From the Administrator

A troubling trend of the past decade has been the increasing involvement of female offenders in the juvenile justice system. Between 1992 and 1996 alone, the number of female juveniles arrested for violent crimes increased 25 percent. This increase is even more noteworthy in view of the fact that arrests of male juveniles for the same offenses in the same period did not increase at all.

We must expand our knowledge and our understanding of the factors that contribute to female juvenile offending and those that guard against it. In particular, we must invest in girls to promote public safety. As Leslie Acoca illustrates in our lead article, "Investing in Girls" will pay dividends well into the 21st century.

"The Female Intervention Team" (FIT), described by its founder and Director Marian Daniel, is one initiative already paying such dividends. Since 1992, this gender-specific probation program has worked to restore hope to female offenders through diverse services that address their unique needs.

Fortunately, FIT is only one of a number of initiatives taking up the challenge of investing in young women. I am encouraged by LaWanda Ravoira's report about the "National Girls' Caucus," through which advocates for increased national attention to the special needs of females in the juvenile justice system collaborate to spread their message and join their efforts.

It is just such teamwork that offers hope for our future—and our children's.

  Shay Bilchik
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention