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Justice Department Task Force Launches Public Hearings To Address American Indian/Alaska Native Children’s Exposure to Violence
Photo of Jesse Taken Alive
Jesse Taken Alive of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe testifies at a public hearing in Bismarck, ND, held by the Attorney General’s Task Force on American Indian/Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence. The task force will hold additional hearings in Phoenix, AZ; Fort Lauderdale, FL; and Anchorage, AK, in early 2014.
On December 9, 2013, a new task force advisory committee appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder held the first of four public hearings to examine the impact of violence on children in Indian country. The hearing was held in Bismarck, ND.

“We must not accept the shameful reality that American Indians and Alaska Natives are disproportionately likely to be exposed to crime and violence—and that many who suffer exposure are children,” said Attorney General Holder in his announcement of the launch of the public hearings. “By bringing together federal officials, tribal leaders, and local partners to focus on the unique challenges that Indian children face, this task force will enhance public safety. And these leaders will strengthen our communities by ensuring that every child can have the opportunity to learn, to grow, and to thrive—free from violence and fear.”


The Task Force on American Indian/Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence is composed of a federal working group that includes U.S. Attorneys and officials from the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Justice and an advisory committee of experts on American Indian/Alaska Native studies, child health and trauma, and child welfare. The advisory committee is chaired by former U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan and Iroquois composer and musical artist Joanne Shenandoah. An interview about the work of the task force, featuring OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee and Ms. Shenandoah, is available online.


During the hearing, experts on the trauma of sexual abuse of tribal children discussed their experiences and recommended ways to improve identification, assessment, and treatment. Other topics addressed included violence in the home, healing from trauma, and programs for children exposed to violence in Indian country and urban communities.


Associate Attorney General Tony West spoke at the hearing; Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the hearing via videotaped remarks.


“Today represents an important step in protecting American Indian and Alaska Native children,” said Associate Attorney General West. “This task force has already begun addressing children’s exposure to violence in tribal communities in ways that recognize the unique government-to-government relationship between the United States and tribes, and it will continue to develop approaches that will help us protect our children.”


The Task Force on American Indian/Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence is a key component of Attorney General Holder’s Defending Childhood Initiative to prevent and reduce children’s trauma from experiencing violence as victims or witnesses. The task force was created in response to a recommendation in the Attorney General’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence December 2012 final report, which found that tribal children have exceptional unmet needs for services and support to prevent and respond to violence.

The advisory committee will hold additional public hearings in Phoenix, AZ; Fort Lauderdale, FL; and Anchorage, AK, in early 2014; and several listening sessions throughout the year. After the hearings are completed, the committee will analyze the findings and provide policy and program recommendations to Attorney General Holder in the fall of 2014.


Associate Attorney General Tony West's speech at the public hearing, a press release about the hearing, Assistant Attorney General Karol Mason’s blog about the Task Force on American Indian/Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence, and more information about the Attorney General's Defending Childhood Initiative are available on the U.S. Department of Justice Web site.

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OJJDP Research Highlighted at American Society of Criminology Meeting
The American Soociety of Criminology

At the American Society of Criminology's (ASC's) 2013 meeting on November 20–23, in Atlanta, GA, OJJDP organized 10 presentations on recent developments in research the Office is supporting in a range of areas, including gangs, mentoring, girls’ delinquency, the sexual trafficking of minors, and youth violence.

In a session entitled “Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Children in the United States: A Societal Problem in Need of Solutions,” researchers from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Research Council (NRC) described the findings of an OJJDP-commissioned report released in September. IOM and NRC are branches of the National Academy of Sciences.


Entitled Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking in the United States, the report emphasizes that these crimes should be understood as acts of abuse and violence against children, 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 further harm.

“Often, we inappropriately arrest, detain, or incarcerate children who are prostituted,” said OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee in videotaped remarks preceding the session. “They receive few services. And we also allow too many perpetrators to walk away unpunished. This report can serve as a true starting point and roadmap for addressing this abuse against children.”

Other sessions on OJJDP-funded research at the ASC conference included:

Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Karol V. Mason offered remarks at the meeting. She described OJP’s wide-ranging activities to advance science in the criminal and juvenile justice fields. OJP’s top priorities are to improve the data infrastructure and the quality of program evaluations, and to integrate evidence into OJP’s grants and technical assistance, Assistant Attorney General Mason said. She cited numerous examples of OJP’s work, including the CrimeSolutions.gov Web site, which provides information about evidence-based programs and practices, and the Diagnostic Center, which uses data-driven solutions to help state and local leaders address crime problems.

