Federal Activities in Support of Objective 5

In 1999, the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention distributed the National Juvenile Justice Action Plan Survey to determine the progress that Federal agencies have made since 1996 in meeting the eight objectives of the Action Plan. Programs and other projects that were reported by Federal agencies as supporting objective 5 are described below, by action step. Activities that respond to multiple action steps are discussed in a separate section. The responses to the survey suggest that DOJ, HHS, and the Corporation for National Service (CNS) bear primary responsibility for programs related to objective 5. In some cases, the activities described below are not identical to those described in the Action Plan, but they accomplish the same goals. Some innovative programs not foreseen by the Action Plan demonstrate shifts in programmatic priorities and responses to recent trends.

Activities That Respond to Action Step 1: Improve Juvenile
and Family Court Handling of Child Abuse and Neglect Cases

DOJ. OJJDP supports the Model Dependency Courts project through a grant to NCJFCJ. In 1992, NCJFCJ established the Victims Act Model Court (VAMC) Project with the goal of improving court practice in child abuse and neglect cases. The first step was to develop a document for use by juvenile and family court judges interested in improving the processing of child abuse and neglect cases. NCJFCJ formed a committee of judges, court administrators, attorneys, child welfare experts, and others who developed a hands-on bench book (i.e., a book judges can use for reference), Resource Guidelines: Improving Court Practice in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases. The second step was to identify a number of courts that would focus on improving practice in child abuse and neglect cases and commit to the principles outlined in the Resource Guidelines. Currently, 22 Model Courts participate in the VAMC Project, in localities ranging from large urban centers to rural communities. These Model Courts continually assess their processing of child abuse and neglect cases, focus on factors that delay permanent placements for youth, develop and institute plans for court improvement, and work collaboratively to effect systems change (National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, 2000). The Model Courts can be replicated to improve court processing of child abuse and neglect cases in rural, urban, and tribal jurisdictions.

OJJDP supports the national Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) project through a cooperative agreement with the National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association. The project is designed to benefit abused and neglected children who are in foster care, or at risk of being placed in foster care, by encouraging the development of resources and training for CASA programs. It was highlighted in the "Effective and Promising Programs and Strategies" section under objective 5 of the Action Plan. In 1990, the U.S. Congress passed the Victims of Child Abuse Act, which allocated Federal funds to start and expand CASA programs. OJJDP continues to support CASA programs and is working to increase the number of children who receive representation in court hearings through CASA volunteers. According to the Action Plan, nearly 700 communities had established CASA programs. In 1994, 37,000 volunteers represented more than 128,000 abused and neglected children. Today, the numbers have increased to an estimated 183,000 abused and neglected children served by 47,000 CASA volunteers, in more than 900 CASA programs nationwide.

OJJDP also funded the American Bar Association's Center on Children and the Law's Criminal Justice Response to Parental Abduction project. The goals were to examine and describe the justice system's processing of parental abduction cases and to identify promising approaches the justice system can use to deal with these cases. The project's first phase was a literature and research review. The second phase included a mail survey of a nationally representative sample of prosecutors and law enforcement agencies to gather quantitative information and identify possible sites for two studies: a six-county study to obtain qualitative descriptive information on case processing, and a three-county study to obtain case-level data on all parental abduction cases and track them from entry to disposition. OJJDP plans to publish part of the project's final report as a Bulletin.

To strengthen existing programs and ensure effective evaluations, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is sponsoring preparation of the Evaluation Guidebook for Child Advocacy Centers, which describes three types of evaluations: program monitoring, program outcomes, and impact analysis. The Guidebook, which will be published later in 2001, gives external evaluators a better understanding of the goals for child advocacy centers and includes an appendix on how to develop a protocol and measures for evaluating corollary services.

The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) supports the Children's Justice Act Partnerships for Indian Communities demonstration program, which provides funds to assist American Indian communities in developing and managing programs to improve the investigation, prosecution, and handling of cases involving sexual abuse and serious physical abuse of children. This program reflects DOJ's increased emphasis on assistance to tribal youth programs since the Action Plan was published. Positive outcomes of the program include revised tribal codes that pertain to child sexual abuse; protocols and procedures for reporting, investigating, and prosecuting child abuse cases; enhanced case management and treatment services; improved coordination among tribal, Federal, and State child protection services agencies; and improved coordination that minimizes the number of times a child is interviewed.

