service announcement in which Attorney General Eric Holder emphasized the importance of creating an ongoing dialogue with children about the safe use of technology. "As a parent, I understand the opportunitiesand the challengesthat new technologies present for America's young people. It's up to each of us to start a dialogue with our kids about safe Internet and cell phone practices," said Attorney General Holder. DOJ offered resources for parents and children at the Community Clubhouse at the Center Field Plaza before and during the game. For more on Internet and cell phone safety, please visit the Web site of Project Youth Safety.
National Bullying Prevention Month Observed Nationwide
Communities across the country are recognizing National Bullying Prevention Month this October through special events, activities, outreach, and education. Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social (e.g., rumors and social exclusion). It can happen face to face, in text messages, or on the Web. During the 201011 school year, 27.8 percent of students ages 12–18 reported having been bullied at school. Bullying can cause serious and lasting harm, including physical injury, anxiety, depression, and withdrawal from academics and other school activities. In some cases, it has played a role in a young person's suicide.
OJJDP is a member of the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention, an interagency effort led by the U.S. Department of Education that works to coordinate policy, research, and communications on bullying topics. For more information on how parents, educators, and youth can work together to stop bullying, visit StopBullying.gov. To learn more about the scope of the problem, predictors of bullying, laws against bullying, and evidence-based programs to prevent and intervene in bullying, see OJJDP's Model Programs Guide.
Report Shows Nearly Half of States Are Taking Steps To Remove Youth From the Criminal Justice System
The Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ), a national advocacy organization dedicated to ending the practice of trying, sentencing, and incarcerating youth under 18 in the adult criminal justice system, has released State Trends: Legislative Victories from 2011–2013: Removing Youth from the Adult Criminal Justice System. According to the report, 23 states have enacted 40 pieces of legislation over the past 8 years to reduce the prosecution of youth in adult criminal courts and end the placement of youth in adult jails and prisons. The report also highlights key pieces of legislation enacted between 2011 and 2013.
“We are seeing state policy makers making change based on solid research and public opinion. The research shows that past policies didn't work to increase public safety or reduce juvenile crime,” said Carmen Daugherty, Policy Director for CFYJ. “We now have more evidence on what does work to reduce juvenile crime, which is rehabilitation and treatment over incarceration. Public opinion strongly favors rehabilitation and treatment over incarceration and judicial review over automatic prosecution in adult court.”
International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day
September 9 was International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day. FASD is an umbrella term for a range of disabilities of varying severity that affect children whose mothers drank alcohol during pregnancy. The disabilities are irreversible, although early diagnosis and treatment can be of considerable help to children with this condition. FASD is the leading known cause of preventable cognitive impairment in the United States. Sixty-one percent of adolescents with FASD have been in legal trouble. Thirty-five percent of those with FASD who are older than age 12 have been incarcerated at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, the vast majority of children with FASD go undiagnosed and untreated.
"We need to be better informed about the factors that dispose these kids to come into contact with the justice system, how to effectively represent these youth in court, and how to most appropriately handle these youth if they should enter the juvenile justice system," said OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee at a recent OJJDP-sponsored listening session on FASD.
To learn more about how OJJDP and its partnering agencies are working to increase public understanding about the physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral challenges faced by youth with FASD, read the September/October 2012 and July/August 2013 issues of OJJDP News @ a Glance.
National Suicide Prevention Week
National Suicide Prevention Week (September 814) is an annual campaign in the United States to raise national awareness and engage parents, educators, medical personnel, the U.S. military, and mental health and juvenile justice professionals in prevention efforts. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for all Americans, the second leading cause of death for adults ages 2534, and the third leading cause of death for youth ages 1524. OJJDP strongly supports the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. For the past 2 years, OJJDP co-led the alliance's Task Force for Youth in Contact with the Juvenile Justice System. The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention was launched in 2010 by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and former U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Robert Gates. This public-private partnership advances the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP) by championing suicide prevention as a national priority, catalyzing efforts to implement NSSP's high-priority objectives, and cultivating the resources needed to sustain the progress made.
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Launches New Models for Change Resource Center Partnership
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced that it will commit an additional $15 million to the juvenile justice field, in part to launch a new Models for Change Resource Center partnership. The partnership will provide state and local program administrators, practitioners, and policymakers with technical assistance, training, and the proven tools, resources, and lessons developed through the foundation's Models for Change: Systems Reform in Juvenile Justice initiative. The partnership consists of four complementary, connected resource centersthe Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Collaborative for Change, the National Juvenile Defender Center, the Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice, and the Status Offense Reform Center. In addition, several allied organizations that address important juvenile justice issues are involved, including organizations that focus on behavioral health, stronger public defense for poor youth, appropriate interventions for youth charged with nondelinquent offenses, and coordinated systems of care for young people who are involved in both the juvenile justice and child protective systems. The resource centers are scheduled to be operational by the end of 2013.
Juvenile Justice Resource Hub Adds Alternatives to Detention Section
Developed by the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange and the National Juvenile Justice Network with support from the MacArthur Foundation, the Juvenile Justice Resource Hub provides timely, indepth information on juvenile justice issues and trends. In addition to a section on mental health and substance use disorders, the Hub recently added a section on community-based alternatives for justice system-involved youth. Future Hub topics include indigent defense, evidence-based practices, racial/ethnic disparities, and aftercare.
Child Welfare Outcomes Report Released
The Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children & Families has released Child Welfare Outcomes 20082011: Report to Congress. This report informs Congress and child welfare professionals about state and national performance on outcome measures for children served by child welfare systems. The outcome measures used in the report focus on seven categories, including children's safety, well-being, and the permanency of their family and living situations.
Series on Trauma-Informed Approach Available Online
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, a program of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Center for Mental Health Services, has released six online briefs that discuss the key elements of a trauma-informed juvenile justice system. Topics include current issues and new directions in creating trauma-informed systems, assessment and intervention, family engagement, continuity of care and cross-system collaboration, trauma-informed care in facilities, and racial disparities within the system.
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.
This bulletin presents data from the National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV). Sponsored by OJJDP, NatSCEV is the most comprehensive nationwide survey to date of the incidence and prevalence of children's exposure to violence. This bulletin examines the rates of delinquency and victimization among children and youth ages 1017. Among other findings, boys ages 13–14 and girls ages 1112 were found to have an elevated risk of becoming delinquent-victims (i.e., experiencing high levels of both delinquency and victimization), suggesting that interventions with at-risk youth should be timed with their entry into middle school or high school.
Highlights of the 2011 National Youth Gang Survey (Fact Sheet)
This fact sheet provides an overview of findings from the 2011 National Youth Gang Survey. Since 1996, the National Gang Center has collected data annually from a large, representative sample of local law enforcement agencies to track the size and scope of the nation's gang problem. Among other findings, the 2011 survey showed that gang-related homicides increased more than 10 percent from 2009 in cities with populations of more than 100,000. In addition, highly populated areas accounted for the vast majority of gang-related homicides nationally.
The biennial Juvenile Residential Facility Census (JRFC) collects information about facilities in which juvenile offenders are held. Respondents provide information about facility characteristics, including facility type, capacity, and type of security. The OJJDP-sponsored JRFC also reports the number of youth who were injured or died in custody during the past 12 months. This bulletin provides findings from the 2010 survey. The juvenile offender population dropped 18 percent from 2008 to 2010. Issues of crowding and overcapacity at these facilities, however, continue to be of concern. In 2010, about 18 percent of facilities were at their standard bed capacity and 2 percent were over capacity. The 2010 JRFC data also describe the range of services that facilities provide to youth in their care.