“Support for the sciences and emphasis on evidence comes from the very top of the Obama Administration,” Mason said. “The President has set a management agenda that calls for a ‘smarter, more innovative, and more accountable government.’”

ASC is an international organization that promotes scientific and professional knowledge concerning the measurement, etiology, consequences, prevention, control, and treatment of crime and delinquency.


Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs Karol V. Mason’s remarks are available on the DOJ Web site. OJP’s CrimeSolutions.gov and the Diagnostic Center may also be accessed online. OJJDP’s Model Programs Guide, an online resource of evidence-based prevention, intervention, and reentry programs for juvenile justice practitioners, policymakers, and communities, is available on the Office's Web site.

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OJJDP Awards More Than $271 Million in Grants in Fiscal Year 2013

In fiscal year (FY) 2013, OJJDP awarded more than $271 million to help at-risk youth, protect children, and improve juvenile justice systems nationwide. The 418 awards were made through discretionary, formula, and block grant funding.

More than $226 million in discretionary grants was awarded in FY 2013. OJJDP awarded nearly $74 million to national and local organizations to strengthen, expand, and implement youth-mentoring activities and youth-development programming throughout the nation. More than $31 million was awarded under the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children program, which offers critical intervention and prevention services to families and supports law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, and local levels in cases involving missing and exploited children. In addition, the Office distributed almost $22 million to state and local law enforcement agencies under its Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program to support joint federal, state, and local efforts to investigate and prosecute technology-facilitated sexual exploitation crimes against children and to keep children safe from Internet predators.

Discretionary grants were awarded in a range of other areas, including children’s exposure to violence, indigent defense, youth violence prevention, tribal youth, disproportionate minority contact, family drug courts, family engagement, developmental approaches to juvenile justice reform, reentry, and at-risk and system-involved girls.

Funding through formula and block grants is available to states and territories through the state agency designated by the Governor. Juvenile Justice Specialists in each state administer the funding through subgrants to units of local government, local private agencies, and federally recognized American Indian/Alaska Native jurisdictions for programs in accordance with legislative requirements. In FY 2013, OJJDP awarded more than $45 million under the following formula and block grants programs:


For more information about OJJDP's FY 2013 awards, visit the Office's Web site. The FY 2013 funding information can be sorted by solicitation, grantee, award number, award amount, and state.

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OJJDP Participates in Conference on Girls and Trauma at Georgetown University
Voice and Visibility for Disconnected GirlsOn November 15, 2013, OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee and senior staff joined advocates, academic experts, and practitioners to discuss the importance of trauma-informed approaches for girls at a conference organized by Georgetown University’s Center on Poverty, Inequality & Public Policy, The National Crittenton Foundation, and Rights4Girls.

Dr. Stephanie Covington, co-director of the Center for Gender and Justice offered the conference’s keynote address, in which she cited 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. Women were 50 percent more likely than men to have a score of 5 or more (out of 10) adverse childhood experiences, a score that carries a significant risk for negative social and health consequences later in life.

In her address, Dr. Covington said that the entire culture of organizations and agencies that serve girls (whether in the context of the child welfare or the juvenile justice systems) must take the likelihood of previous exposure to trauma into account, including site selection, hiring of staff, and program development. A trauma-informed environment responds to girls’ need for a sense of physical and emotional safety, supports girls’ strengths and fosters an atmosphere of collaboration and empowerment, and eliminates unnecessary “triggers” of traumatic reactions based on past experience.

In a panel discussion following the keynote address, Administrator Listenbee, formerly co-chair of the Attorney General’s Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence, discussed the findings of the task force’s final report, which links childhood exposure to violence with later cognitive, emotional, and academic problems, all of which raise the risk of children entering the juvenile justice system. The report also points to evidence-based practices that can mitigate the effects of exposure to violence. Among its more than 50 policy recommendations, the report supports making trauma-informed identification, screening, assessment, and care the standard in juvenile justice services; providing care and services to address the special circumstances and needs of girls in the juvenile justice system; and helping, not punishing, child victims of sex trafficking.

