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OJJDP Participates in National Mentoring Summit

Alan R. Hanson, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs
Alan R. Hanson, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs, addressed National Mentoring Summit attendees on January 25, 2018. “A committed mentor provides confidence, direction, and a roadmap for achievement and success,” he said. ”A mentor is a coach, a friend, and an inspiration.”
On January 24–26, 2018, nearly 1,000 youth mentoring practitioners, researchers, advocates, philanthropic partners, government and civic leaders, and representatives of national and local youth-serving organizations gathered in Washington, DC, for the National Mentoring Summit.

Hosted by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership and supported by OJJDP, the event is held every January as part of National Mentoring Month, an annual campaign to promote youth mentoring in the United States.

Alan R. Hanson, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs, discussed the impact that skilled, committed mentors can have on young lives. “We know that adversity early in life often can lead to a host of issues: social problems, academic failure, delinquency and criminal offending, and—perhaps worst of all—a feeling of hopelessness,” he said. “That’s why the job of a mentor is so important. A good mentor is a bridge between a life of struggle and disappointment and a future brimming with opportunity. You should all be proud to be that bridge.”

Mr. Hanson also introduced OJJDP’s new Administrator, Caren Harp, to the attendees and recognized MENTOR for its continued partnership with OJJDP.

OJJDP has long supported mentoring programs, awarding more than $834 million in grants to mentoring organizations from fiscal year (FY) 2008 to FY 2017. The Office’s FY 2017 Mentoring Opportunities for Youth initiative is funding mentoring services for at-risk and high-risk youth in national and multistate mentoring programs, while its Mentoring Research Partners program is supporting research that studies the implementation and impact of the mentoring services OJJDP supports.

The Office’s Mentoring for Child Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Domestic Sex Trafficking initiative helps project sites enhance their mentoring capacity, facilitate outreach to child victims or youth at risk, and increase the availability of direct services to these youth. In addition, OJJDP’s Second Chance Act grants fund programs that include mentoring as a component of reentry. These programs are working to strengthen the relationships between young parents and their children as the parents transition from correctional facilities back to their communities.

The summit featured workshops in six areas of focus: research, advocacy, philanthropic partnerships, effective mentor-mentee matches, nonprofit management, and culturally specific practices. The workshops highlighted exemplary program models, collaborations, and innovations that have positive implications for strengthening the mentoring field.

In the workshops "The Research-Informed Practices of the Mentoring Enhancement Demonstration Program" and “Did the Mentoring Enhancement Demonstration Program Work? Outcome Findings From the Evaluation,” Jennifer Tyson, OJJDP Research Coordinator, joined presenters from American Institutes for Research to discuss how research informed the development of the OJJDP-funded demonstration program and preliminary findings from an impact evaluation. As part of the demonstration program, OJJDP worked with 32 mentoring programs that emphasize advocacy and teaching roles for mentors. In these roles, mentors offer guidance to youth, facilitate youth’s relationships with peers and supportive adults, and connect mentees with appropriate activities and resources.

OJJDP Social Science Analyst Barbara Tatem Kelley co-led the workshop “Partnering With Researchers To Build Evidence for Practice: Is It a Fit for Your Program?” Presenters provided insights gained from OJJDP’s Practitioner-Researcher Partnership Mentoring Children of Incarcerated Parents Demonstration Program to help participants understand the value of large-scale research projects to their programs.

The summit featured more than 100 workshops on a range of topics, including mentoring as a facet of police-community relations, school-based mentoring, mentoring youth in foster care, and cognitive behavioral mentoring.

Resources:

For more information about OJJDP’s mentoring programs, visit the OJJDP website.

OJJDP’s National Mentoring Resource Center offers a variety of research-based resources, including mentoring model/population reviews, information about promising and effective mentoring programs, and a Measurement Guidance Toolkit to help programs measure outcomes more effectively.