HHS. In a joint effort with NCJFCJ and OJJDP, the Administration for Children and Families' (ACF's) Children's Bureau sponsored Launching Improved Court Practices in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases Into the Next Century: The Millennium Conference and Annual Meeting for Criminal Justice Act Grantees, which was held November 14–16, 1999. The conference's objectives were to integrate improved practice into systems nationwide, to improve permanency planning for abused and neglected children by increasing awareness of the need for thorough judicial review and timely resolution of each case, and to achieve better outcomes for the Nation's abused and neglected children. More than 400 professionals and practitioners participated in the conference, which included both intradisciplinary and interdisciplinary discussions to address the conference's stated objectives. Results included improved communication, coordination, and collaboration within and across disciplines.

ACF's Children's Bureau supports the State Court Improvement Program, which works with the highest court in each State to assess and improve State court proceedings related to foster care and adoption. The program encourages juvenile and family court collaboration with child welfare agencies on comprehensive systems reform. It was highlighted in the "Effective and Promising Programs and Strategies" section under objective 5 of the Action Plan.

ACF supported the development and publication of Guidelines for Public Policy and State Legislation Governing Permanence for Children to provide States with guidance for implementing the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 at the State level. A working group composed of child welfare professionals, lawyers, judges, advocates, and frontline workers held discussions for more than a year to develop a document that reflects the best thinking about child welfare policy and legislation. The document was published in June 1999.

Activities That Respond to Action Step 2: Enhance Local Efforts To Investigate and Prosecute Child Abuse and Neglect Cases and Strengthen Child Protective Services

DOJ. OJJDP funds the Investigation and Prosecution of Parental Kidnaping and Child Exploitation program with a grant to the American Prosecutors Research Institute (APRI). The program provides training and technical assistance to State and local prosecutors to improve the handling, investigation, and prosecution of cases involving missing and exploited children. It is part of OJJDP's ongoing commitment to training and technical assistance for juvenile justice professionals.

With a grant from OJJDP, APRI's National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse works to improve child abuse professionals' competency in investigating and prosecuting child abuse cases. The Center's services include training, technical assistance, and provision of guidelines and related information pertaining to prosecutorial, legal, law enforcement, mental health, and social services aspects of child abuse and neglect. The Center's services are available to prosecutors, investigators, and other professionals in the field of child abuse and neglect.

Through an interagency agreement with NIJ, OJJDP is funding the Evaluation of the Transfer of Responsibility for Child Protective Investigations to Law Enforcement Agencies program with a grant to the Center for the Study of Youth Policy at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Work. This program will compare the outcomes in three Florida counties where responsibility for investigations is being transferred to the sheriff's office with outcomes in three comparison counties. The program will consider whether children are safer, whether perpetrators of severe child abuse are more likely to face criminal sanctions, and whether other parts of the child welfare system are affected by the transfer of responsibility. A thorough process evaluation will be conducted to describe and compare the implementation processes in the three counties and to identify major factors that could affect outcomes. Findings will be released when the grant ends in 2002.

VAWO supports the OASIS II program with funds from the Rural Domestic Violence and Child Victimization Enforcement Grant Program. Through a multiagency task force and coordination with OASIS, a program to combat domestic violence against adult women, OASIS II serves and protects child victims of domestic violence and child abuse in Twin Falls, ID, by supporting the local prosecutor's child abuse investigator and a child victim coordinator who works at the local women's shelter. It also runs a media campaign and community outreach program to educate victims, parents, and the general public about child abuse and victimization and collects correlated data about child abuse cases as baseline material for statistics, research, and program evaluation.

HHS. In cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy and DOJ, HHS's National Institutes of Health (NIH) supports research to enhance the understanding of appropriate services, treatment, management, and strategies for the prevention of child neglect. NIH seeks to stimulate development of research programs on child neglect at institutions that have strong research programs in related areas by encouraging those researchers to study child neglect and to collaborate with those who are already working in the field.

Activities That Respond to Action Step 3: Strengthen At-Risk Families and Support Healthy Start Programs for Children

DOJ. With a grant to the American Bar Association's Center on Children and the Law, OJJDP is supporting the Prevention of Parent or Family Abduction of Children Through Early Identification of Risk Factors project, which reflects DOJ's increased emphasis on the prevention of abduction since the Action Plan was published. The project's goal is to reduce the number of parental abductions by identifying the circumstances that are likely to precipitate an abduction by a parent or other family member, identifying and documenting strategies to mitigate these factors, and recommending ways of implementing prevention strategies. The project includes two major data collection efforts in California and a test of high-conflict divorcing couples to determine factors identified with later child abduction. The final Report, entitled Prevention of Parent and Family Abduction of Children Through Early Identification of Risk Factors, was completed in 2000. An OJJDP Bulletin based on the larger Report, Family Abductors: Descriptive Profiles and Preventive Interventions, was published in January 2001, and a second Bulletin, Early Identification of Risk Factors for Parental Abduction, was published in April 2001.