Administrator Listenbee reported that OJJDP recently awarded $400,000 to support the National Girls Institute, a resource clearinghouse designed to reduce the number of girls in the juvenile justice system and improve the treatment of girls in detention. Through this award, the American Institutes for Research and The National Crittenton Foundation will work collaboratively with OJJDP to provide training, technical assistance, Webinars, communities of practice, blogs, and tools for professionals working with at-risk and delinquent girls and their families.


To watch a Webcast of the event, visit the Center on Poverty, Inequality & Public Policy Web site.

More information about OJJDP’s fiscal year 2013 grant to support the National Girls Institute is available online.

The Federal Partners Committee on Women and Trauma recently released Trauma-Informed Approaches: Federal Activities and Initiatives; for more information, visit the News in Brief section.

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Upcoming Events

21st Annual  Children’s Law Institute logo21st Annual Children’s Law Institute: January 15–17, 2014

The Children’s Law Institute (CLI), hosted by New Mexico State University’s Southwest Region National Child Protection Training Center, is a multidisciplinary conference that addresses important issues in child welfare and juvenile justice. Workshop topics include Safety Systems in Child Welfare, Making Their Voice Heard: Children in Court, Ending the School to Prison Pipeline, Culturally Appropriate Services for American Indian Youth, and Neurobiology of Childhood Trauma and Its Long-Term Effects. The institute will take place in Albuquerque, NM. Registration information is available online.

National Criminal Justice Training Center logoChild Fatality Investigations: January 26–27, 2014

To be held in San Diego, CA, this course, hosted by the National Criminal Justice Training Center, will provide comprehensive training on the detection, intervention, investigation, and prosecution of child fatality cases. Participants will acquire the necessary investigative skills to conduct child fatality investigations and suspect interrogations; learn important medical information to use in their evaluation; and review legal implications and requirements, case decisions, and regulations for a successful investigation and prosecution. Registration information is available online.

28th Annual San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment: January 26–31, 2014

The Chadwick Center for Children and Families at Rady Children's Hospital is hosting this conference, to be held in San Diego, CA. The conference is designed to develop and enhance professional skills and knowledge in the prevention, recognition, assessment, and treatment of all forms of maltreatment, including those related to family violence, 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 information is available online.

National Mentoring Summit: January 30–31, 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.

The Power of the Movement logoCommunity Anti-Drug Coalitions of America National Leadership Forum: February 3–6, 2014

The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America's National Leadership Forum will take place in National Harbor, MD. The forum brings together more than 2,500 participants representing community anti-drug coalitions from all regions of the country, government leaders, youth, addiction treatment professionals, researchers, educators, law enforcement professionals, and faith-based leaders. Registration information is available online.

Prisoner's Family  Conference logo6th Annual National Prisoner's Family Conference: February 19–21, 2014

This event, to be held in Houston, TX, is the largest national conference focused on how incarceration impacts prisoners and their families. Presenters will include professionals and advocates from the criminal justice, social service, academic, and faith-based arenas. The event is sponsored by Community Solutions of El Paso. Registration information is available online.

National Conference on Bullying: February 26–28, 2014

The School Safety Advocacy Council, in partnership with the Florida Association of School Resource Officers and the Florida Association of School Administrators, will sponsor this conference in Orlando, FL. Conference sessions will take an indepth look at the causation, prevention, and mitigation of bullying and best practices for preventing bullying and building safe, caring schools and communities. Registration information is available online.

Family Law Institute for Judges and Lawyers: March 2–5, 2014

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court JudgesTo be held in Monterey, CA, 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 information is available online.

Prevent Child Abuse Texas logo28th Annual Conference on the Prevention of Child Abuse: March 3–4, 2014

Sponsored by Prevent Child Abuse Texas, the theme of this conference is “Stop the Harm Before It Starts.” The conference, which will take place in San Antonio, TX, will offer training and information on topics and model programs of interest to leaders in child abuse prevention: social workers, counselors, educators, child care and youth workers, law enforcement personnel, medical and legal professionals, foster parents, child welfare board volunteers, elected officials, and other interested child advocates. Participants may attend their choice of a variety of workshops on child abuse and neglect prevention and educational programs or may select workshops for specialized training credits and professional development. Registration information is available online.

Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma11th Annual Hawaii Conference on Preventing, Assessing, and Treating Child, Adolescent, and Adult Trauma: March 11–14, 2014

Organized by the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma at Alliant International University, 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. Registration information for this event, to be held in Honolulu, HI, is available online.

