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OJJDP Administrator Discusses Prevention Strategies at National Mentoring Summit

2014 National Mentoring Summit: Mentoring WorksOn January 30, 2014, OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee joined a panel of experts in a plenary session on mentoring and other strategies for preventing youth from becoming involved with the juvenile justice system. The discussion took place at the fourth annual National Mentoring Summit in Arlington, VA. The 2-day summit was hosted by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership along with OJJDP, the Corporation for National and Community Service, Harvard School of Public Health, and United Way Worldwide.

The other panelists included James Anderson of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition; Roger Jarjoura, principal researcher in the Human and Social Development Program of the American Institutes for Research; and Laurie Parise, executive director and founder of Youth Represent. David Gregory, moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” facilitated the discussion.

The session covered a range of topics, including harsh and exclusionary school disciplinary policies and in-school arrests that push youth out of school and into the justice system, a process also known as the school-to-prison pipeline. Annual rates of school suspension have doubled since the 1970s, even though rates of serious school violence and youth arrest have remained steady or even declined over the same period. When a student is suspended or expelled, his or her likelihood of being involved in the juvenile justice system the subsequent year increases significantly.

Administrator Listenbee cited the Supportive School Discipline Initiative, launched by Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan in 2011, as an important step forward in addressing this problem. OJJDP is a key member of the initiative. Among other activities, the Justice and Education Departments recently issued guidance documents to help states and localities address school discipline more effectively.

In addition, Administrator Listenbee emphasized OJJDP’s longstanding commitment to mentoring as a critical component in preventing entry into the juvenile justice system and fostering positive outcomes for at-risk children. In fiscal year 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.


Administrator Listenbee stressed the importance of tailoring mentoring approaches to the needs of specific populations, including girls, LGBT youth, and children of incarcerated parents. (See the article, “OJJDP Publishes Report on Mentoring Children of Incarcerated Parents,” in the News in Brief section.)

The Office has awarded nearly $1 million to MENTOR to establish a new National Mentoring Resource Center, which will provide resource, reference, and training materials to the field and advance the implementation of evidence- and research-based mentoring practices. The center will also provide training and technical assistance, and a Web site will be launched in the coming months. “A major focus at OJJDP is to find ways to develop evidence-based practices and share these practices throughout the nation,” Administrator Listenbee said.


The National Mentoring Summit featured more than 60 workshops and 4 plenary sessions facilitated by mentoring practitioners, youth development experts, researchers, technical assistance providers, and government and corporate partners. More than 750 practitioners, researchers, policymakers, and corporate and philanthropic stakeholders attended the event.

Workshops led by OJJDP staff included The National Mentoring Resource Center: A Partnership Between OJJDP and MENTOR, OJJDP’s Mentoring Enhancement Demonstration Program: Mentors as Advocates and Teachers, and A Highlight of Approaches to Mentoring Children of Incarcerated Parents.

January was National Mentoring Month, an annual media campaign to recruit volunteer mentors for youth and to focus national attention on the importance of individuals, businesses, government agencies, schools, and nonprofit organizations working together to ensure positive outcomes for youth.


More information about the 2014 National Mentoring Summit and a video of the plenary session moderated by David Gregory are available online.

To access mentoring resources, visit the Web sites of OJJDP, MENTOR, The Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring, and the National Criminal Justice Reference Service. To learn more about OJJDP’s new research report on mentoring children of incarcerated parents and MENTOR’s recently released survey of young people's perspectives on the outcomes and availability of mentoring, read the News in Brief section.

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Justice Department Task Force Holds Second Public Hearing on American Indian and Alaska Native Children's Exposure to Violence
Task Force Holds Second Public Hearing on American Indian and Alaska Native Children's Exposure to Violence, Defending Childhood 'Protect, Heal, Thrive'

On February 11, 2014, a task force advisory committee appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder held the second of four public hearings to examine the impact of violence on children in Indian country. The hearing, which took place in Scottsdale, AZ, focused on how juvenile courts and other programs within tribal juvenile justice systems address exposure to violence, as well as promising approaches in juvenile justice. More than 30 tribal leaders, juvenile court judges, child advocates, juvenile justice system experts, and community members from the Salt River Pima–Maricopa Indian Community testified.

Iroquois singer and composer Joanne Shenandoah and former U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan are co-chairs of the Advisory Committee of the Attorney General's Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence.