The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program is run by the Yale Child Study Center with a grant from OVC. The COPS program provides school-based clinical interventions to selected youth who have been exposed to community violence in an urban setting. The program also evaluates the impact of the intervention by examining children's psychosocial functioning and their attitudes toward police, school, and violent behavior. The program's goal is to help children who live and attend school in areas with high rates of crime and violence to identify police as positive authority figures, learn to express their feelings, identify and express a range of appropriate responses to frightening situations, develop problem-solving skills, and feel safer in their schools and communities.

VAWO funds the Rural Domestic Violence and Child Victimization Enforcement Grant Program through the Oregon State Office for Services to Children and Families (SCF). In collaboration with the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic Violence, SCF has developed and implemented specialized services for victims of domestic violence who are referred to child protective services. The project seeks to increase the safety of battered women and their children who are referred to child protective services by enhancing collaboration between local SCF branches and domestic violence programs and developing and evaluating specialized, effective services for battered women served by SCF. The project will develop replicable intervention models to support victims and ensure their safety; develop and refine protocols and practice standards for SCF staff, domestic violence programs, and other program partners; and increase staff knowledge about domestic violence and child abuse.

The project will be run by an existing statewide work group of domestic violence advocates and SCF staff, with training and technical assistance provided to local sites by the State Office and a working group. The project will be formally evaluated through a contract with Portland State University's Child Welfare Partnership.

HHS. ACF provides grants for School-Based Child Maltreatment Prevention, Identification, and Treatment Services to 18 local nonprofit organizations throughout the Nation. The grants support development and demonstration of service models that address the prevention, identification, and treatment of child abuse and neglect. These models are developed by communities in cooperation with preschool, elementary school, and secondary school systems. The grant program was established in response to the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), as amended by Public Law 104–235.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded 10 community-based grants for the Parenting Adolescents and Welfare Reform program. The program studies the effects of providing comprehensive services to adolescents and their families who are affected by welfare reform to prevent substance abuse and other problems that negatively affect their health and well-being. Specific goals include preventing or reducing the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs; improving academic performance; reducing subsequent pregnancies; and fostering involvement in parenting, life skills, and general well-being.

SAMHSA has awarded 12 grants for the Starting Early, Starting Smart (SESS) program. SESS is a child-centered, family-focused, and community-based initiative that is testing the effectiveness of integrating behavioral health services with primary care and early childcare services for children from birth to age 5. SESS provides assistance in both treatment and comparison settings.

Activities That Respond to Action Step 4: Support Community-Based Services That Reduce Family Violence and Victimization

DOJ. The Yale Child Study Center runs the School-Based Crisis Intervention project with a grant from OJJDP. The project has developed a standardized protocol for responding to the emotional needs of students and the organizational needs of schools during times of crisis to minimize the trauma of students, staff, and parents. The model outlines the need for specific roles within the crisis team; the importance of and mechanisms for timely notification of administrators, staff, students, and parents; issues to consider when providing short-term support through classroom discussion and support groups; and issues to consider when memorializing a deceased member of the school community. The project offers training and technical assistance.

The Executive Office for Weed and Seed is supporting the Victim Services Initiative at various Weed and Seed sites. The initiative develops strategies to address criminal and juvenile justice topics that are of particular concern in the designated neighborhoods. Funds for this initiative may also be used for counseling services, workshops, educational and resource materials, legal assistance, and training for law enforcement and support personnel.

NIJ is funding the American Bar Association's project, Children Exposed to Domestic Violence: Providing Help Through Community Oriented Policing and Community Partnerships. The project is investigating both the number of law enforcement agencies working with community providers to help children exposed to domestic violence and the types of partnerships the agencies are forming. The project will determine existing approaches that should be replicated and compile data to measure the impact of a partnership response to children who have been exposed to domestic violence. The research will begin with a national mail survey of approximately 500 community-oriented law enforcement departments, followed by a telephone survey of 30 communities. A process study of the services children received or did not receive will be conducted through interviews during site visits. The sites will be selected based on the results of the national survey.

Through a research grant to the Education Development Center, Inc., NIJ is supporting a research project called Battered Women, Battered Children. Because violence against women and violence against children often coexist in families, this project will study interventions for families in which both domestic violence and child abuse occur, with an emphasis on the role of law enforcement agencies. The project will identify efforts to address the co-occurrence of domestic violence and child abuse, examine existing law enforcement policies and practices, and document promising interventions and services. After studying existing approaches to the problem, the project will use the findings to guide future research and policy analysis. Research methods will include both telephone surveys of national experts, police departments, and domestic violence personnel and site visits in communities with promising approaches.

