September | October 2014

News in Brief

OJJDP Awards $62 Million in Grants To Support Youth Mentoring Programs

OJJDP has awarded more than $41 million in grants to national organizations to strengthen, expand, and implement youth mentoring activities and youth development programming throughout the nation. An additional $21 million in grants was awarded to not-for-profit mentoring organizations.

"Every child deserves the opportunity to grow up with the guidance and support of a caring adult," said OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee. "Mentoring programs, such as the ones that OJJDP is supporting this year, help make these healthy and nurturing relationships a reality for thousands of children across the country."

Grant awards were made to the following organizations:

  • National Mentoring (more than $41 million)—Boys & Girls Clubs of America, National 4-H Council, National Council of Young Men’s Christian Assoc., and YouthBuild USA.
  • Multistate Mentoring ($21 million)—
    • Category 1—One-on-One Mentoring: Amachi, Inc. and National Urban League.
    • Category 2—Group Mentoring: Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation; Citizen Schools, Inc.; Close Up Foundation; FRIENDS FIRST, Inc.; Museum of Science—Intel Computer Clubhouse Network; National Indian Youth Leadership Project; U.S. Soccer Federation Foundation, Inc.; and Up2Us, Inc.
    • Category 3—Combined One-on-One/Group Mentoring: 100 Black Men of America, Inc.; Center for Neighborhood Enterprise; Center for Supportive Schools; Council on Legal Education Opportunity; Institute for Educational Leadership, Inc.; Metro United Methodist Urban Ministry; National Organization of Concerned Black Men; Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, Inc.; Operation HOPE, Inc.; Southwest Key Programs, Inc.; and U.S. Dream Academy, Inc.

OJJDP Supports School-Justice Partnerships With $1.9 Million Grant

OJJDP has awarded a $1.9 million grant to the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) to participate in the School Justice Partnership Program: Keeping Kids in School and Out of Court. OJJDP is coordinating with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to implement this collaboration among schools, mental and behavioral health specialists, law enforcement, and judges to reform school discipline policies to divert youth from the juvenile justice system. NCJFCJ will establish a National Resource Center on School Justice Partnerships to provide research, training, and technical assistance to respond to student behavioral needs.

OJJDP’s Model Programs Guide Adds Three New Literature Reviews

OJJDP’s Model Programs Guide (MPG), an online resource of evidence-based juvenile justice and youth prevention, intervention, and reentry programs, has added three new literature reviews. MPG literature reviews provide practitioners and policymakers with relevant research and evaluations on more than 40 juvenile justice topics and programs. These three literature reviews address:

In addition to literature reviews, MPG offers program profiles, information on program implementation, and resource links.

National Academies Release Guide for Health Care Providers on Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Minors

With support from OJJDP, the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine and National Research Council have released a guide for health care providers who work with children who have experienced, or are at risk of experiencing, commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking. The guide highlights key terms, risk factors and consequences, emerging service strategies, challenges of providing services, and recommendations for how health care providers can improve the prevention, identification, and response to these crimes.

The guide is the second in a series derived from the OJJDP-commissioned report, Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States, which provides a comprehensive overview of the issues and recommendations for action.

Advocates for At-Risk and System-Involved Girls Gather for Roundtable Discussion in Washington, DC

On October 14–16, 2014, representatives from OJJDP and existing girls’ alliances, public health and legal experts, and women formerly involved with the juvenile justice system gathered in Washington, DC, for a roundtable meeting designed to catalyze action across the country in support of girls who are at risk of entering, or who are involved in, the juvenile justice system. Organized as part of OJJDP’s National Girls Initiative (originally called the "National Girls Institute"), the meeting focused on policy development and advocacy, training and technical assistance, a toolkit to support those who work with girls, and new opportunities and resources.

"The National Girls Initiative is a high priority at OJJDP because girls are the fastest growing segment of the juvenile justice system," said OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee. "A high percentage of girls in the system have been exposed to violence and trauma and do not pose a significant public safety risk. Many girls would be far better served in nonresidential treatment facilities close to their own homes. Programs that are good for girls, especially those recovering from exposure to violence, weave together family, community, and systems of care."

