III. Concentration of Federal Efforts

The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act of 1974 authorizes OJJDP to assume a leadership role in the design of comprehensive strategies to address juvenile delinquency. In this role, OJJDP provides oversight and guidance, through the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (Coordinating Council), for other Federal agencies in their efforts to design and implement effective delinquency prevention, intervention, and treatment programs. An independent body within the Executive Branch, the Council is chaired by the Attorney General. The Administrator of OJJDP serves as the Council's Vice-Chair. Carried out in consultation with the Coordinating Council, OJJDP's Concentration of Federal Efforts Program fosters collaboration among agencies at both the Federal and local levels to ensure a unified Federal delinquency prevention policy, reducing duplication of efforts and resulting in effective, innovative strategies to reduce youth crime and violence.

In 1996, the Coordinating Council published and disseminated Combating Violence and Delinquency: The National Juvenile Justice Action Plan. The Action Plan draws on decades of research, information, and programming in line with key principles defined by OJJDP and sets forth nationalgoals and objectives for addressing youth violence and delinquency. Specifically, the objectives include immediate intervention and sanctions for delinquent juveniles; prosecution of serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offenders; reduction of youth involvement with guns, drugs, and gangs; efforts to address youth victimization, child abuse, and neglect; strengthening and mobilization of communities; and development of innovative research and evaluation.

The Action Plan addresses critical issues facing the Nation's youth by coordinating Federal efforts to support State and local initiatives and by strengthening the links between national organizations and State and local communities. During fiscal year 1997, OJJDP and the Coordinating Council, considering the effects of new Federal legislation on the juvenile justice system and emerging juvenile issues, identified several priority areas within the context of the Action Plan:

  • Enhancing research and evaluations of delinquency prevention programs across all Federal agencies.

  • Exploration of issues raised by the new Welfare Reform Act and its impact on the juvenile justice system and youth.

  • Creation of a safety net for children who do not have access to support services.

  • Efforts to develop character or life skills education (e.g., problem-solving, conflict resolution, and differences between right and wrong) in schools and after-school programs.

  • Exploration of the most effective ways the Federal government can work with State and local governments and communities to prevent drug use.

  • Concentration of more efforts in the area of learning disabilities.

  • Efforts to address truancy and dropouts, particularly in relation to youth with learning disabilities.

  • Identification of how the Federal government can provide research and program information to States and local communities.

OJJDP and its Federal partners initiated steps toimplement the Action Plan by allocating funds for research and evaluation studies, new and existing initiatives that incorporate the principles of collaboration into youth programs, the development of training programs and other educational materials, and the development of a new information gathering system to improve access to and availability of Federal delinquency prevention efforts. Exhibit 7 describes collaborative efforts in fiscal year 1997, the partnering agencies, and the issue areas addressed by the collaborative research/evaluation projects, demonstration programs, and training programs.

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