HHS. ACF's Children's Bureau awarded a grant to Parents Anonymous, Inc., of Santa Clara, CA, to build a national network of parent self-help and mutual support groups that work in close cooperation with State- and community-based child abuse prevention and treatment programs. The collaborative 3-year project encouraged the development of a continuum of community-based prevention services that responded to the needs of families and formed a bridge between shared leadership strategies and more traditional programs. This national network is now operated by Prevent Child Abuse America of Chicago, IL. The new grantee will oversee the national network and establish 100 new parent support groups in currently unserved locations across the country.

ACF has awarded 13 grants for the development of mutual support programs that will assist families, provide early and ongoing support for parents, increase family stability, improve family access to other formal or informal resources available in communities, and support the additional needs of families that have children with disabilities.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is supporting the randomized trial of Families and Schools Together (FAST), a widely used comprehensive prevention program based on family systems theory and research on risk and protective factors. The research will measure short- and long-term effects of FAST on youth and their families relative to a control group of families and will collect process data on program implementation and participation. At the fourth assessment, 3 years after the program ends, youth court and school records will be reviewed to determine the rate of court involvement and level of school performance.

NIDA is also funding the Adolescent Drug Use in Rural America project with a research grant. The project will obtain data on drug use by rural adolescents to provide a foundation for policy decisions and prevention programs in rural communities. The project will provide detailed data on alcohol and drug use and the relationships of individual risk factors, violence, victimization, high-risk drug use, and delinquency to rates of drug use among rural youth. The study will also determine how differences in drug use rates across schools are related to different levels of personal and social risk factors and school and community characteristics.

CNS. AmeriCorps*VISTA members work to reduce domestic abuse and sexual assault through the South Dakota Network Against Family Violence/Sexual Assault. Members help with administrative tasks, victim advocacy, training, and community fundraising in shelters in eight communities. Volunteers also form community networks to help homeless victims of abuse with housing, employment, childcare, and other services.

AmeriCorps*VISTA members also work with the State Department of Public Health and Human Services in Helena, MT, to support and promote interagency collaboration. They support the development of interagency prevention programs and services that can be delivered in a flexible manner to meet the needs of at-risk children and their families.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). In partnership with the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, NEA has sponsored the Coming Up Taller Awards program since 1998. The awards recognize and reward arts and humanities programs that give children safe, stable environments in which to learn and opportunities to develop their skills. One winner of the Coming Up Taller Awards in 2000 was the Illusion Theater, which uses the power of theater as a catalyst for personal and social change. The theater's nationally acclaimed sexual abuse prevention play, Touch, was created in 1978 through a unique collaboration with the Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Project of the Hennepin County (MN) Attorney's Office. Written for children in grades 3 to 5, Touch explains the continuum of touches—from good to confusing to bad—and teaches children protection and prevention skills for personal safety. A second play, No Easy Answers, was written for students in grades 7 to 12. This play addresses adolescent issues of sexuality, sexual abuse, and the misuse of power in relationships while exploring protection and prevention skills. Illusion Theater's innovative Peer Education Program gives agencies, schools, and other groups the rights to perform Illusion's educational plays for their own communities, with scripts, training, performance direction, evaluation, and ongoing technical assistance from the theater's staff of trained professionals. The most popular peer education model is TRUST: Teaching Reaching Using Students and Theater. At TRUST sites, high school students perform Illusion's educational plays for local elementary, middle, and high schools.4

Activities That Respond to Action Step 5: Provide Training and Technical Assistance To Strengthen Agencies Serving Children and Their Families

DOJ. OJJDP awarded a grant to the Child Welfare League of America in support of its project Strengthening Services for Chemically Involved Children, Youth, and Families. The project provides training and technical assistance that teach professionals in the fields of child welfare, substance abuse prevention, and family law how to use the project's assessment tool and decisionmaking guidelines and how to promote their use.

OJJDP and the U.S. Department of Education's Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program fund the Partners Against Hate Program, which offers comprehensive outreach, education, and training that addresses youth-initiated violence. The Anti-Defamation League, the Leadership Conference Education Fund, and the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence administer the program. Highlights of the program include the development of an activity guide and Web site; a training program for middle school hate crime prevention initiatives; a guide for peer leadership that includes information for parents and families, community members, and law enforcement officials; and the development of a training program for national and State policymakers.