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OJJDP Welcomes Administrator Caren Harp
OJJDP Administrator Caren Harp
OJJDP Administrator Caren Harp

On January 19, 2018, Caren Harp was sworn in as Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Ms. Harp is a former director of the National Juvenile Justice Prosecution Center at the American Prosecutors Research Institute. She also served as Chief of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in the Family Court Division of the New York City Law Department. Ms. Harp was a member of the American Bar Association's Juvenile Justice Standards Task Force and the National Steering Committee of the Office for Victims of Crime-sponsored Vision 21 Project of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

During her 23-year career as a trial lawyer, Ms. Harp spent 20 years on the prosecution side of the court system, either prosecuting cases or training prosecutors, and 3 years as a public defender. As a deputy prosecutor, Ms. Harp tried a wide range of cases in criminal and juvenile court, including sexual assault, domestic violence, and capital murder. As a trial attorney for the Arkansas Public Defender Commission, she represented indigent defendants charged with major felonies, including capital murder, and managed attorney caseloads and court coverage in six counties.

Prior to being appointed Administrator, Ms. Harp served for 5 years as an associate professor of law at the Liberty University School of Law where she taught courses on children and the law, evidence, professional responsibility, and trial advocacy.

She received her bachelor of science and master's degrees from the University of Arkansas and her juris doctor degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law. Ms. Harp is admitted to practice in Arkansas and New York.

Read Administrator Harp’s message to OJJDP News @ a Glance readers. 


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How OJJDP Is Combating the Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Children

Photo of a girlEvery January, communities across the country observe National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month with programs and activities aimed at preventing and ending all forms of human trafficking. OJJDP’s efforts to address the commercial sexual exploitation of children include research and programs, training and technical assistance, and resources and publications.

The Office’s Mentoring Child Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking initiative provides funding to organizations that are developing or enhancing their mentoring capacity, facilitating outreach efforts, and increasing the availability of direct services for this vulnerable population. With support from OJJDP’s National Mentoring Resource Center, the grantees use evidence-based mentoring practices and provide supportive services to respond to the needs of victims and at-risk youth.

To further ensure that trafficked children receive the critical services necessary to help them achieve long-term holistic recovery, OJJDP is developing trauma-informed, victim-centered resources. Just this month, OJJDP released Shining Light on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: A Toolkit To Build Understanding in partnership with the Wichita State University Center for Combating Human Trafficking and MANY. The toolkit provides information on a variety of topics related to human trafficking, with a focus on mentoring for victims of commercial sexual exploitation. In one easy-to-access location, users can find information about emerging research and best practices; implications for practice at the individual, program, and community levels; and additional materials for further study.

OJJDP also facilitates training and technical assistance (TTA) on issues related to missing and exploited children. The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, with OJJDP funding, developed the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Child Sex Trafficking to help judicial officers better understand the dynamics of domestic child sex trafficking, the applicable laws and legal considerations involving trafficking victims, how to identify trafficked and at-risk children, and how to connect these youth to appropriate services.

Through its Missing and Exploited Children Training and Technical Assistance program, the Office trains multidisciplinary teams of prosecutors, state and local law enforcement, child protection personnel, medical providers, and other child-serving professionals on effective responses to missing and exploited children’s issues, including the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

OJJDP’s National AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance program aims to improve law enforcement agencies’ responses to missing, endangered, and abducted children, including those who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. The program provides individualized TTA for American Indian and Alaska Native communities. TTA360, the Office’s training and technical assistance portal, offers webinars and resources on a variety of topics, including combating child exploitation and trafficking.

The commercial sexual exploitation of children is a serious problem in the United States, and it is facilitated by ready access to the Internet. Through a national network of 61 coordinated task forces, OJJDP’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force program helps state and local law enforcement agencies develop an effective response to technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation and Internet crimes against children. These efforts encompass forensic and investigative components, training and technical assistance, prevention, and community education. Through the ICAC program, OJJDP supported more than 2,000 regional law enforcement trainings on child exploitation in fiscal year 2017.

OJJDP also supports the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), which serves as an information clearinghouse and resource for those who are searching for missing children and working to address child victimization and sexual exploitation. The center operates a 24-hour toll-free Missing Children’s Hotline and a CyberTipline. During 2017, NCMEC helped resolve cases involving 26,041 children who were reported to be missing.

More information about these and other OJJDP initiatives to address the commercial sexual exploitation of children is available on the Office’s website.

Resources:

OJJDP’s online Model Programs Guide provides information about evidence-based programs to help children exposed to violence and victimization. The guide also includes reviews of research literature on the commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of children.

Access a comprehensive list of services for trafficking survivors on the OJJDP website.

Read Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States. This OJJDP-sponsored report from the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council examines the extent and nature of the problem and strategies to address it.