“Too many native children encounter violence in their homes and communities that can disrupt a path to living healthy adult lives, and we must do all that we can to protect these young people,” said Associate Attorney General Tony West in his opening remarks. “By intervening early, we can help these children avoid a fate involving courts and the corrections system.”


During the hearing, experts explained how children entering tribal, state, or federal justice systems are screened and treated for trauma from previous exposure to violence. They also discussed a variety of issues facing American Indian and Alaska Native children in juvenile justice systems, including the availability of legal representation, tribal court transfer of juvenile cases to adult courts, culturally sensitive programs, and services that divert youth from entering the juvenile justice system.

The Task Force on American Indian and 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 13-member advisory committee is co-chaired by former U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan and Iroquois composer and singer Joanne Shenandoah. 

The Task Force on American Indian and 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 advisory committee will hold additional public hearings in Fort Lauderdale, FL, and Anchorage, AK, in 2014, and will conduct 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.

Robert L. Listenbee Op-Ed Addresses Children's Exposure to Violence in Indian Country

On January 22, the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE) published an op-ed by OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee emphasizing the importance of preventing children's exposure to violence in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Listenbee, who co-chaired the Attorney General's National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence, calls for countering the effects of violence among tribal youth. Listenbee cites important steps that the Attorney General's Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence has taken, including expanding educational services inside Bureau of Indian Affairs juvenile detention facilities and holding public hearings of its advisory committee on the trauma that native children experience. To read the op-ed, visit JJIE's Web site.


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

To learn more about OJJDP's tribal youth initiatives, visit the Office's Web site.

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Public Health Grand Rounds Session Examines Youth Violence Prevention

Public health Grand RoundsOn February 18, 2014, OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee made remarks at a Public Health Grand Rounds session on youth violence prevention, organized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Other speakers included Dr. Howard Spivak, director of CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention; Dr. Deborah Gorman-Smith, professor at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration; and Sheila B. Savannah, division manager, Office of Health Planning, Evaluation and Program Development, Houston Department of Health and Human Services.

Homicide is the third leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24 and accounts for more deaths in this age group than the next six leading causes of death combined. According to the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence, which was funded by OJJDP with support from CDC, nearly one-half of children and adolescents surveyed were assaulted at least once in the past year, and more than 1 in 10 were injured in an assault. Youth are also being subjected to other less visible and chronic trauma in their homes and communities. The survey found that 1 in 10 youth suffered from maltreatment, including physical and emotional abuse and neglect, and 1 in 16 were victimized sexually in the past year.

Administrator Listenbee emphasized that children exposed to violence are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol; suffer from depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic disorders; fail in school and in the workplace; suffer from serious medical problems; and engage in delinquent and criminal behavior. Both committing violent acts and victimization by violence have adverse impacts on a young person’s health and development, he said. These impacts can be mitigated through assessment and treatment and the fostering of resiliency.

Administrator Listenbee cited the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, now active in 10 cities, as a model of collaboration at the federal and local levels. The forum encourages its member cities to change the way they do business by sharing common challenges and promising strategies across the child welfare, juvenile justice, law enforcement, educational, and other domains, with the goal of 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.


A video of the Public Health Grand Rounds session on youth violence prevention is available online. To access the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence, visit the OJJDP Web site.

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Justice and Education Departments Release School Discipline Resource Package

Through the Supportive School Discipline Initiative (SSDI), the U.S. Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Education (ED) are working to end harsh and exclusionary discipline practices that push youth out of school and into the justice system. OJJDP is coordinating DOJ’s work on the initiative.

A groundbreaking study in Texas by the Council of State Governments Justice Center found that 97 percent of the students who were suspended or expelled were being punished for nonviolent behaviors, including minor infractions such as tardiness or dress code violations. Youth who were suspended or expelled were nearly three times as likely to be in contact with the juvenile justice system the following year. In addition, the study revealed that students who were African American or who qualified for special education services were treated more harshly than were other students.

On January 8, 2014, DOJ and ED released a joint resource package for policymakers, legislators, educators, law enforcement professionals, healthcare practitioners, advocates, and researchers to assist them in creating safe and positive school climates. The package consists of four components:

“A routine school disciplinary infraction should land a student in the principal's office, not in a police precinct,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “This guidance will promote fair and effective disciplinary practices that will make schools safe, supportive, and inclusive for all students. By ensuring federal civil rights protections, offering alternatives to exclusionary discipline, and providing useful information to school resource officers, we can keep America's young people safe and on the right path.”