For more information about the Partners Against Hate Program, contact:

Michael T.S. Wotorson
Project Director, Partners Against Hate
Anti-Defamation League
1100 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Suite 1020
Washington, DC 20036
202-296-2371 (fax)

OJJDP is supporting the Association of Missing and Exploited Children's Organizations (AMECO), which was created through an OJJDP grant to the National Victims Center in 1994 and is the only national nonprofit organization of its type. In fiscal year (FY) 1998, OJJDP awarded funding to AMECO to establish a coordinator position. The coordinator is responsible for conducting the day-to-day administrative activities, finalizing and disseminating standardized intake forms, developing an AMECO ALERT system of response, and supporting the dissemination of information on missing children through AMECO's members. The coordinator also oversees the association's newsletter and maintains a calendar of ongoing events to raise awareness of missing and exploited children's issues and related training opportunities.

Shortly after the coordinator position was established, AMECO underwent several positive changes, including the development of ethics standards for membership, fiscal accountability, and regular meetings of the Board of Directors. Since 1998, AMECO has also accomplished the following with OJJDP support: increased its membership from 9 to 42 organizations, adapted standardized intake forms for members, and produced a newsletter to aid and support nonprofit missing and exploited children's organizations. AMECO also created an online "AMECO CHAT" service for its members and other interested parties. OJJDP receives the newsletter and has a direct link to AMECO on its Web site. This project ensures that missing and exploited children's activities are effectively managed and coordinated with both public (governmental) and private agencies that serve these children.

For more information about AMECO, contact:

Janice Rench, Executive Director
167 Washington Street
Norwell, MA 02061
781–878–4974 (fax)

OJJDP funds Team Hope, a missing and exploited children program run by the Public Administration Service, to provide support services and referrals to families of missing children. The program trains parents whose children are or have been missing to serve as mentors and to provide advice to families of missing children. In FY 1999, more than 20 parent volunteers began assisting other parents with advice and information about resources to help them in searching for their children. More than 50 families received services through Team Hope.

NIJ supported the University of Minnesota's Office of Sponsored Programs Conference on Domestic Violence and Children with a research grant. The 12-month project planned and convened a small conference to develop and organize the national and international research agenda for studying families in which both children and their mothers are abused and in which children witness domestic violence. The 3-day conference, held in February 1999, included 18 participants.

HHS. ACF's Children's Bureau supports 10 National Resource Centers, which provide training and technical assistance in foster care and permanency planning, information technology in child welfare services, organizational improvement, special needs adoption, youth development, addressing child maltreatment, family-centered practice, legal and judicial issues, abandoned infants assistance, and community-based family resource and support programs. Centers were established to provide training and technical assistance to community-based programs to support statutorily mandated programs and to provide services to grantees.

ACF's Children's Bureau operates the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information to meet the cross-disciplinary needs of professionals working in the areas of child abuse and neglect, child welfare, and adoption. The clearinghouse offers access to government and other resources related to these fields by maintaining an extensive document collection and providing information and referrals, technical assistance, and other products and services.5

A project of the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information, the Child Welfare Training Online Network is designed to enable State trainers, practitioners, social work educators, and other stakeholders to locate the most current training and resource materials available for the child welfare workforce. The Online Network also offers opportunities to share information and communicate with other colleagues about training curriculums, training evaluation, and issues and practices related to workforce development and retention.6

The interagency agreement between ACF's Administration on Children, Youth and Families and HHS's Indian Health Service (IHS) provides funding for a program to train IHS local and tribal mental health and social services professionals in all aspects of preventing and treating child physical and sexual abuse in American Indian communities. The program, which began in 1994, continues to provide funds for training programs through the University of Oklahoma's model program, Making Medicine.

NIDA is supporting a study entitled Diffusion of State Risk/Protective Focused Prevention. Risk- and protective-focused prevention planning is promising, yet little is known about the process for or effectiveness of changing State and community prevention systems to implement the model. The study is a joint effort by the Social Development Research Group of the University of Washington in Seattle and substance abuse agencies in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Detailed information is being collected in 41 communities in these 7 States.

Activities That Respond to Action Step 6: Improve Services to Children Who Are Victims of Abuse and Other Crimes

DOJ. OVC is supporting the development of Guidelines for Mental Health Treatment of Child Victims of Intrafamilial Abuse by the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center at the Medical University of South Carolina. An advisory committee composed of experts in the treatment of child abuse victims has reviewed current practice guidelines in the field and established criteria for describing both the problems associated with abuse and the effectiveness of common treatments for abuse-related trauma. OVC will publish the Guidelines and distribute them to crime victim compensation programs, providers of mental health treatment to children, and child abuse professionals. OVC has awarded a grant to the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children to conduct training on the mental health practices recommended in the Guidelines.