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Administrator Harp and OJJDP Staff To Participate in National Conference on Juvenile Justice

On March 21, 2018, OJJDP Administrator Caren Harp will discuss the importance and status of OJJDP’s authorizing legislation, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act during a session at the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges’ (NCJFCJ’s) National Conference on Juvenile Justice. NCJFCJ is a national organization that helps family and juvenile justice system professionals, including judges, probation officers, detention staff, service providers, supervisors, and other system stakeholders improve the lives of families and children who are seeking justice. This year’s conference will take place in San Diego, CA, on March 18–21, 2018.

During the session “The Judiciary Role in Promoting Police and Youth Engagement” on March 19, OJJDP Senior Policy Advisor Scott Pestridge will discuss the pivotal roles judges can play in convening stakeholders to address school pathways to the juvenile justice system. Mr. Pestridge will highlight agency-funded resources, including the OJJDP-International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Institute for Police-Youth Engagement and NCJFCJ’s School Pathways to the Juvenile Justice System project. OJJDP and IACP launched the institute to improve youth and law enforcement interactions and promote collaboration between the two groups. The Pathways project is establishing judicially led court-school partnerships to help reduce referrals to the juvenile justice system for school-based behaviors.

In “Child Sex Trafficking Indicators and Responses for Judicial Officials,” also on March 19, OJJDP Senior Policy Advisor Cynthia Pappas will highlight the agency’s work to help judicial officials better identify and respond to child victims of commercial sexual exploitation. The presentation will address judges’ responses to child victims in court, and how to provide comprehensive services to help these children heal and stay out of the juvenile justice system.

On March 20, Barbara Tatem Kelley, OJJDP Social Science Analyst, will lead the session “How Common Is Crossover and What Can We Do About It? Estimating Incidence Rates and Implementing Best Practices for Dual System Youth.” Ms. Kelley will summarize findings from the Design Study of Dual System Youth, which OJJDP launched to develop a sound research design for obtaining national estimates of youth involved in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. The project also aims to identify effective strategies to improve coordination between the two systems.

Also on March 20, Jennifer Tyson, OJJDP Research Coordinator, will lead the session “Bridging Research and Practice in Juvenile Justice: A Developmental Approach to Youth Probation.” Presenters will discuss OJJDP’s Bridging Research and Practice To Advance Juvenile Justice and Safety project to shed light on how the latest research on adolescent development and effective interventions for at-risk and system-involved youth can be applied to common youth probation practices. Attendees will discuss the research-to-practice aspect of this project.

Resources:

A complete list of conference presentations is available on the NCJFCJ website.

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Stakeholder Corner: Ceasefire Detroit Contributes to Dramatic Drop in Violent Crime

By Sheryl Jones, Director, Detroit Youth Violence Prevention Initiative

Cease Fire logoWe should all feel safe and secure in our communities—on our streets, in our schools, at work, and in our homes. Yet, too many Americans are threatened by violence every day. Gun-related violence, in particular, represents a major threat to public safety in our cities and Detroit, MI, is working to address this challenge.

In many areas in the city, violence was commonplace and seemed impossible to stave off until the city established the Detroit Youth Violence Prevention Initiative in 2012. The Department of Justice has supported our crime-reduction efforts with OJJDP-administered technical assistance and youth violence prevention grants.

Ceasefire Detroit is a major and promising component of the Detroit Youth Violence Prevention Initiative. The program’s goals are to reduce gun violence committed by and against youth, intervene with high-risk individuals and collaborate with community groups to improve their quality of life, and promote resiliency, emotional healing, and healthy responses to trauma and conflict. We based Ceasefire Detroit on the Boston Gun Project—an intervention strategy to reduce gang, group, and street crew gun violence among youth ages 16–24 that has grown into a national model.

Ceasefire Detroit currently operates in seven police precincts with the highest levels of violence, and is showing promising results. The program was implemented in its current form in Detroit’s 5th and 9th precincts in June 2015. That year, those precincts reported the largest reductions in shootings across the city. In June 2016, the program was expanded to the 6th, 8th, and 12th precincts. In 2017, the 6th precinct showed a 36-percent drop in homicides while the 8th and 12th precincts reported a 37-percent drop and a 3-percent drop, respectively. In January 2018, we expanded Ceasefire Detroit to two additional precincts and plan to have the program in all precincts by the end of the year.

left quoteIf you look at how other major cities have been able to deliver sustained reductions in violent crime, it has been a process of identifying the right strategies and building on them year by year. It also involves having the right partners and we have been fortunate to have great partners at the local, state, and federal levels working on this.right quote

—James Craig, Detroit Police Chief

Our success can be attributed to coordinated enforcement, prevention, intervention, and reentry efforts among the program partners—federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies; social service providers; and community members.