National Children's Advocacy Center logo30th National Symposium on Child Abuse: March 24–27, 2014

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. Registration information is available online.

Responding to Missing & Unidentified Persons National Training Conference: March 25–27, 2014

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 information is available online.

Family Justice Center Alliance logo14th Annual Family Justice Center Conference: April 2–4, 2014

Sponsored by the Family Justice Center Alliance, 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 San Diego, CA, 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 information is available online.

Crimes Against Children in Indian Country Conference: April 8–10, 2014

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, which will take place in Baraboo, WI, is to strengthen relationships between various agencies, tribes, and states to promote a multidisciplinary, multijurisdictional approach to serving tribal youth and families. Registration information is available online.

32nd Annual Protecting Our Children National American Indian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect: April 13–16, 2014

NICWA logoTo be held in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, 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 the development of services and policies that lead to systems change. Registration information is available online.

National Council on Crime & Delinquency's Conference on Children, Youth, and Families: May 14–16, 2014

Sponsored by the National Council on Crime & Delinquency, this conference will focus on the various systems—child protection, foster care, juvenile justice, and education—that serve children, youth, and families, and how these systems can be connected to create better outcomes. The conference will focus on the use of best practices and promising practices, innovative research to develop and improve programs, and applied implementation science to effectively and sustainably introduce change. More information about the conference is available online.

National Missing Children's Day Ceremony: May 15, 2014

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.

National Court Appointed Special Advocates Conference: June 7–10, 2014

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) logoAt 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 Grapevine, TX. Registration information is available online.

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News in Brief

U.S. Department of Justice Awards More Than $62 Million in Grants To Strengthen Reentry Programs

On November 14, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced more than $62 million in competitive and supplemental Second Chance Act (SCA) awards to reduce recidivism, provide reentry services, conduct research, and evaluate the impact of reentry programs. The SCA programs are administered through the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and OJJDP.

Of the funding provided, more than $57 million (91 BJA awards and 19 OJJDP awards) supports smart probation projects, treatment of returning adults and juveniles with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders, adult and juvenile reentry demonstration projects, adult mentoring programs, technology career training projects for incarcerated adults and juveniles, and demonstration field experiments to test a parole reentry model. The remaining $5.4 million supports two awards for evaluation activities and training and technical assistance for SCA grantees and the reentry field in general.

DOJ Announces Investigation of the St. Louis County Family Court

On November 13, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it has opened a pattern or practice investigation of the Family Court of St. Louis. The investigation will focus on whether the court provides constitutionally required due process to all children appearing for delinquency proceedings and whether the court’s administration of juvenile justice provides equal protection to all children regardless of race. For more information, visit the DOJ Web site.

Office of Justice Programs Awards $6.7 Million To Improve Indigent Defense Services

On October 30, 2013, Attorney General Eric Holder announced $6.7 million in grants to improve criminal and civil legal defense services for the poor at the state and local levels. The grants—which OJJDP, the National Institute of Justice, and Bureau of Justice Assistance will administer—will support training, mentoring, technical assistance, leadership development, and research to improve indigent defense practices for adult, juvenile, and tribal populations nationwide. Announcing the grant awards, the Attorney General said, "The Department of Justice has made a commitment to improving the delivery, quality, and availability of legal services for everyone in our country, including the very poor. Today's significant grant awards will help ensure America’s criminal justice system is fair for every defendant, regardless of wealth." Learn more about the Justice Department’s Access to Justice initiative, which works to strengthen and improve legal services for disadvantaged groups.

OJJDP Partners With National Tribal Youth Organization To Advance Youth Leadership in Indian Country

UNITY logoOn November 22, 2013, OJJDP announced a new partnership with United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (UNITY). UNITY will receive $850,000 from OJJDP to plan and implement the National Intertribal Youth Leadership Development Initiative. The initiative will offer training and learning opportunities for American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth to increase positive outcomes in their school, community, and family environments.

“The National Intertribal Youth Leadership Development Initiative brings needed resources to Indian country to support and enhance tribal efforts to prevent delinquency and improve the juvenile justice system for American Indian and Alaska Native youth,” said OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee. “The initiative will build on the successes of past OJJDP National Intertribal Youth Leadership Summits and further expand the leadership development support that OJJDP offers to tribal youth.”

UNITY is a national organization promoting personal development, citizenship, and leadership among AI/AN youth ages 14–24. Its network currently includes 132 affiliated youth councils in 35 states.