HHS. HHS supports the Foster Care Funding program through Title IV–E of the Social Security Act. The program provides funds to State agencies to assist with the costs of foster care, the administrative costs of managing the program, and training for staff, foster parents, and private agency staff. The funds help States provide proper care for children who need placement outside their homes (with a foster family or in an institution). This is an open-ended entitlement program that seeks to strengthen families in which children are at risk. It fulfills the forecast in the Action Plan that HHS would continue to provide discretionary child welfare training grants and promote the use of Social Security Act Title IV–E training funds to enhance child welfare practice (Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1996:74).

ACF is supporting the Children's Bureau's Independent Living Program (ILP), which helps older youth gain the skills they need to move from foster care to self-supported, independent living. ILP provides educational and employment assistance, training in daily living skills, counseling, coordination of services, outreach programs, and individualized transitional living plans. In addition to assisting youth in the process of moving out of foster care, ILP reaches some children under age 16 and former foster care youth ages 18–21 who have left the child welfare system.

In response to a new Federal regulation that outlines Federal/State partnerships to review the foster care eligibility and family service systems in each State, ACF sponsors the Foster Care Eligibility Reviews and Child and Family Services (CFS) Reviews programs. The regulation implements existing legislation and adds new requirements governing a State's conformity with its plans under relevant legislation. The regulation clarifies certain eligibility criteria that govern foster care eligibility review and also makes technical changes to the race and ethnicity data in the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System. CFS Reviews seek to ensure the safety, permanency, and well-being of children in the child welfare system.

Activities That Respond to Multiple Action Steps

DOJ. The Children Exposed to Violence Initiative (CEVI), launched in December 1998 and currently coordinated by the Office for Victims of Crime at DOJ, is a far-reaching, multistakeholder, multisector, comprehensive framework that encompasses more than two dozen programs and strategies designed to improve the justice system's approach and communities' responses to child crime victims and witnesses. There are five goal areas under CEVI: (1) justice system reform, (2) Federal and State legislative reform, (3) program support and development, (4) community outreach/public awareness, and (5) parenting education. Work in these areas spans prevention strategies, intervention programs, and offender accountability.

All of OJJDP's programs and initiatives that address child protection issues—child and adolescent maltreatment, victimization, exposure to violence, and exploitation—are coordinated with CEVI. These include Safe Kids/Safe Streets, Safe Start, the National Center for Children Exposed to Violence, the Children's Advocacy Center Program, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Model Dependency Courts, Parents Anonymous®, and Missing and Exploited Children's Programs. OJJDP also contributes financial and staff resources to CEVI-launched activities, including national, regional, and State summits and the development and distribution of resource materials.

OJJDP established the National Center for Children Exposed to Violence (NCCEV) at the Yale Child Study Center as part of the Children Exposed to Violence Initiative. NCCEV, through support from OJJDP, is a resource and training and technical assistance facility charged with enhancing public awareness of the negative consequences of children's exposure to violence. With increasing community capacity to respond to that exposure. NCCEV's three primary objectives are to promote public and professional awareness of the effects of violence on children, to provide training and technical assistance to communities around the country that are developing collaborative efforts to respond to children and families exposed to violence, and to establish a national clearinghouse and Web site for information about violent traumatization and successful approaches to intervention. NCCEV pursues its goals by coordinating and providing a range of training and technical assistance to the Safe Start demonstration sites and by operating a national clearinghouse and resource center as a repository of information about the developmental risks and long-term consequences of children's exposure to violence.

The Children's Advocacy Center Program is implemented through OJJDP's support of the National Children's Alliance and the Regional Children's Advocacy Centers. The National Children's Alliance administers a national grants program and a training and technical assistance program. These programs respond to action steps 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6. The programs help communities improve their response to child abuse by establishing children's advocacy centers (CACs) and providing training and technical assistance to emerging, developing, and established CACs. The programs also collect national data from CACs on numbers and types of cases and outcomes, and they administer standards for CACs through site visits, consultations, and technical assistance.

The Regional Children's Advocacy Centers project, supported by OJJDP, also responds to action steps 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6. CACs were featured in the "Effective and Promising Strategies and Programs" section under objective 5 of the Action Plan (Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1996:70) and this project funds their work. The four Regional CACs (Midwest, Northeast, Southern, and Western) have received grants to encourage and facilitate the creation of multidisciplinary teams and child advocacy centers. The Regional CACs help communities develop appropriate responses to child abuse, offer multidisciplinary services to child victims and their families, enhance the skills of volunteers, provide support for nonoffending family members of child victims, enhance coordination among community agencies, support national coordination, develop and use training and technical assistance materials, and implement national standards of practice.