An important facet of the program involves “call-in” meetings during which members of the Detroit Police Department as well as representatives from the mayor’s, prosecutor’s, and United States Attorney’s offices meet in person with known gang members. The officials work to secure commitments from the gang members to resolve conflicts peacefully and advise them of the legal consequences of breaking that commitment. Through our community partnerships, we offer support in the form of housing, transportation, and job training and placement if the gang members choose to leave gang activity.

This holistic approach to violence reduction—adding large doses of compassion and support services to the strategy—results in a win for Detroit’s troubled communities. Ending the tragedy of gun violence will require a sustained effort at all levels. Together, however, we will make a difference, and bring greater security and peace to Detroit.

Resources:

Read about OJJDP’s youth prevention initiatives and download a literature review on gang prevention from OJJDP's Model Programs Guide.

Learn about OJJDP’s Comprehensive Gang Model by visiting the National Gang Center.



Sheryl Jones is the director of the Detroit Youth Violence Prevention Initiative and a professional educator. Over the course of 30 years, she has developed and implemented numerous school, district, and citywide initiatives and worked on state and national projects. Sheryl’s passion is to help improve the quality of life for all Detroiters.

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Research Central: Improving Outcomes in Youth Mentoring

OJJDP funds research studies to enhance knowledge about mentoring as a prevention strategy for youth who are at risk of involvement or who are already involved in the juvenile justice system. OJJDP expects that the results of these efforts will encourage more effective use of resources and enhance the quality of mentoring practices for youth.

Research in Brief, Mentee Risk Status and Mentoring Program Practices as Predictors of Match Outcomes

One such study, conducted by innovation Research & Training, examined whether and how a youth’s risk level can predict the length of a mentoring relationship. The researchers also examined whether and how a program’s practices can predict the length of the relationship. These are important lines of inquiry because research has shown that long-lasting mentoring relationships are associated with more positive outcomes for youth compared to those that end prematurely, which are associated with negative outcomes.1

The researchers analyzed two large administrative datasets about mentors and mentees—MentorPRO used by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, and the Agency Information Management system used by Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of America. They also surveyed representatives from 45 BBBS affiliate agencies.

The researchers found that mentees who exhibited high-risk factors were statistically more likely than mentees with low-risk factors to be in mentoring relationships that ended prematurely, thus increasing the likelihood of harmful outcomes from the relationship for this already high-risk population. Risk factors for mentees include entering the mentoring relationship in adolescence, exhibiting a greater number of antisocial and risky health behaviors, and experiencing many stressful life experiences.

However, the researchers also found that programs that adhered to a greater number of practices from MENTOR’s Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring could improve the chances of longer lasting matches. The Elements provide research-informed standards for creating and sustaining quality youth mentoring programs and meaningful mentoring relationships.

The findings from this research study suggest that high-risk youth pose a challenge for mentoring programs—these youth stand to benefit the most from a mentoring relationship but also are at unique risk for prematurely exiting the program and experiencing negative outcomes. However, the research also suggests that this challenge may be best mitigated when programs follow practices that have been shown by research to promote stronger, healthier mentoring relationships.

Resources: 

For more information about this study and its findings, read the OJJDP-funded Research in Brief, Mentee Risk Status and Mentoring Program Practices as Predictors of Match Outcomes.



1 Grossman, J.B., and Rhodes, J.E. 2002. “The Test of Time: Predictors and Effects of Duration in Youth Mentoring Relationships.” American Journal of Community Psychology 30(2):199–219.

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Upcoming Events

Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health: March 4–7, 2018

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network will host this conference in Tampa, FL. Topics include a vision for moving health care in the United States toward a prevention-based society, race disparities and equity in health outcomes, emotional support in the lives of marginalized young people, and addressing the impact of a changing health care environment through behavioral health research and policy. Registration information is available online.

National Conference on Bullying: March 7–9, 2018

Hosted by the School Safety Advocacy Council in Reno, NV, this conference focuses on protecting children using proven best practices and innovative localized programs and efforts. In addition to the keynote presenters, attendees will have access to more than 30 breakout sessions that address victimization and bullying of youth today. Registration information is available online.

