November | December 2017

News in Brief

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Hanson Blogs on Fighting Human Trafficking

Alan R. Hanson, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), recently blogged on the importance of safeguarding youth as well as adults from sexual exploitation and trafficking.

“These vulnerable people suffer every day at the hands of human traffickers, whose capacity for cruelty knows few limits,” writes Mr. Hanson. “The battle is huge, and OJP and the Department of Justice, working with our state and local partners, are committed to ending this brutal practice in all its forms.”

Mr. Hanson emphasized that combating human trafficking is a priority of the Administration and the Justice Department. He stated that OJP recently awarded 36 anti-human trafficking grants totaling nearly $26 million to nonprofit organizations and social service providers in 39 states.

Read the blog post “Fighting the Battle Against Human Trafficking” and learn about OJJDP’s efforts to combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

OJJDP Mourns the Passing of Rolf Loeber

Picture of Dr. Rolf Loeber. Photo courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh.Dr. Rolf Loeber. Photo courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Rolf Loeber, an internationally renowned researcher in the juvenile justice field and Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, passed away on November 6, 2017.

Dr. Loeber cofounded the Life History Studies program at the University of Pittsburgh with his wife and research partner, Dr. Magda Stouthamer-Loeber, and codirected the program for more than 27 years.

Working closely with OJJDP over the years, Dr. Loeber initiated the Pittsburgh Youth Study under OJJDP’s Program of Research on the Causes and Correlates of Delinquency. The study has tracked 1,500 inner city boys since 1987 to examine the development of antisocial and delinquent behavior from childhood to early adulthood. The Pittsburgh Girls Study began in 1999 and is currently tracking more than 2,400 girls to examine delinquency, depression, and substance use over time. From 1998 to 2000, Dr. Loeber cochaired OJJDP’s Study Group on Very Young Offenders, which analyzed data and addressed key issues concerning the delinquent behavior of children ages 7 to 12. Dr. Loeber also served as cochair of OJJDP’s Study Group on Serious and Violent Juvenile Offenders.

These studies are seminal to the field’s advancement of knowledge on delinquency in terms of risk and protective factors, behavioral trajectories, early onset, serious and violent offending, and transitions from juvenile to adult crime. Dr. Loeber mentored countless scholars, who continue to harvest these data through secondary analysis.

Dr. Loeber was a gifted communicator and prolific author, whose publication portfolio exceeded 290 journal articles and scores of books, contributed chapters, and reviews. He received many prestigious awards, including the American Society of Criminology’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Loeber obtained his Ph.D. in Psychology at Queen’s University in Canada.

“I know I speak for myself and other OJJDP staff in expressing our heartfelt sadness at the loss of a dear colleague and friend,” said OJJDP Acting Administrator Eileen M. Garry. “Rolf greatly advanced our understanding of the developmental life course. An outstanding researcher, he was just as focused on how the research could be implemented to help communities and worked tirelessly to improve conditions and outcomes for youth. His legacy will live on.”

Model Programs Guide Profiles 300th Youth Program


OJJDP’s Model Programs GuideOJJDP’s Model Programs Guide (MPG) recently profiled its 300th program. MPG reviews evaluation research on youth programs across delinquency prevention, juvenile justice, and victimization topic areas. It uses the research findings to provide information on what works, what doesn’t, and what’s promising for practitioners and communities nationwide. Topics include child protection, children exposed to violence, delinquency prevention, juvenile and family courts, and law enforcement.

“I believe that evidence-based programming is essential to an effective juvenile justice system—and to keeping youth on the path to productive, crime-free lives,” writes OJJDP Acting Administrator Eileen M. Garry in a blog post recognizing the milestone. “Our job at OJJDP is to make sure our state, local, and tribal partners have this information available and ready to use.”

MPG’s 300th program provides gender-responsive interventions in two group homes for adjudicated females. The program evaluation shows that the girls who received services had lower recidivism rates after 2 years compared with the group who did not receive services. The program received a “promising” rating.

In addition to the evidence-based ratings, MPG also provides policymakers and practitioners with regularly updated literature reviews on a variety of juvenile justice topics and programs, and comprehensive Implementation Guides (I-Guides) to help them better understand the challenges and steps involved in successfully implementing programs. Two I-Guides are currently available, one on preventing bullying in schools and one on diversion programs.

OJJDP Convenes Brown Bag Session on Combating the Technology-Facilitated Sexual Exploitation of Minors

(L-R) OJJDP Social Science Analyst, Barbara Tatem Kelley; Senior Advisor to the OJJDP Administrator, Catherine Pierce; Prosecutor Val Richey; and OJJDP Training and Technical Assistance Specialist, Linda Rosen.(L-R) OJJDP Social Science Analyst, Barbara Tatem Kelley; Senior Advisor to the OJJDP Administrator, Catherine Pierce; Prosecutor Val Richey; and OJJDP Training and Technical Assistance Specialist, Linda Rosen.
On October 19, invited speaker and King County (Washington) Prosecutor Val Richey provided an overview of how the King County Prosecutor’s Office is working to combat sex trafficking and the exploitation of minors in the Seattle area. Mr. Richey presented to Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and OJJDP staff members as part of OJJDP’s monthly “Lunch and Learn” series.

