November | December 2017

Message From the Acting Administrator: OJJDP's Year in Review

Hello, I’m Eileen Garry, Acting Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. As this year draws to a close, I want to thank all of you for the work you do every day to help states and communities prevent and address juvenile delinquency and protect children from violence and abuse. We are truly partners in this important work.

I also want to update you briefly on OJJDP’s recent activities in service of these goals. I’m proud of all that has been accomplished. In fiscal year 2017, our Office awarded nearly $254 million to reduce youth violence and crime, prevent the victimization of children, and promote the best possible outcomes for at-risk youth. A major part of our funding—nearly $61 million—was awarded to state and national organizations to support mentoring and youth development programs.

The Attorney General has set a high priority on decreasing youth gang violence and drug abuse. For three decades, the OJJDP-supported National Gang Center has been the go-to resource for information and guidance concerning gang prevention and suppression. I’m pleased to report that in 2017, the center’s website was comprehensively updated and redesigned—with new topics and subject areas, an inquiries section for more efficient customer service, and new simplified forms to request training and technical assistance. Also in fiscal year 2017, OJJDP awarded substantial funds to help jurisdictions build effective drug treatment courts and released a much-needed drug treatment court guidelines document based on input from national experts and the latest research evidence.

Even as OJJDP works to reduce crime and violence in our communities, we remain deeply committed to combating the destructive effects of these problems on our nation’s youngest victims. The OJJDP-sponsored Changing Minds campaign is raising awareness about the effects of exposure to violence on a child’s behavioral, emotional, and physical health, and it outlines simple action steps for adults to take to help children heal. October marked the 1-year anniversary of this award winning, ongoing, public education campaign. Changing Minds is available online at www.changingminds

We all know that the victimization of children has been made easier by ready access to the Internet. Our Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force program supports 61 task forces that are engaged in investigations, forensic examinations, and prosecutions related to technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation. In a 2-month nationwide operation last spring, the task forces investigated nearly 70,000 cases and arrested more than 1,000 suspected child predators.

In response to the unique needs of youth who have been sexually exploited, OJJDP added new project sites to its Mentoring for Child Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Domestic Sex Trafficking initiative in 2017. The initiative provides training and technical assistance to organizations that serve and mentor youth who have been exploited and increases the availability of direct services to survivors.

These are just a few highlights of our Office’s work over the past 12 months. I know that none of this would be possible without the personal commitment and expertise of juvenile justice practitioners and researchers across the country. We look forward to our continued collaboration with all of you in the years ahead.

Thank you.