The Guide to Mentoring Boys and Young Men of Color: March 12, 2018

The Governors Prevention Partnership is sponsoring this webinar. It will involve a discussion on how to help move mentors beyond cultural competence and toward an integration of critical consciousness for both the mentor and the young black males who they mentor. Participants will learn strategies for mentoring boys and young men of color and how these strategies can be implemented in mentoring programs, and how to identify advanced mentor recruitment techniques. Registration information is available online.

Child Homicide Investigations: March 13–14, 2018

The OJJDP-supported National Criminal Justice Training Center will host this training in Miami, FL. The event focuses on understanding and building relationships between the forensic pathologist, homicide investigator, and prosecutor to successfully investigate and prosecute child homicide cases. Participants will learn autopsy protocols, forensic essentials, and the criticality of determining the cause and manner of death. This event will also take place on May 14–15, 2018, in Boise, ID. Registration information is available online.

National Conference on Juvenile Justice: March 18–21, 2018

This conference, to be held in San Diego, CA, is sponsored by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Topics include alternatives to detention, trauma-informed justice, cross-over youth, deep-end youth, teen dating violence, ending solitary confinement, domestic sex trafficking of minors, anti-shackling alternatives, racial and ethnic disparity, school pathways to the justice system, brain science, and unaccompanied minors in immigration. Registration information is available online.

Interrogation Techniques for Child Sex Trafficking and Exploitation Investigations: March 19–21, 2018

The National Criminal Justice Training Center will host this event in Phoenix, AZ. During this training, participants will discuss an organized approach to interview and interrogation strategies that are developed through research and preparation. Modules will identify the role that cultural issues bring to the interview and interrogation room, legal considerations that the investigator must account for during the interview and interrogation, the dynamics of the interview process, and how to detect deception. Registration information is available online.

34th International Symposium on Child Abuse: March 19–22, 2018

National Children’s Advocacy Center logoThe National Children’s Advocacy Center is sponsoring this symposium in Huntsville, AL. This event provides expert training and networking opportunities to professionals in the child maltreatment field and addresses many aspects of child maltreatment, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, exposure to violence, polyvictimization, exploitation, intervention, trafficking, and prevention. Registration information is available online.

Advanced Cold Case Long-Term Missing Investigations: March 27–28, 2018

The National Criminal Justice Training Center is hosting this training in Pasco, WA. This 2-day course is designed to improve investigative techniques and efforts on long-term missing and cold case investigations. Topics include what is known about long-term missing and cold case investigations, dynamics of conducting investigations, investigative techniques, best practices, and case studies. Registration information is available online.

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36th Annual Protecting Our Children National American Indian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect: April 15–18, 2018

This conference, hosted by the National Indian Child Welfare Association, will be held in Anchorage, AK. The conference goals include highlighting successful strategies for developing effective services, revealing the latest child welfare and children’s mental health service delivery practices, discussing tactics and strategies for financing and sustaining services that impact children, and showcasing strategies on how to involve youth and families in developing services and policies that lead to systems change. Registration information is available online.

Multidisciplinary Team Response to Child Sex Trafficking: April 23–26, 2018

This team-based training, sponsored by the OJJDP-supported National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, will help existing multidisciplinary teams improve their response to child sex trafficking and help those seeking to establish a formal team in their communities effectively respond to these types of cases. Subject-matter experts will work with teams to identify gaps and develop short- and long-term response plans. The event will take place in Hampton, VA. Registration information is available online.

18th Annual International Family Justice Conference: April 24–26, 2018

Alliance for HOPE International will host this conference in Fort Worth, TX. The conference is designed for professionals who work in the fields of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, elder abuse, and human trafficking. Workshop tracks will include trauma-informed advocacy, improving law enforcement responses, best practices for civil and criminal justice professionals, and Camp HOPE America: Breaking the Cycle. Registration information is available online.

Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development Conference: April 30–May 2, 2018

Blueprint logoThis conference is sponsored by OJJDP, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Presenters will disseminate science-based information on programs that have the highest standards for promoting education, behavior, emotional well-being, physical health, and positive relationships. The event will be held in Denver, CO. Registration information is available online.

