July | August 2016

OJJDP-Sponsored Symposium Highlights Child Protection in Tribal Communities

“My Office is committed to ensuring positive outcomes for all youth—including American Indian and Alaska Native youth—who have been historically overlooked and underserved,” said Administrator Listenbee during the OJJDP-sponsored National Symposium on Tribal Child Protection.

Titled “A Focus on Technology-Facilitated Crimes Against Children in Indian Country,” the conference brought together more than 200 tribal leaders, law enforcement representatives, and child protection officials. Federal officials, including Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement personnel; state and local law enforcement; and social service and other nonprofit representatives who serve tribal communities also attended the July 19–21, 2016, symposium hosted by Arizona’s Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

Mr. Listenbee discussed how technology contributes to the online victimization and trafficking of children, the importance of recognizing signs of trafficking, and Department of Justice (DOJ) and OJJDP efforts to help rectify those problems.

In addition to partnering with organizations, such as the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges to identify and help solve public safety challenges in Indian country, the Administrator highlighted specific federal efforts aimed at protecting tribal children, including:

“OJJDP will continue to stand beside you—both reaffirming your inherent sovereignty, and supporting your ability to heal your communities your way,” said Mr. Listenbee.

Symposium sessions focused on creating a multidisciplinary approach and coordinated tribal-based efforts to combat child abuse, neglect, and exploitation in Indian country.

Jim Antal, Associate Administrator of OJJDP’s Youth Development, Prevention, and Safety Division, led a panel discussion titled “Threats to Children in Indian Country,” during which he highlighted OJJDP resources to support tribal communities in responding to child victims of sexual exploitation. Other panelists were Valerie Bribiescas of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Investigations Division, Geri Wisner from the Native American Children’s Alliance, and Jerry Barker of the Arizona ICAC task force.

Cindy McCain, cochair of the Arizona Governor's Council on Human Trafficking and The McCain Institute for International Leadership's Human Trafficking Advisory Council also provided remarks during the event. Mrs. McCain highlighted the work being done by The McCain Institue to combat human trafficking and cited the importance of collaborative work between the tribes and their state, local, and federal partners in responding to threats such as human trafficking and child exploitation.

OJJDP is committed to building safer tribal communities by addressing youth crime and victimization through the Tribal Youth Program, AMBER Alert in Indian Country Initiative, and an array of other initiatives that help tribal communities prevent delinquency, reduce violent crime, and improve tribal juvenile justice systems.


Visit the OJJDP website for more information on the Office’s tribal youth programs and services.

Access Acting Associate Attorney General Bill Baer’s blog “Reducing Recidivism and Promoting Community Safety in Indian Country” online