Following are a few examples of OJJDP’s other current SSDI activities:

OJJDP is also providing financial assistance to the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges to evaluate the replication of successful school and court partnerships. This project is designed to reduce student referrals to court for nonserious behaviors by developing a curriculum and training that will be tested in up to 16 sites.


To access OJJDP's Webinar series on school discipline, visit the State Training and Technical Assistance Web site. More information about the Supportive School Discipline Initiative, the Council of State Governments, and the School Discipline Consensus Project is available online.

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AMBER Alert Joins Twitter

AMBER AlertOn January 13, 2014, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) announced the launch of an AMBER Alert Twitter account. Using the handle @AMBER Alert, the new account will make it easier for these alerts to reach the approximately 49 million monthly Twitter users in the United States.

The announcement was made on National AMBER Alert Awareness Day, which the U.S. Department of Justice observes annually to increase awareness of the AMBER Alert program and encourage public engagement in the safe recovery of abducted children. Twitter users who follow the @AMBER Alert handle will automatically receive all AMBER Alerts in their Twitter feed. Facebook users have been able to receive AMBER Alerts for their region since 2011.

“Since it was created in 1996, the AMBER Alert program has grown into a powerful national network that has helped to safely recover 679 abducted children,” said Karol V. Mason, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and National AMBER Alert Coordinator. “By adding Twitter to the network, we greatly enhance our ability to reach the public and are able to make this important public safety tool even more effective.”

Law enforcement issues AMBER Alerts, which include any available information about the child, abductor, or suspected vehicle used in the abduction, and specify the geographic area where the alert should be disseminated. Once issued, broadcasters and transportation agencies disseminate the alerts. They are also sent to NCMEC, which resends the alerts to a network of secondary distributors that include Internet service providers, digital billboards, truckers, cell phones, and others. NCMEC will issue the alerts via Twitter through this secondary distribution.

The AMBER Alert program, which is managed by OJP with the support of OJJDP, is active in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. To date, the program has been credited with the successful rescue of 679 children.


More information about NCMEC and the AMBER Alert program is available online.

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OJJDP's Model Programs Guide Offers Expanded, User-Friendly Resources

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’ (OJP’s) CrimeSolutions.gov review process, scoring instrument, and evidence ratings. The two sites also share a common database of juvenile-related programs. This development allows for better alignment of the OJJDP and OJP registries.

In addition, MPG now offers the following new features:

“With the launch of the newly updated Model Programs Guide, OJJDP is able to offer a more interactive and user-friendly resource that will help communities across the country identify effective interventions for at-risk youth,” said OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee.

MPG web site screenshot


To access OJJDP’s Model Program Guide, visit the agency’s Web site.

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Upcoming Events

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 National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges will host this event. Registration information is available online.

28th Annual Conference on the Prevention of Child Abuse: March 3–4, 2014

Prevent Child Abuse Texas logoSponsored 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.

11th Annual Hawaii Conference on Preventing, Assessing, and Treating Child, Adolescent, and Adult Trauma: March 11–14, 2014

Institute on Violence, Abuse and TraumaOrganized 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.

Webinar: What Everyone Who Works With Victims Needs To Know About Offenders: March 13, 2014

Hosted by the Midwest Regional Children's Advocacy Centers, this Webinar will explore key research findings on individuals who commit sex offenses against children. The presenter will be Dr. David L. Burton, Associate Professor at Smith College's School of Social Work and Associate Editor, Smith College Studies in Social Work. Information about the time of the Webinar and registration is available online.

Webinar: Making Dollars and Sense: March 19, 2014

Hosted by the Missing and Exploited Children's Program in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice's Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (CFBNP), this Webinar will feature information on strategies and best practices for improving partnerships, building capacity, and effectively applying for and managing grants. The Webinar discussion will be based on the center's Faith and Communities in Action: A Resource Guide for Increasing Partnership Opportunities to Prevent Crime and Violence. Information about the time of the Webinar and registration is available online.

National Children's Advocacy Center logo

30th 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.

Institute for New Juvenile and Family Court Judges: March 31–April 4, 2014

Hosted by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, this training is designed specifically for state and tribal judicial officers who are new to the juvenile and family court bench, or who are returning to this bench following other assignments and desire a refresher course. The curriculum, previously known as Core College, is designed to encourage core competencies for juvenile and family court judges and includes coverage of 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 interactions with the media. The event will be held in Incline Village, NV. Registration information is available online.

14th Annual Family Justice Center Conference: April 2–4, 2014

Family Justice Center Alliance logoSponsored 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.