Designing and Building a Successful Mentoring Program: May 10, 2018

The Governor’s Prevention Partnership is sponsoring this training in Wethersfield, CT. Participants will learn how to design a responsive and performance-based youth mentoring program, identify a mentoring program model most suitable for their organization, and apply resource materials for mentor program development and volunteer management. Registration information is available online.

Working With Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Adolescents in a Clinical Context (Part 1): May 10, 2018

Part 1 of this webinar series focuses on gender identity development. The webinar will focus on why it is important to consider an individual’s stage in their development in relationship to issues of gender nonconformity or gender dysphoria. The event is sponsored by OJJDP and the Midwest Regional Children’s Advocacy Center. Registration information is available online.

Working With Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Adolescents in a Clinical Context (Part 2): May 24, 2018

Part 2 of this webinar series focuses on clinical applications of working with adolescents who are transgender or gender nonconforming. The event is sponsored by OJJDP and the Midwest Regional Children’s Advocacy Center. Registration information is available online.

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News in Brief

AMBER Alert: 22 Years of Progress in Recovering Abducted Children

AMBER Alert logoOn January 13, 1996, 9-year-old Amber Hagerman was abducted while riding her bicycle in Arlington, TX. She was later found murdered. The AMBER Alert program (an acronym for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response and named in honor of Miss Hagerman) began that year when broadcasters in Dallas-Fort Worth, TX, teamed up with local police to develop an early warning system to help find abducted children. Subsequently, every January 13 is commemorated as National AMBER Alert Awareness Day.

Today, the system is being used in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Indian country, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 22 other countries. In addition to radio and TV alerts, messages are delivered via Department of Transportation signs, cell phone notifications, digital billboards, Internet service providers, text messages, and web and social media posts.

OJJDP engages numerous partners across the nonprofit, corporate, and technology sectors to bolster the AMBER Alert program. Partners include the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, federal law enforcement agencies, wireless carriers, Internet service providers, social media outlets, and the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. In addition, collaboration with apps, such as Waze and Uber, and other communications entities, such as Google and Bing are strengthening the AMBER Alert system and enhancing our nation’s capacity to locate and recover abducted children. As of January 8, 2018, a total of 910 children had been successfully recovered through the AMBER Alert system.

The Department of Justice also provides a wide range of training and technical assistance online to enhance the AMBER Alert program.

Deputy Administrator Garry Addresses State Advisory Group in Florida

On January 25, 2018, OJJDP Deputy Administrator Eileen M. Garry participated in Florida’s state advisory group (SAG) meeting as part of OJJDP’s continuing commitment to improving relationships with the states. There are 56 SAGs nationwide that are responsible for monitoring and supporting their respective state’s or territory’s progress in complying with the core protections of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.

Deputy Administrator Garry acknowledged the SAG’s hard work and successes, thanked SAG members for their dedication to improving the juvenile justice system and the lives of children, and recognized a number of the SAG’s innovative programs.

One such program is the Civil Citation initiative, which diverts first-time misdemeanor offenders to community service as an alternative to arrest. This program has helped the state save millions of dollars on formal delinquency processing and has facilitated partnerships between community stakeholders.

Also notable, Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice started using a screening tool to identify child trafficking victims and is conducting statewide trainings to teach professionals and citizens how to recognize and address victimization.

Ms. Garry also praised the state’s efforts to address disproportionate minority contact and promote fairness in Florida’s juvenile justice system, as well as efforts to provide law enforcement training programs that teach de-escalation techniques and cultural competencies with the goal of enhancing officer-youth relationships.

New Tool Streamlines Federal Grant Application Process 

Applying for OJJDP Funding Using Grants.gov's WorkspaceThrough formula and discretionary grants, OJJDP provides funding to states, territories, localities, tribal communities, and private organizations to (1) develop and implement prevention and intervention programs and (2) improve the juvenile justice system so that it protects public safety, holds justice-involved youth appropriately accountable, and provides tailored treatment and rehabilitative services.

All competitive discretionary applications are submitted in Grants.gov. To improve the grant funding application experience, Grants.gov has replaced its PDF application process with Grants.gov Workspace—a fast, easy, and secure alternative to apply for federal grants. Workspace is a shared, online environment that allows team members to simultaneously access and edit different forms within an application. Forms can be completed online or downloaded individually and uploaded to Workspace. Learn more about the new grant application process.