OJJDP's Model Programs GuideOJJDP’s Model Programs Guide Aligned With CrimeSolutions.gov

OJJDP has relaunched its Model Programs Guide (MPG), an online resource of more than 180 evidence-based prevention, intervention, and reentry programs for juvenile justice practitioners, policymakers, and communities. MPG now uses the Office of Justice Programs’ CrimeSolutions.gov review process and includes programs addressing a variety of topics, including child victimization, substance abuse, youth violence, mental health and trauma, and gang activity. In addition to providing program profiles, MPG offers information on program implementation, literature reviews, and resource links.

OJJDP Holds Research-to-Practice Meeting To Enhance Juvenile Drug Court Programs

On December 5, 2013, in Washington, DC, OJJDP hosted a meeting with researchers to discuss the current state of juvenile drug court knowledge, what works and what does not, key OJJDP and Office of Justice Programs initiatives to advance evidence-informed juvenile drug court practice (including the 16 Strategies in Practice and the Juvenile Drug Courts/Reclaiming Futures Model and Evaluation), and how to most effectively translate research into practices that improve juvenile drug court services. The meeting will help shape OJJDP’s juvenile drug court strategic framework in the areas of policy, programs, research, and training and technical assistance.

Nominations Being Accepted for National Missing Children’s Day Awards

Each year, the U.S. Department of Justice, through OJJDP, recognizes individuals, organizations, and agencies that have made a difference in recovering abducted children and protecting children from exploitation. The awardees are recognized at the annual National Missing Children's Day ceremony in Washington, DC. Nominations are being accepted for the 2014 Law Enforcement, Citizen, Child Protection, and Attorney General’s Special Commendation awards. Nomination forms are available on each category’s Web page. Nominations must be received by January 17, 2014.

Blog Discusses OJJDP’s Juvenile Justice Reform and Reinvestment Initiative

In a blog posted on December 4, 2013, on the Web site of the Cost-Benefit Knowledge Bank for Criminal Justice (CBKB), Shay Bilchik, Director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, and Kristen Kracke, Social Science Specialist at OJJDP, examine the Office’s Juvenile Justice Reform and Reinvestment Initiative, launched in fiscal year 2012 with support from the Office of Management and Budget’s Partnership Fund. The initiative, which is currently being piloted in three sites, is a practical and comprehensive approach to reform the juvenile justice system by using a research-based decisionmaking platform to inform system improvements and service delivery. CBKB is supported by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Vera Institute of Justice.

OJJDP-Supported Youth Program Impact Toolkit for Law Enforcement Available

In collaboration with OJJDP, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has developed a Youth Program Impact Toolkit. The toolkit will help law enforcement agencies outline key features of their youth programs, including goals, objectives, activities, and what data they need to show impact. The toolkit includes an overview of the impact evaluation process, an 8-step guide for impact evaluations, sample youth-focused policing program diagrams, and a  customizable evaluation template. The toolkit can be accessed through IACP's Youth Focused Policing Resource Center.

Bureau of Prisons Holds First Universal Children’s Day

On the first weekend in December 2013, nearly 8,500 children visited more than 4,000 federal inmates during the Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP’s) first-ever Universal Children’s Day. The visiting event offered an opportunity for inmates to deepen bonds with their children through storytelling, face painting, parenting workshops, family worship services, holiday-themed arts and crafts, and other activities. BOP is an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). To read a blog about the event posted courtesy of BOP’s Director Charles E. Samuels, visit the DOJ Web site. For more information and additional resources and supports for children of incarcerated parents, please visit FindYouthInfo.gov.

Coalition for Juvenile Justice Releases National Standards for the Care of Youth Charged With Status Offenses

On December 6, 2013, the Coalition for Juvenile Justice released National Standards for the Care of Youth Charged With Status Offenses, concrete policy and practice recommendations for avoiding or limiting court involvement for youth charged with nondelinquent offenses. A status offense is conduct that would not be a crime if committed by an adult (e.g., truancy, running away, violating curfew laws, or possessing alcohol or tobacco).

The National Standards call for an end to all secure detention for these young people. Research shows that status offense behaviors are often the result of unmet child and family needs, and that pushing these youth into the juvenile justice system worsens individual and community outcomes. The National Standards promote system reform and changes in system culture, and the adoption and implementation of research-supported policies, programs, and practices that effectively meet the needs of youth, their families, and the community without unwarranted justice system involvement.