The Safe Start Initiative, funded by OJJDP, responds to action steps 1–6. This initiative seeks to prevent and reduce the impact of family and community violence on children from birth to age 6 by creating coordinated and comprehensive service delivery systems. Safe Start demonstration communities are working to expand existing partnerships among service providers in the areas of early childhood education/development, health, mental health, family support and strengthening, domestic violence, substance abuse prevention and treatment, crisis intervention, child welfare, law enforcement, courts, and legal services. This comprehensive service-providing system is designed to improve the availability, delivery, and quality of services for young children who are at high risk of exposure to violence or who have been exposed to violence, along with their families and caregivers, at any point of entry into the system.

NIJ is funding an ongoing research project on childhood victimization and delinquency with a grant to the Washington Department of Social and Human Services. The study was designed to replicate the original NIJ study that established the connection between child abuse and neglect and increased risk of later criminal behavior. The study will attempt to document the prevalence of delinquency, criminality, and violence in a cohort of abused and/or neglected children and a control group in the Northwest, including American Indians, for the years 1985–98; determine the extent to which different types of maltreatment are associated with the development of later violent criminal behavior; and determine the extent to which out-of-home placement mediates the criminal consequences of abuse and neglect. This study will improve the American Indian comparison component of the original study, add arrest data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the States, and provide a more comprehensive assessment of placement histories than is currently available.

Prior to the development of the Green Book Initiative, HHS, through work by ACF and the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, collaborated with DOJ's OVC to support the publication of Effective Intervention in Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment Cases: Guidelines for Policy and Practice. The document, which is based on the findings of an advisory committee that was convened by NCJFCJ, states that community leaders should collaborate to develop responses that provide meaningful help, support, and services for families exposed to domestic violence and child maltreatment. Communities should hold perpetrators accountable for their behavior and provide legal interventions to stop violence. These Guidelines serve as the foundation for the Green Book Initiative which, as previously described, is designed to implement the recommended policies and practices of the Guidelines.

With a grant to the University of Cincinnati, OH, NIJ is funding the Developmental Theory and Battering Incidents research project. The project is examining the relationships of parolees and their spouses in light of Moffitt's (1993) developmental theory of offending behavior, which identifies two varieties of offending behavior: life-course persistent and adolescent-linked. The project examines how factors related to serious intimate partner violence vary across discrete offender groups. The project asks how the developmental theory is related to intimate partner violence; whether there is a relationship between partner violence and early family characteristics, such as childhood exposure to violence; and whether developmental paths to domestic violence differ from those toward other types of violence. The data, including official demographic and self-report information from a sample of 285 parolees and their spouses or partners, were collected in Buffalo, NY, in 1997.

The National Resource Center and Clearinghouse (the Clearinghouse), a training and technical assistance program supported by OJJDP through a cooperative agreement with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), responds to action steps 2 and 5. Through the Clearinghouse, NCMEC offers a variety of services to families, law enforcement agencies, and the media to aid in searches for missing children. NCMEC offers technical case assistance, imaging identification services, photograph and poster distribution, age-enhancement of photographs, recovery assistance, and hotline and referral services. NCMEC also assists families and law enforcement agencies with international parental abduction cases and child sexual exploitation cases.

OJJDP supports the Missing and Exploited Children's Training and Technical Assistance Program through a grant to Fox Valley Technical College. The program, which responds to action steps 2 and 5, provides current, comprehensive training and technical assistance to law enforcement agencies, missing children organizations, prosecutors, State clearinghouses, and nonprofit organizations on issues relating to missing, exploited, and abducted children. Training emphasizes investigative techniques, interview strategies, comprehensive response planning, media relations, lead and case management, and other relevant topics. Each year, the college trains more than 1,500 practitioners and provides technical assistance to more than 4,300 practitioners.

With grants to Parents Anonymous, Inc., and its affiliates in nine States, OJJDP supports Strengthening Families All Across America, which responds to action steps 2 and 5. The program works to build and support strong, safe families in partnership with local communities by using the Parents Anonymous® model to help break the cycle of child abuse and delinquency. It offers resources including training and technical assistance, a program manual, program material, and subcontracted funds for program expansion. Services include designing a national helpline, refining a national database, and providing training on strategies for best practice for staff who serve as Parents Anonymous® certified trainers.

OJJDP is funding research on Impacts of Childhood Abuse on Juvenile Violence and Domestic Violence: Measuring and Detecting the Intervening Influences of Race and Poverty. This research project examines the relationship between child abuse, juvenile delinquency, and domestic violence. The project will measure the independent impacts of race and poverty on violence from youth to early adulthood.