OJJDP will soon post fiscal year 2018 funding opportunities as outlined in the Department of Justice program plan. Prospective applicants are encouraged to review the Before You Apply and Applying for Federal Grants infographics for tips on how to apply for grants and develop effective applications.

Stay connected with OJJDP to receive notices of new funding opportunities as they become available.

Deputy Administrator Jones Addresses Family Drug Court Grantee Meeting

On January 31, 2018, OJJDP Deputy Administrator Chyrl Jones addressed the Office’s Family Drug Court Statewide System Improvement program grantees at their annual meeting.

Four teams from Colorado, Iowa, New York, and Ohio convened in Washington, DC, for 2 days to share successes and challenges regarding the work done over the past 3 years to improve family drug courts in their states. The goal of the program is to enhance cross-systems collaboration by infusing effective family drug court practices into the larger child welfare, substance use disorder, and dependency court systems. The program also increases the scale and scope of family drug courts across the states.

Deputy Administrator Jones highlighted a few of the grantees’ accomplishments and praised their efforts to create a new tailored approach for working with families by building on best practices in the field and instituting evidence-based services to make a large-scale impact.

Additionally, Ms. Jones lauded the teams for their successes with:

Ms. Jones thanked the leadership and staff at Children and Family Futures (CFF) for directing and guiding the project through training and technical assistance. After breakout sessions and presentations, staff from OJJDP, CFF, and the four state teams came together to share lessons learned and exchange ideas for future improvements to the family drug court systems.

Justice Department Solicits Public Comment on Tribal Set-Aside Funding

The U.S. Department of Justice's  (DOJ’s) Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS) initiative enables federally recognized tribes and tribal consortia to submit a single application for most of DOJ’s tribal grant programs. As of fiscal year (FY) 2017, the Department has awarded approximately 1,866 CTAS grants totaling more than $827 million to American Indian and Alaska Native communities. The tribes are using these funds to enhance law enforcement, bolster justice systems, prevent and control delinquency, strengthen the juvenile justice system, serve victims, and support other efforts to combat crime.

The President’s budget for FY 2018 requests $518 million for public safety initiatives in Indian country. An additional $91 million may become available to tribes as part of a 7-percent flexible tribal grant set-aside, as authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (Public Law 115-31). To receive tribes’ comments on how best to use those funds and discuss the potential policy changes that may accompany the funding, DOJ hosted a set-aside consultation on the final day of the National Congress of American Indians’ (NCAI) Executive Council Winter Session in Washington, DC.

The February 15 consultation is part of a larger effort to elicit input from tribal communities. On October 13, 2017, DOJ sent a letter to tribal leaders informing them of the Department’s intention to conduct the consultation and host a series of listening sessions, conference calls, and webinars on the set-aside funding. The first listening session took place on October 18, in association with NCAI’s annual meeting in Milwaukee, WI. The second listening session was held in association with a CTAS orientation at the American Indian Justice conference on December 6, in Palm Springs, CA. Schedules for the webinars and conference calls are forthcoming.

To provide written comments on the tribal grant set-aside, email DOJtribalfunding@usdoj.gov. Visit DOJ’s website to learn about its tribal funding history.

Deputy Administrator Garry Discusses OJJDP Resources at Navajo Public Safety Summit

On February 1, 2018, OJJDP Deputy Administrator Eileen M. Garry joined officials, community leaders, and other stakeholders at the 2018 Navajo Nation Public Safety Summit in Flagstaff, AZ. “The Department of Justice has a long and sustained partnership with American Indian and Alaska Native governments and wants to improve justice and public safety in tribal communities,” Ms. Garry said. “We want you to know that we are vested in your success.”

Ms. Garry informed attendees about funding available through the Department of Justice’s Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS). CTAS combines most of the Department’s tribal government-specific grant programs under one solicitation, allowing federally recognized tribes and tribal consortia to submit one application for funds to address crime and enhance public safety. Ms. Garry noted that the CTAS process was refined, clarified, and streamlined by tribal leaders’ feedback that is helping the Department to more comprehensively address each tribe’s needs.

Ms. Garry also shared information about program-specific training and technical assistance and an online CTAS application preparation guide that OJJDP provides to support tribes’ efforts to strengthen their public safety systems.

Summit sessions focused on coordinating resources more efficiently to eliminate delays in service, maximizing resources to meet significant community needs, and working collaboratively to prevent people from entering the criminal and juvenile justice systems.