Online Resources for Status Offense Reform Now Available

On December 13, 2013, the Vera Institute of Justice launched the online Status Offense Reform Center. Supported by funding from the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change Resource Center Partnership, the site features a toolkit and other resources designed for developing community-based alternatives to the courtroom that connect young people and their families to the services and support they need while reducing family court caseloads, lowering government costs, and providing meaningful and lasting support to children and families. On December 9, the Vera Institute of Justice and the Models for Change Resource Partnership released From Courts to Communities: The Right Response to Truancy, Running Away, and Other Status Offenses. This publication is also available online.

Indian Law and Order Commission Releases Final Report and Recommendations cover pageIndian Law and Order Commission Releases Final Report and Recommendations

On November 12, 2013, the Indian Law and Order Commission (ILOC) released A Roadmap For Making Native America Safer, one of the most comprehensive assessments of public safety and the criminal and juvenile justice systems in American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. Among other reform activities, the report recommends that tribal consent be required for federal prosecutions of juveniles, including whether to charge younger AI/AN offenders as adults; that the federal government and states should notify tribes at all key stages of juvenile justice proceedings involving tribal citizens; and that federal courts hearing Indian country juvenile matters should be required to establish pretrial diversion programs for cases that allow sentencing in tribal courts. To read the full report, visit ILOC's Web site.

Federal Interagency Report Documents Gender-Responsive and Trauma-Informed Approaches

The Federal Partners Committee on Women and Trauma has released Trauma-Informed Approaches: Federal Activities and Initiatives. Developed with support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Center for Trauma-Informed Care, the report demonstrates the application of trauma-informed approaches across a wide range of settings and systems and encourages other governmental and nongovernmental agencies to implement a cross-sector response to trauma. The report documents the projects, programs, and initiatives of more than three dozen federal agencies, departments, and offices—one of the largest interagency collaborations in federal government history. The report addresses the growing national interest in implementing gender-responsive and trauma-informed approaches, the work of the Federal Partners Committee, and the specific progress that participating agencies have made during the past 3 years (2010–2013), since the committee published its first report in 2011.

Coalition for Juvenile Justice Holds Webinar on Incorporating Youth Voices Into Juvenile Justice Reform

On November 21, 2013, the Coalition for Juvenile Justice held the Webinar "Recruitment, Re-engagement, & Re-entry: Incorporating the Youth Voice into Juvenile Justice Reform." The Webinar highlighted two system reform efforts in the state of Washington that illustrate how youth voices serve as an effective advocacy tool and often provide a perspective that moves leaders to implement change. It also emphasized that including young people in reform efforts empowers them to become the next generation of advocates and at the same time develops their leadership and life skills. To access a recording of the Webinar, visit the Coalition for Juvenile Justice Web site.

New Suicide Prevention Publications Available for Juvenile Justice Professionals

Action Alliance logoThe National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention has released nine suicide prevention publications to support the work of juvenile justice professionals. These online publications address critical program areas and promote life-saving practices, including effective screening, risk assessment, and the drafting of model policies in collaboration with other child-serving agencies, particularly those that address mental health issues. The resources were developed by the alliance's Suicide Prevention for Youth in Contact with the Juvenile Justice System Task Force, co-led by OJJDP and the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice. In the upcoming months, OJJDP and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will host several Webinars on the contributions of these resources.

Juvenile Justice Resource Hub Adds Indigent Defense 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 sections on mental health and substance use and community-based alternatives, the Hub recently added a section on juvenile indigent defense. The new section offers comprehensive information about key issues, reform trends, and resources related to this topic.

Download Changing CoursePreventing Gang Membership Report Available Online

The National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have published Changing Course: Preventing Gang Membership. Written by leading public health and criminal justice researchers, Changing Course offers principles to help practitioners and policymakers make decisions based on the best available evidence to prevent youth from joining gangs. The report examines why youth are attracted to gangs, explores key child development issues and risks for joining a gang, and offers prevention strategies that a variety of stakeholders—such as schools, law enforcement, public health, and communities—can use to address their specific needs. Watch an interview with Tom Simon, Deputy Associate Director for Science at CDC, on preventing youth from joining gangs. Access related resources from the National Gang Center.