Blueprints Conference Logo

Blueprints Conference: April 14–16, 2014

The Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado Boulder, will host this conference in Denver, CO. The conference will focus on evidence-based programs in youth education, problem behavior, self-regulation, mental and physical health, and positive relationships and will provide support for practitioners implementing these programs in their communities. OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee will be a featured keynote speaker. Registration information is available online.

Child Forensic Interview Clinic: April 28–May 2, 2014

To be held in Norfolk, VA, this training is designed for professionals responsible for conducting forensic interviews with children in suspected abuse cases. The curriculum, developed by the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, teaches a structured narrative interview approach that emphasizes best practices and is guided by the best interests of the child. Attendees will receive a balanced review of several protocols and will develop their own customized narrative interview approach based on the principles taught during the clinic and contained in the 2012 APSAC Practice Guidelines on Forensic Interviewing in Cases of Suspected Child Abuse. Registration information is available online.

Conference on Children, Youth, and Families: May 14–16, 2014

Organized by the National Council on Crime & Delinquency, this conference will bring together practitioners and researchers in the child protection, foster care, juvenile justice, and education systems. The event, which will be held in San Diego, CA, will feature sessions on a range of topics, including The Positive Youth Justice Initiative; Rape Is Not Part of Their Sentence: How the Prison Rape Elimination Act Addresses Sexual Violence in Juvenile Detention Settings; Introduction to Restorative Justice; Advancing Multi-Sector Collaboration To Prevent Violence and Injury; Addressing the Links Between Multiple Forms of Violence; Child Welfare in the Information Age: Translating Data Into Practice; Family Connections: The Importance of Programs for Incarcerated Parents, Their Children, and Detained Juveniles; and Adolescent Brain Development and Its Implications for Young People Engaged With Public Systems. Registration information is available online.

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.

Youth in Custody Certificate Program: June 10–14, 2014

Organized by Georgetown University’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform in partnership with OJJDP’s National Center for Youth in Custody, the Missouri Department of Social Services’ Division of Youth Services, and the Council of State Governments Justice Center, the Youth in Custody Certificate Program will examine the promotion of systemic change and the enhancement of outcomes for serious, high-risk juvenile offenders. Although the need for a continuum of services and placements throughout the juvenile justice system provides the context for this work, the program focuses on youth in postadjudication custody. The program is targeted to public- and private-sector leaders working in the juvenile justice, child welfare, mental health, substance abuse, education, and other youth-serving systems. Applications are due by February 28; information is available online.

Other upcoming certificate programs include Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Juvenile Justice Certificate Program (July 2014); Diversion Certificate Program for Prosecutors, Probation and Police Leaders (fall 2014); Multi-System Integration Certificate Program (fall 2014); and Information Sharing Certificate Program (fall 2014).

American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children Annual Colloquium: June 11–14, 2014

This event will feature institutes and workshops that address aspects of child maltreatment, including prevention, assessment, intervention, and treatment. Seminars have been designed for professionals in the fields of mental health, medicine, nursing, law, law enforcement, education, prevention, research, advocacy, child protection, and allied fields. Organized by the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, the colloquium will be held in New Orleans, LA. Registration information is available online.

Global Youth Justice Training Institute: June 17–19, 2014

This training institute, hosted by Global Youth Justice, is primarily designed for adults who are enhancing, expanding, or establishing youth justice diversion programs, often referred to as teen court, peer court, youth court, student court, and youth peer jury. The event, to be held in Provincetown, MA, includes more than 20 peer-to-peer training sessions and a half-day grant writing session. Registration information is available online.

Coalition for Juvenile Justice Annual Conference: June 18–21, 2014

logo of Coalition for Juvenile Justice Annual ConferenceThe conference, "Looking Back, Planning Ahead: A Vision for the Next 40 Years in Juvenile Justice," will focus on lessons learned in the areas of practice, policy, and research since the passage of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act on September 7, 1974; the implications of these lessons for the future of the juvenile justice field; and emerging issues. Hosted by the Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ), the event will include thematic workshops and training tracks, informative general sessions plenaries, state juvenile justice specialist and disproportionate minority contact coordinator business meetings, the CJJ Council of State Advisory Groups' meeting and  executive board elections, and regional and CJJ committee meetings. Registration information is available online.

