It is my pleasure to present to you this fourth annual Report to Congress on Title V Incentive Grants for Local Delinquency Prevention Programs. Since 1994, the Title V Program, popularly known as the Community Prevention Grants Program, has provided communities nationwide with the framework, tools, and initial funding needed to develop and begin to implement comprehensive, sustainable delinquency prevention strategies.

With the Community Prevention Grants Program, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) is helping communities to translate the best research on juvenile crime and delinquency prevention into effective policy and practice. For example, in its recent report, OJJDP's Study Group on Serious and Violent Juvenile Offenders concluded that the fragmented nature of community-based services for at-risk youth has resulted in a lack of public accountability for young juvenile offenders, which, in turn, has contributed to the Nation's unacceptably high levels of serious and violent juvenile crime. Among their recommendations is the integration of juvenile justice, child welfare, mental health, and public health-based approaches as the most cost-effective way to increase public accountability for at-risk youth and, ultimately, to reduce serious and violent juvenile crime. The Community Prevention Grants Program does just that: it promotes community-wide collaborative efforts to develop and implement outcome-based, risk- and protection-focused delinquency prevention strategies. Moreover, it provides communities with the tools needed to track their program activities and outcomes, thus increasing the accountability of their programs as well as their youth.

The Community Prevention Grants Program is systematically building local capacity to strategically plan, develop, and implement tailored delinquency prevention strategies. Communities that had asked the Federal government to help them "do something" about their growing juvenile crime problems are now, with Federal support and assistance, addressing these problems themselves. Early indications of success clearly show that our strategy of providing communities with an overarching framework, tools, and seed money is paying off. Short-term Federal funding, coupled with long-term local strategic planning and mobilization, has provided the incentives needed for communities to invest wisely in and take ownership of the systemwide changes and program services that are making a difference nationwide.

Based on what the research has taught us about juvenile crime and delinquency, as well as the mounting evidence provided by Title V communities, we firmly believe that this delinquency prevention approach will work in the long run. As we complete the fourth program year, our commitment to this approach has proved well-founded. More than 470 communities across the Nation have embraced the rigorous community assessment and delinquency prevention planning process and received prevention grants. Most importantly, many already are beginning to see early and encouraging results from their efforts. While heartened by the early success stories included in this report, we also know that real change will take time. This program is not a quick-fix approach to solving "youth problems." Rather, it is a focused, coordinated, long-term effort to help communities change the way they do business.

As the Federal government is pressed to find cost-effective solutions to existing social problems, it will need to make smart, short-term monetary investments that have long-term, measurable impacts. In this fourth Report to Congress on Title V, we hope to demonstrate that the Community Prevention Grants Program provides an excellent opportunity to do just that. We hope to convey its progress and promise in promoting sustainable, effective local delinquency prevention programs, as well as the commitment that both States and communities have shown to solving their problems and creating environments that foster strong families and healthy, law-abiding youth.

Shay Bilchik

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1997 Report to Congress: Title V Incentive Grants for Local Delinquency Prevention Programs