Chapter 1: Major Accomplishments in
1996 and 1997


Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

The Comprehensive Strategy served as the foundation for a major document endorsed by the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (Coordinating Council) in 1996. OJJDP provides support to the Coordinating Council, which coordinates all 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. This document, Combating Violence and Delinquency: The National Juvenile Justice Action Plan, builds on the Comprehensive Strategy and the Guide and describes Federal activities and resources to help communities address eight critical objectives.

According to the Action Plan, communities must do the following to effectively combat delinquency and violence:

  • Strengthen their juvenile justice systems.
  • Prosecute certain serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offenders in the criminal justice system.
  • Target youth gun, gang, and drug violence through comprehensive policing and prevention techniques.
  • Create positive opportunities for youth.
  • Break the cycle of violence by addressing child victimization, abuse, and neglect.
  • Mobilize communities into effective partnerships for change.
  • Conduct research and evaluate programs.
  • Develop a public education campaign to highlight successes in addressing juvenile delinquency and violence.

The overarching goal is to rebuild community confidence in the system's ability to have an impact on this serious problem. The Action Plan describes Federal grants, training, technical assistance, information dissemination, and research and evaluation activities available to help States and communities address these objectives.

Several jurisdictions are using the Action Plan as the basis of their juvenile justice activities. For example, California based its Juvenile Crime Enforcement and Accountability Challenge Grant Program on the Action Plan's objectives and suggestions for State and local action. The State has invested more than $45 million in demonstration programs related to juvenile crime reduction over a 3-year period (1995-1997). One of the program's goals is to find interventions that work and document the outcomes.

OJJDP and the other Federal agencies represented on the Coordinating Council continued to build on the Action Plan during 1997 by jointly funding several projects that support one or more of the eight objectives listed in the plan. For example, OJJDP and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) funded two research programs to help enhance understanding of juvenile delinquency and crime prevention. The first program, Early Alliance, was designed to help hundreds of elementary school children in economically disadvantaged sections of Columbia, SC, learn how to cope with factors that put them at risk of delinquent behavior. The intent of the program is to intervene early -- in the first grade -- to prevent misconduct, aggression, substance abuse, delinquency and violence, and school failure. The project will follow the children for 5 years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) also provided funds for the program, which is being conducted by the University of South Carolina.

In a second joint research effort, OJJDP transferred funds to NIMH to add a juvenile justice component to a study examining the long-term effects of medication and behavioral and educational treatment on children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Researchers are now examining the contacts between these children and the juvenile justice system.

Kids give off warning signs -- running away, skipping school, failing academically, acting out aggressively, or showing signs of abuse or neglect. An effective violence reduction strategy does not ignore these early symptoms but rather treats them directly -- just like fixing broken windows -- putting the broken pieces of children's lives back together again.

Shay Bilchik
OJJDP Administrator

OJJDP also provided funds to NIDA to study how public health programs address risk and protective factors and substance abuse among adolescents at the State and community levels.

Coordinating Council agencies jointly funded a number of programs designed to help reduce risk factors associated with delinquency, involve the community in prevention efforts, address mental health and juvenile justice issues, and prevent substance abuse. For example, the Ounce of Prevention Program, developed by OJJDP and the President's Crime Prevention Council, addresses youth substance abuse issues. The David Olds Nurse Home Visitation Program, funded by OJJDP, the Executive Office of Weed and Seed, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides prenatal and early childhood services for low-income mothers.

The Coordinating Council also encouraged collaboration at the State and local levels. Building on the Child Development-Community Policing Program initially funded in 1993, OJJDP joined the Violence Against Women Grants Office and the Office for Victims of Crime in funding a training curriculum and technical assistance program. This initiative helps law enforcement and mental health practitioners work together with schools to address the psychological burdens experienced by children and families exposed to violence.

A complete list of collaborative activities funded by Coordinating Council member agencies is included in the 1997 Report to Congress: Title V Incentive Grants for Local Delinquency Prevention Programs, available from the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse (JJC).

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OJJDP Annual Report August 1998