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News in Brief

OJJDP Issues Report on Mentoring Children of Incarcerated Parents

On September 30, 2013, OJJDP, in partnership with the White House Domestic Policy Council and Office of Public Engagement, organized a listening session, “Mentoring Children of Incarcerated Parents.” 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. In January, OJJDP released a report that summarizes the research and stakeholder input shared during the listening session and offers recommendations for federal efforts to further advance the availability and effectiveness of mentoring for children of incarcerated parents. To read the report, visit the OJJDP Web site.

OJJDP Administrator Highlights Office’s Youth Violence Prevention Priorities at Chicago Area Project Meeting

On January 24, 2014, OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee gave a keynote address at the Chicago Area Project’s annual meeting, focusing on OJJDP’s youth violence prevention priorities and improving relationships between law enforcement and youth. Administrator Listenbee described OJJDP’s and the U.S. Department of Justice’s work on the national level to combat youth violence through the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, the Defending Childhood Initiative, and the Community-Based Violence Prevention program.

OJJDP-Funded Study Will Examine Impact of Family Visitation on Detained Youth

Exploratory research by the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) suggests that increased family visitation is associated with better educational outcomes and behavior in incarcerated youth. With funds from OJJDP, Vera will conduct a 2-year study of the effect of expanded family visitation policies and practices on youth during confinement in Indiana Department of Correction, Division of Youth Services facilities as well as during the reentry phase. This research will inform juvenile justice leaders about ways to keep incarcerated young people and their families connected and how to improve youth's long-term outcomes and lower their recidivism rates.

Juvenile Justice Evaluation Center Releases January Newsletter

The National Juvenile Justice Evaluation Center, a project of the Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA) funded by OJJDP, has released its January 2014 bulletin. The issue includes an article on an evaluation of 19 programs under Colorado’s Juvenile Diversion grant program; a State Spotlight on Maryland’s Department of Human Resources’ Ready by 21 program; and information about resources available from the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments. To access this issue of the newsletter, visit JRSA's Web site.

logo of CrimeSolutiion.govVideo of Webinar on CrimeSolutions.gov Now Available

On January 16, 2014, the Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA) hosted a Webinar in which Thomas Feucht, Executive Senior Science Advisor and Acting Deputy Director, National Institute of Justice, talked with Stan Orchowsky, JRSA’s Director of Research, about CrimeSolutions.gov. CrimeSolutions.gov is the Office of Justice Programs' searchable Web site of programs and practices and their effectiveness. The Webinar describes how the experts rate programs and practices and how the easily understandable ratings are helping agencies make evidence-based decisions. To access the archived Webinar, visit JRSA’s Web site.

Review Panel on Prison Rape Conducts Hearings

On January 8–9, 2014, the Review Panel on Prison Rape held hearings in Washington, DC, on sexual victimization in certain U.S. prisons, jails, and juvenile correctional facilities. The Office of Justice Programs’ Office for Civil Rights supports the work of the panel.

In accordance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA), the panel conducts annual hearings to collect evidence to help the Bureau of Justice Statistics identify common characteristics of victims and perpetrators of prison rape. The panel also collects information about prisons and prison systems with a high incidence of prison rape as well as those that have been successful in deterring prison rape. Information about PREA-related publications and resources and transcripts and testimony from the panel’s hearings are available online.

cover of the Federal Strategic Action PlanFederal Strategic Action Plan Unveiled at Human Trafficking Survivor Forum

January was National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. As part of the Administration’s effort to raise national awareness about this issue in January, the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) organized a Human Trafficking Survivor Forum on January 14. The forum was conducted in coordination with the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security (DHS), State, and Health and Human Services (HHS); the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys; the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services; and other DOJ components.

Held at the White House Conference Center, the forum featured 20 survivors who discussed strategies for effectively engaging survivor groups and incorporating their perspectives into approaches to combating human trafficking. The White House, along with officials from DOJ, HHS, and DHS, released the final Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking. In addition, OVC announced the availability of a new public service announcement, “The Faces of Human Trafficking.”

cover of The Mentoring Effect: Young People's Perspectives on the Outcomes and Availability of MentoringMENTOR Releases Survey of Young People’s Perspectives on Mentoring

A new report commissioned by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, The Mentoring Effect: Young People's Perspectives on the Outcomes and Availability of Mentoring links mentoring to significant life outcomes for youth and highlights a substantial gap that exists in America, especially for at-risk youth: one in three young people will reach adulthood without having a mentor. The publication outlines opportunities for the public, private, and philanthropic sectors to systemically integrate mentoring as a key youth-development strategy. It is the first nationally representative survey of young people on the topic of mentoring. The full report and executive summary are available on MENTOR’s Web site.