Technology and School Safety Report Examines Resources To Address School Crises

The National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center, a program of the National Institute of Justice, has published Sharing Ideas & Resources to Keep Our Nation's Schools Safe! This report examines new products and apps to assess and prevent potential school crises. The report also identifies new uses for familiar, standard-bearing technologies in school settings and highlights successful safety programs in urban and rural schools nationwide.

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New Publications

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.

OJJDP Annual Report 2012: How OJJDP Is  Working for Youth Justice and Safety OJJDP Annual Report 2012: How OJJDP Is Working for Youth Justice and Safety (Report)
NCJ 241584

This report details the Office’s activities and accomplishments during fiscal year (FY) 2012. In FY 2012, OJJDP awarded nearly $268 million in grants to help reduce children’s exposure to violence, intervene in and prevent girls’ delinquency, support mentoring activities, facilitate reentry efforts, prevent bullying, improve conditions for tribal youth, strengthen the juvenile justice system, enhance public safety and law enforcement, and fight child exploitation. In addition to financial support, the Office provided a variety of resources for stakeholders in FY 2012. The report’s “Connecting With the Field” sidebars highlight OJJDP’s activities to support research, evaluation, and training and technical assistance—and to communicate findings and best practices to the broader juvenile justice community.

To view and download this publication, or to order a printed copy, visit the NCJRS Web site.

Functional Impairment in Delinquent Youth Functional Impairment in Delinquent Youth (Bulletin)
NCJ 239996
Beyond Detention Series

This bulletin examines the results of the Northwestern Juvenile Project—a longitudinal study of youth detained at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago, IL, cosponsored by OJJDP. The authors present the results of their examination of youth’s functional impairment as assessed 3 years after their release from detention. Of the study sample, only 7.5 percent of youth had no notable impairment in functioning. Approximately one of every five youth had markedly impaired functioning, which was more common in males than in females; however, females were more likely than males to be severely impaired in the moods/emotions and self-harm domains.

To view and download this publication, visit the NCJRS Web site.

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Functional Impairment in Delinquent Youth Developmental Sequences of Girls’ Delinquent Behavior (Bulletin)
NCJ 238276
Girls Study Group Series

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 other drugs.

To view and download this publication, visit the NCJRS Web site.

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News From the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention logo. At the meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention on November 13, 2013, Associate Attorney General Tony West announced the creation of a new council subcommittee charged with developing strategies for implementing the recommendations of the Attorney General’s Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence. Composed of representatives from a range of federal agencies that serve youth, the committee will consider ways to align federal programs aimed at reducing violence and will support the identification and treatment of children exposed to violence through cross-agency grant funds.

Associate Attorney General Tony West (left), chair of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee, the council’s vice-chair, listen to presentations by a panel of experts on the implications of the Affordable Care Act for vulnerable youth.

The council meeting featured presentations by a panel of experts on the Affordable Care Act and its implications for vulnerable adolescents and young adults. The panel included Wilma Robinson, Deputy Director, Office of Adolescent Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); Abigail English, Director, Center for Adolescent Health and the Law; Barbara Edwards, Director, Disabled and Elderly Health Programs Group, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, HHS; and Diane Justice, Senior Program Director, National Academy for State Health Policy.

The panel cited the following examples of the Affordable Care Act’s benefits for young people:

“For at-risk young people—and particularly those affected by violence—the services provided by the Affordable Care Act represent more than an insurance policy; they are a lifeline,” Associate Attorney General West said. “They are the tools of prevention and reorientation that can mean the difference between a life of fulfillment and one that perpetuates a cycle of trauma and violence.”

An HHS issue brief “The Affordable Care Act and Adolescents,” as well as a range of other reports analyzing the impact of the Affordable Care Act, are available online.

Meetings of the council are open to the public. Visit the Web site to register for the next meeting, learn more about the council, and read minutes from past meetings.

The Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is an independent body within the executive branch of the federal government operated under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The council's primary functions are to coordinate federal juvenile delinquency prevention programs, federal programs and activities that detain or care for unaccompanied juveniles, and federal programs relating to missing and exploited children. The council is made up of 22 members—13 ex officio and affiliate members and 9 practitioners. The ex officio members are: the Attorney General; the Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development, and Labor; the Assistant Secretary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; and the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Affiliate members are the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Defense, and the Interior, and the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of HHS. The nine juvenile justice practitioner members are appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Senate Majority Leader, and the President of the United States.

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