OJJDP Convenes Brown Bag Session on Innovative Approach to Mentoring

On January 24, 2018, invited speaker Jean E. Rhodes, the Frank L. Boyden Professor of Psychology and the Research Director for the Center of Evidence-based Mentoring at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, presented to OJJDP staff on her mentoring research as part of the Office’s “Lunch and Learn” series.

Attendees learned about the potential benefits of the youth-initiated mentoring approach, which encourages youth to identify and recruit a mentor from within their existing social networks. Dr. Rhodes explained that encouraging youth and instructing them on how to select their own mentors gives youth a sense of autonomy, making them more invested in the mentoring relationship.

Dr. Rhodes suggested that programs that teach young people to recruit mentors may be particularly effective for vulnerable and marginalized youth. Adults selected by youth are often not actively seeking to mentor, but are prompted to participate because of their connection with the particular young person. In addition, the familiarity or existing relationship between the mentor and mentee eliminates the need to get acquainted and assumes an existing level of trust. Because the selected mentor is usually from the youth’s community, he or she is more accessible and able to interact more frequently with the mentee.

Dr. Rhodes suggested that young people who participate in these types of mentoring matches may maintain longer relationships that positively impact educational, employment, and behavioral outcomes.

OJJDP’s National Mentoring Resource Center provides more information about youth-initiated mentoring. Read the article “Improving Outcomes in Youth Mentoring” in this issue to learn about additional mentoring research that the Office is funding. Additional information on OJJDP’s youth mentoring programs is available on the Office’s website.

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New Publications

All OJJDP publications may be viewed and downloaded on the publications section of the OJJDP website. Print publications may be ordered online at the National Criminal Justice Reference Service website.

Juvenile Residential Facility  Census, 2014: Selected Findings Prediction and Prevention of Premature Closures of Mentoring Relationships: The Study To Analyze Relationships (STAR Project)
NCJ 251484

OJJDP has released a Research in Brief on predicting and preventing premature closures of mentoring relationships. The brief summarizes findings and policy implications from the Study To Analyze Relationships project.

The OJJDP-funded study examined how multiple program participants (mentor, mentee, parent/guardian, and program staff) individually and collectively contribute to the development and duration of a new mentoring relationship. The researchers found that mismatched expectations among the parties are linked to early match closures, which are more likely to result in negative outcomes for youth. About 30 percent of the new matches in the study ended before reaching the 12-month commitment period specified in the program model; 67 percent closed during the extended study period. The majority of the closures (64 percent) were attributed to mentors, most often because they moved residences or experienced time constraints.

Findings from this study, along with other research findings, have contributed to the design of several National Mentoring Resource Center tools. The tools include a resource for aligning participant expectations, a staffing calculator for match support, a framework and questionnaire to help program staff assess the health of a mentoring relationship, and tools to properly close the match relationship.

Read and download Prediction and Prevention of Premature Closures of Mentoring Relationships: The Study To Analyze Relationships (STAR Project). Read the article “Improving Outcomes in Youth Mentoring” in this issue to learn about additional mentoring research that the Office is funding.

Coming Soon—

Delinquency Cases in Juvenile Court, 2014 (Fact Sheet)
National Report Series

This fact sheet presents statistics on delinquency cases handled in U.S. juvenile courts between 2005 and 2014. In 2014, juvenile courts in the United States handled nearly 975,000 delinquency cases that involved juveniles charged with criminal law violations. The delinquency caseload fell to fewer than 1 million cases for the first time since the mid-1970s. From 2005 through 2014, the number of delinquency cases declined 42 percent across all four offense categories: property offenses (down 46 percent), public order offenses (down 44 percent), person offenses (down 40 percent), and drug law violations (down 30 percent).

Juveniles in Residential Placement, 2015 (Bulletin)
National Report Series

The OJJDP-sponsored Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement details the characteristics of youth held for delinquency and status offenses in public and private residential facilities in every state. The 2015 data show the number of youth in placement continues to decline. Between 2006 and 2015, nearly 9 in 10 states cut their rates by half or more. From 1997 to 2015, the overall number of youth in residential placement decreased 54 percent to 48,043, its lowest level since the data collection began in 1997 when 105,055 youth were held in out-of-home placement. Of the juveniles held in residential placement in 2015, 95 percent were held for a delinquency offense and 5 percent were held for a status offense. Less than 40 percent were held for a person offense.


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