January | February 2019

News in Brief

National Law Enforcement Training on Child Exploitation Planned for June

Since its inception in 1998, OJJDP’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force program has helped state and local agencies to develop effective, sustainable responses to online child victimization, including responses to the online sharing of child sexual abuse images. The program has increased the capacity of thousands of communities across the country to combat internet crimes against children.

The ICAC Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) program was established to provide ICAC task forces and their affiliates with the training and technical assistance they need to conduct effective investigations and prosecutions. As part of this TTA commitment, OJJDP and its Department of Justice partners host an annual National Law Enforcement Training on Child Exploitation. The training shares the latest techniques on how to combat child exploitation in the ever-changing Internet environment. The training also offers an opportunity for ICAC task forces and their affiliates to share information and improve collaboration to stop technology-facilitated crimes against children. The 2018 training featured 82 lectures and informational sessions and 45 hands-on computer workshops; 1,490 law enforcement investigators, prosecutors, digital forensic examiners, and other practitioners participated in the event.

The 2019 training, still in the planning stages, is scheduled for June in Atlanta, GA. Additional information will be made available in the near future.

New OJJDP Webpage Offers Information and Resources on Youth Homelessness

Youth run away or become homeless for many reasons, including abuse, neglect, and abandonment. Research has shown that children who run away or are homeless face a range of challenges related to their health, emotional well-being, safety, and development. They are also at high risk of juvenile justice system involvement.

OJJDP remains committed to collaborating with partners to improve information dissemination among local and national stakeholders and improve services provided to these youth. OJJDP has launched a new webpage that describes the Office’s efforts to address youth homelessness through mentoring, drug treatment courts, reentry, research, and other initiatives. The webpage also provides access to a range of other information and resources, including programs, trainings, and publications.

Facts in Focus: OJJDP's Reentry Guide for Youth

Facts in Focus is a new OJJDP video series that highlights key juvenile justice developments and issues. In this first video, Dr. Sanzanna Dean, OJJDP Deputy Associate Administrator, discusses the agency’s toolkit Reentry Starts Here: A Guide for Youth in Long-Term Juvenile Corrections and Treatment Programs.

Every year, tens of thousands of youth return to their communities from residential placement, too often with no reentry plan. The resources provided in this guide speak to common barriers that youth may experience upon reentry. The guide includes specific actions youth can take to address those barriers with the help of a caring adult.

Watch the video.

New Videos Offer First-Hand Feedback From Participants in Core Requirements Training

State representatives who attended OJJDP’s November 2018 Core Requirements Training for States address a range of issues related to the Title II Formula Grants program in a series of videos available on the OJJDP website. Training participants included juvenile justice specialists, compliance monitors, and disproportionate minority contact (DMC) coordinators.

OJJDP’s Formula Grants funds help states address juvenile delinquency and support improvements to the juvenile justice system. The funds also help states address deinstitutionalization of status offenders, separation of juveniles from adult inmates, removal of juveniles from adult jails and lockups, and the reduction of DMC in the juvenile justice system. In the videos, state representatives offer feedback on the following questions:

  • What issues are you experiencing in your state surrounding core requirements/protections?
  • How has OJJDP helped you achieve your state's Title II and/or compliance program goals?
  • In addressing Title II and/or compliance issues in your state, what were your expectations and main takeaways from this conference?
Access OJJDP’s new Core Requirements Training for States webpage.


OJJDP Updates Statistical Briefing Book

Statistical Briefing  BookOJJDP has updated the following data resources in its Statistical Briefing Book:

Developed for OJJDP by the National Center for Juvenile Justice, the research division of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the Statistical Briefing Book offers easy online access to statistics on a variety of juvenile justice topics.

2018 National Missing Children's Day Poster Contest Winner2018 National Missing Children's Day Poster Contest Winner

Entries Sought for 2019 Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest

With an annual theme of "Bringing Our Missing Children Home Safely," OJJDP invites fifth graders each year to participate in the Missing Children's Day poster contest. The annual contest creates an opportunity for schools, law enforcement, and child advocates to discuss the issue of missing and exploited children with youth, parents, and guardians and to promote child safety.

Each state hosts its own local poster competition, and the winning poster from each state is submitted to OJJDP for selection as the national winner. OJJDP invites the student who wins the national contest and his or her teacher, parents, and state clearinghouse manager to Washington, DC, to participate in the National Missing Children's Day commemoration in May

The winning poster is the design inspiration for the National Missing Children's Day poster and artwork for the following year. View the gallery of national posters from previous years. Prospective participants should check with their state contest manager for the state submission deadline. The national deadline for states to submit their winning poster is March 5, 2019. The National Missing Children's Day ceremony will be held on May 22, 2019. Contest rules, contact information for state contest managers, discussion materials, and additional information are available in the contest packet.

Image of KidSmartz “KidSmartz" Adds New Personal Safety Lessons

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s KidSmartz program offers video resources, lesson plans, checklists, and other tools for educators and parents to teach children about personal safety. The center recently added two new lesson plans: “Uncomfortable Touch” and “Surprises vs. Secrets.”

Using sample scenarios, the lessons teach children how to identify situations in which they should express discomfort; how to express discomfort both verbally and in writing; how to demonstrate confidence when telling an adult “no”; why being told to “keep things secret” makes them less safe; and how to identify trusted adults with whom to share “secrets.”

Visit the OJJDP-supported KidSmartz website to learn more about the program’s resources for keeping children safe.

OJJDP Supports National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week

Drug & Alcohol Facts WeekThe National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) sponsored National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week from January 22 to 27, 2019.

This observance brought together teens and scientific experts through community events nationwide and internationally to discuss facts about drug and alcohol abuse. NIDA offered online guidance on planning a National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week event, organized a Web Chat Day to discuss the effects of drugs and alcohol on the brain and body, and made available free educational resources and tools to help families and youth address the consequences of substance abuse, including drunk driving, drugged driving, and underage drinking. NIDA and NIAAA are part of the National Institutes of Health. Learn more about National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week.

Judicial Bench Card Developed To Serve Homeless Youth

The Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children, Youth and Families conducted interviews of 654 runaway and homeless youth in 11 U.S. cities in 2013. Findings show that at some point in their lives, nearly 44 percent had stayed in a jail, prison, or juvenile detention center; almost 78 percent had at least one interaction with the police; and nearly 62 percent had been arrested.

A judicial bench card is now available that provides judges and other court personnel with tools to effectively address the intersection of youth homelessness and system involvement. The bench card recommends diverting youth who commit "survival crimes" from the justice system, providing services and followups to ensure basic needs are met, avoiding the use of fines and the application of other monetary costs for youth, minimizing educational disruption by keeping youth in their schools, and ensuring records and other information transfer smoothly. The bench card emphasizes that detention should never be used as a solution to homelessness.

The bench card was released by the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, National Network for Youth, and National League of Cities Institution for Youth, Education, and Families.