The Secondary Analysis of Childhood Victimization Data, which investigates the relationship between running away, substance abuse, and child abuse and neglect, is another research project being funded by OJJDP. The project uses a large database that was constructed in 1996 with initial support from NIJ. The data set includes detailed information on psychiatric, cognitive, intellectual, social, and behavioral functioning in addition to documented and self-reported criminal and runaway behavior in a large number of substantiated cases of physical and sexual abuse and neglect in early childhood. OJJDP is supporting secondary analysis of these data to investigate childhood victimization as it relates to running away, drug use, and delinquency. Issues related to gender and race/ethnicity will also be explored.

HHS. HHS supported the Childhood Victimization and Lifetime Victimization research project to examine the mental health outcomes of victims of child abuse and neglect. The project convincingly demonstrated that childhood victimization places children at increased risk for delinquency, adult criminality, violent criminal behavior, and victimization.

HHS is also supporting a research project on Intergenerational Transmission of Antisocial Behavior. The project includes a series of studies that will help clarify continuity and discontinuity of a range of antisocial behaviors from parent to child.

ACF supports the Children's Justice Act (CJA) program, funded by the Victims of Crimes Act of 1984 and administered by the Office of Child Abuse and Neglect. CJA seeks to improve the investigation and prosecution of cases of child abuse and neglect, particularly child sexual abuse and exploitation, in a manner that limits additional trauma to the child victim. It also supports the investigation and prosecution of maltreatment-related child fatality cases. CJA responds to action steps 1 and 2.

Through its grants to lead State agencies, ACF's Children's Bureau supports the Community-Based Family Resources Grants Program, which was mandated by Title II of the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention and Treatment Act, as amended October 3, 1996. The program, which responds to action steps 3 and 4, seeks to develop, operate, expand, and enhance statewide networks of community-based, prevention-focused family resource and support programs; provide early, comprehensive support for parents; promote the development of parenting skills; increase family stability; improve family access to resources within the community; support the special needs of families that have children with disabilities; and decrease the risk of homelessness. The program also encourages the development of a continuum of preventive services for children and families through State and community-based collaboration.

ACF also supports Promoting Safe and Stable Families, which responds to action steps 3 and 6. The project funds State programs to prevent the unnecessary separation of children from their families, improve the quality of care and services to children and their families, and ensure permanency for children by reuniting them with their parents. Funds are available for planning, and grantees are required to develop comprehensive 5-year plans to strengthen and better integrate the design and delivery of services to families and children.

ACF's Children's Bureau is supporting the LongSCAN Longitudinal Research Project with grants to the Consortium for Longitudinal Studies of Child Maltreatment. The project will conduct national studies of children who are at risk of abuse or neglect or who are in the child welfare system. The studies will address the program, practice, and policy issues that are relevant to the child welfare system and that affect outcomes for children and families. Uniform baseline assessments of child, maternal, and family characteristics across sites are used, beginning when the children's ages range from infancy to 4 years. Comprehensive assessments are being carried out at ages 4, 6, 8, and 12, with additional collections planned for ages 16 and 20, with tracking in interim years. In addition to a common battery of measures, each site will collect site-specific data.

Through a contract with Research Triangle Institute, ACF is supporting the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, a national study of children who are at risk of abuse or neglect or who are in the child welfare system. The study will describe the children and families who come into contact with the child welfare system and will examine child and family risk factors, service needs, and services received. In the long term, the study will describe the child welfare system and the experiences of children and families involved in the system, examine outcomes for these children and families, and describe the interaction of the child welfare system with other service systems.

ACF supported a publication entitled Child Maltreatment 1999: Reports From the States to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, 2001).7 This data system, which was developed in consultation with State and local protective service agencies, has two components. The summary data component collects aggregate data from each State through an annual survey, and the detailed case data component collects automated, case-level data from States on an annual basis.

The publication informs the Nation about the extent of the problem of child abuse and neglect to improve policy and practice and ultimately prevent child abuse and neglect.

NIDA awarded a grant to fund the research project Drug Use Among Indians—Epidemiology and Prediction. The project has been collecting data since 1974 using biennial school-based surveys of all 7th and 12th grade students in randomly selected American Indian reservation schools. Followup data were collected from absentees and a sample of dropouts. The project monitors patterns, trends, and correlates of drug use among American Indian youth living on reservations; determines rates of violence, victimization, and other criminal behavior; and studies the interrelationship among these variables to provide a foundation for policy decisions and prevention programs in tribal communities.


Addressing Youth Victimization OJJDP Action Plan Update • October 2001