Panel Discussion at CJCA Institute Highlights Solitary Confinement

OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee moderating a panel discussion on the impact of isolation practices in confinement facilities for youth.
OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee moderating a panel discussion on the impact of isolation practices in confinement facilities for youth.
On October 2, 2014, OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee moderated a panel discussion on the impact of isolation practices in confinement facilities for youth. The discussion, held at the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators’ (CJCA’s) Resource Network for Youth Corrections Leaders and Professionals Leadership Institute in Chicago, IL, focused on the development of leadership necessary to reduce and eliminate the use of isolation, effective alternatives to isolation, cultural change in correctional institutions, and an incentive-based behavior management system. Panel participants included Fariborz Pakseresht, Director, Oregon Youth Authority; Michael Dempsey, Executive Director, Indiana Division of Youth Services; Peter Forbes, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Youth Services; and Candice Jones, Director, Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice.

October: National Bullying Prevention Month

Preparing and Responding to Cyberbullying: Tips for Law EnforcementNational Bullying Prevention Month unites communities nationwide in activities, education, and awareness building on strategies for addressing bullying. An OJJDP-supported tipcard, "Preparing and Responding to Cyberbullying: Tips for Law Enforcement," was recently released by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The tipcard provides more than 20 recommendations to help law enforcement address and investigate cyberbullying in their communities.

OJJDP is a member of the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention, an interagency effort led by the U.S. Department of Education that works to coordinate policy, research, and communications on bullying topics. For more information on how parents, educators, and youth can work together to stop bullying, visit StopBullying.gov. To learn more about the scope of the problem, predictors of bullying, laws against bullying, and evidence-based programs to prevent and intervene in bullying, see OJJDP’s Model Programs Guide.

Annual Campaign Raises Public Awareness About Suicide Prevention

National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention logoNational Suicide Prevention Week (September 8–14, 2014) is an annual campaign in the United States to raise national awareness and engage parents, educators, medical personnel, the U.S. military, and mental health and juvenile justice professionals in prevention efforts. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for all Americans, the second leading cause of death for adults ages 25–34, and the third leading cause of death for youth ages 15–24.

OJJDP strongly supports the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. OJJDP co-leads the alliance's Task Force for Youth in Contact with the Juvenile Justice System. The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention was launched in 2010 by then U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and then U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

This public-private partnership advances the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP) by championing suicide prevention as a national priority, catalyzing efforts to implement NSSP’s high-priority objectives, and cultivating the resources needed to sustain the progress made.

OJJDP Administrator Participates in Child Cyber Safety Night at the Ballpark

OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee participated in Child Cyber Safety Night at the Ballpark with the Washington Nationals.
OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee, Deputy Attorney General James Cole, and Special Agent in Charge Tim Gallagher of the FBI Washington Field Office were recognized for their efforts to promote youth safety during Child Cyber Safety Night at the Ballpark with the Washington Nationals.
On September 6, 2014, OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee participated in Child Cyber Safety Night at the Ballpark with the Washington Nationals. This event is the latest effort by the U.S. Department of Justice and its law enforcement and community partners to provide prevention materials to parents and encourage them to speak with their children about online and cell phone safety. This large-scale awareness event is led by INOBTR (I Know Better), a nonprofit organization and OJJDP grantee focused on promoting youth safety. As part of the event, the department received the Washington Nationals Spirit Award. Deputy Attorney General James Cole, Administrator Listenbee, and Special Agent in Charge Tim Gallagher of the FBI Washington Field Office were recognized in an on-field ceremony before the game.

OJJDP Recognizes Youth Justice Awareness Month

October is Youth Justice Awareness Month, a time when communities, families, and youth host community-led actions and events that expose the consequences of children being processed in adult court and placed in adult jails and prisons. With events happening throughout the country, Youth Justice Awareness Month provides an opportunity to increase knowledge, build collective action, strengthen relationships with other advocates, and join local advocacy campaigns working to create policy changes.

"Most adult jails or prisons are ill-equipped to meet the needs of children or keep them safe," said OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee. "For example, while in adult jails and prisons, children are often housed in solitary confinement to protect them from adults. Young people’s brains are still developing, and solitary confinement places them at a much higher risk of psychological damage. Indeed, the vast majority of youth suicides in detention occur in isolation."

In its December 2012 final report, the National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence, which Administrator Listenbee co-chaired, recommended that the practice of solitary confinement of youth be prohibited.