Approximately 30 OJP and OJJDP personnel attended the session to learn about King County’s innovative techniques, which include using the same medium that many predators use—the Internet. King County has partnered with Microsoft to design chat bots that engage would-be predators looking to exploit youth through online chats. When a potential predator clicks on an online “ad” for a minor, they instead receive a message that warns them about the legal ramifications of their actions and provides them information about where to seek help.

Mr. Richey reported that this tactic has proven to be an effective component of a larger, multifaceted approach as would-be predators are deterred by the possibility of unwittingly contacting law enforcement.

The attendees discussed how Washington’s methods can be adapted by other jurisdictions to address their local needs and implications for future research.

Learn more about how OJJDP is combating the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Nominations for 2018 National Missing Children’s Day Awards Due January 24

National Missing Children's Day 2018 logo 2018 National Missing Children's Day logo. Artwork based on a design by Audrey L., Resurrection Catholic School, Lakeland, FL, 2017 Poster Contest Winner.

Each year, the Justice Department recognizes individuals, organizations, and law enforcement agencies that make a difference in recovering abducted children and protecting children from exploitation. The awardees are recognized at the OJJDP-coordinated National Missing Children’s Day ceremony in May. Nominations for the 2018 awards are underway. Access the nomination forms online:

The deadline for nominations is January 24, 2018.

OJJDP Releases New Data Snapshot on Youth Homicide Victims

The latest publication in OJJDP's Data Snapshot series focuses on trends and characteristics of youth homicide victims based on data collected by the FBI's Supplementary Homicide Reports. The data show that across age groups, the number of youth homicide victims has declined 30 percent or more since 1993. In 2015, most youth homicide victims were children ages 0–5 or older teens (ages 15–17). Two-thirds of victims younger than age 6 were killed by a family member.

Enhancing Police Responses to Children Exposed to Violence: A Toolkit for Law Enforcement thumbnailThe Data Snapshot series is available via OJJDP's Statistical Briefing Book. The series disseminates current research and statistical information about youth and the juvenile justice system. Each 1-page snapshotfocuses on a specific topic and highlights policy-relevant findings.

Access the full list of Data Snapshots and keep up with the Statistical BriefingBook on Twitter.

Enhancing Police Responses to Children Exposed to Violence Toolkit Wins International Design Award

The OJJDP-funded Enhancing Police Responses to Children Exposed to Violence: A Toolkit for Law Enforcement recently received an International MarCom Gold Award for Design. The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Yale Child Study Center launched the toolkit with support from OJJDP to help law enforcement agencies build or enhance effective responses to this vulnerable population.

The MarCom Awards recognize outstanding achievement by marketing and communication professionals from around the world.

New Resources Available for Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts

OJJDP-supported Tribal Juvenile Healing to Wellness Courts respond to the substance-related issues of tribal youth who are younger than 21. The courts promote accountability, healing, and tribal ways of life while also supporting rehabilitation and providing treatment referrals.

OJJDP tribal youth programs and services logoOJJDP’s Tribal Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center has released, Tribal Juvenile Healing to Wellness Court Tip Sheet: Consequences and Rewards. The fact sheet provides guidance on how a court can create an incentives-and-sanctions system that supports youth behavior change. A second publication, The Tribal Ten Key Components and Tribal Youth Considerations, highlights 10 critical elements for developing drug courts, as identified by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, adapted for Tribal Juvenile Healing to Wellness Courts.

Additional information on OJJDP’s tribal youth programs and services is available online.

Report Examines School Discipline of Youth With Behavioral Health Needs

According to Disrupting School-Justice Pathways for Youth With Behavioral Health Needs, the rise of zero-tolerance school discipline policies in the 1990s resulted in the widespread adoption of strict and mandatory responses for a wide range of behaviors at school. Consequently, youth with behavioral health needs and students with disabilities were disproportionately affected and put at an increased risk for exclusionary discipline and school-based arrests.

This recently released OJJDP-funded technical assistance bulletin published by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, provides communities and states with the steps necessary to implement a School Responder Model. This model encompasses a multidisciplinary approach to responding to youth with behavioral health needs; it has been shown to effectively keep youth in school and out of the juvenile justice system.

Read and download Disrupting School-Justice Pathways for Youth With Behavioral Health Needs.

January Is National Mentoring Month

National Mentoring Resource Center logoJanuary is National Mentoring Month. The nationwide campaign emphasizes recruiting mentors and focusing national attention on the importance of working together to ensure positive outcomes for youth.

OJJDP’s National Mentoring Resource Center, a partnership with MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership,
offers a variety of research-based resources, including mentoring model/population reviews and a Measurement Guidance toolkit to help programs measure outcomes more effectively. The website also hosts a monthly, no-cost Collaborative Mentoring webinar series. Previous topics include reentry mentoring, mentoring’s restorative power for sexually exploited youth, mentoring immigrant youth, and mentoring in the age of technology. Visit the resource center online.

OJJDP is also a cosponsor of MENTOR’s eighth annual National Mentoring Summit. The summit will take place on January 24–26, 2018, in Washington, DC.

Visit the OJJDP website for additional mentoring resources.