Resource Center on Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Established

The National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice has launched the Mental Health and Juvenile Justice Collaborative for Change, one of four new online resource centers that the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports as part of the new Models for Change Resource Center Partnership. The Collaborative for Change offers information and resources on mental health reforms that states involved in the Collaborative for Change, Mental Health and Juvenile JusticeModels for Change initiative have developed and provides training and technical assistance for effectively implementing the reforms nationwide. The resource center covers a range of topics, including mental health screening and risk/needs assessment for youth in juvenile justice settings; diversion strategies and program models for youth with mental health needs; training for juvenile justice staff and police on adolescent development and mental health needs; and coordination and integration of juvenile justice and child welfare systems to improve outcomes for youth.

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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.

Juvenile Arrests 2011Juvenile Arrests 2011 (Bulletin)
NCJ 244476

Juvenile Offenders and Victims National Report Series

This bulletin provides a summary and an analysis of 2011 juvenile crime and arrest data reported by local law enforcement agencies nationwide as cited in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting program. As has been the case in general for the past decade, juvenile arrest data for 2011 provide reasons for encouragement. Overall, arrests in 2011 were down 11 percent from 2010 and down 31 percent since 2002. Although juvenile arrest rates for many crimes are at their lowest levels in more than 30 years, many states and communities are instituting policy, practice, and program changes to reduce juvenile arrests even further.

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

Coming Soon—

Delays in Youth Justice (Bulletin)
Justice Research Series

This bulletin describes research that draws from the National Juvenile Court Data Archive and from studies of three Midwestern county courts that have successfully reduced delays in processing youth through the juvenile justice system. All three sites employed different, tailored approaches to addressing delays, a commitment to case management, and routine and shared communication were themes the sites had in common.

Young Offenders: What Happens and What Should Happen (Bulletin)
Justice Research Series


This bulletin examines policies that affect young offenders who cross over from the juvenile justice system to the criminal justice system. It focuses on adolescence and early adulthood, with an emphasis on juvenile delinquents ages 15–17 who are candidates for transitioning into the criminal justice system and young adults ages 18–24 who are already in the criminal justice system.

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News From the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice
Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice logoThe Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice’s (FACJJ’s) Webinar-facilitated meeting on February 7, 2014, included presentations and discussion with FACJJ members on developmental approaches in the juvenile justice system as well as a federal initiative to address the school-to-prison pipeline. OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee offered introductory remarks.

“I am inspired by so many areas we are working on at OJJDP,” said Administrator Listenbee. “We’re incorporating advances in scientific knowledge about adolescent brain development and trauma-informed care into our efforts to improve the juvenile justice system. . . . We’re addressing the harsh and exclusionary disciplinary practices that send so many of our children needlessly out of the classroom and into the courtroom. And we’re working hard to bring that day closer when our justice system is a place where all children are treated fairly.”

Arlene Lee, J.D., director of the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Law and Justice, presented the findings of the committee’s OJJDP-commissioned report Reforming Juvenile Justice: A Developmental Approach. The report emphasizes that, for the nonviolent offenders who make up the majority of youth in residential placement, a developmental approach that focuses on positive youth development produces better outcomes for youth and for public safety than relying on detention and incarceration and other harsh forms of punishment.

In addition, OJJDP senior fellow Jamie Koppel briefed FACJJ members on the Supportive School Disciple Initiative, launched by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education in 2011 to address harsh and exclusionary school discipline policies and practices that push children out of school and into the justice system. OJJDP is a key member of the initiative.

A study by the Council of State Governments Justice Center found that students who were suspended or expelled were nearly three times as likely to be in contact with the juvenile justice system the following year. To learn more about recent activities of the Supportive School Discipline Initiative, read the article “Justice and Education Departments Release School Discipline Resource Package” in this issue.

At an in-person meeting on December 9, 2013, FACJJ members approved final recommendations for submission to the President, the Congress, and the OJJDP Administrator in four key areas: evidence-based practices, youth engagement, school discipline, and disproportionate minority contact.

FACJJ meetings are open to the public; anyone may register to attend and observe. Additional information is available on the committee's Web site.

The Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice is a consultative body established by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, as amended (Section 223), and is supported by OJJDP. Composed of members of state advisory groups on juvenile justice, the committee advises the President and Congress on matters related to juvenile justice, evaluates the progress and accomplishments of juvenile justice activities and projects, and advises the OJJDP Administrator on the work of OJJDP.

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