A new needs assessment tool developed by OJJDP's National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) promises to provide the most comprehensive and detailed picture to date of the needs of agencies and organizations serving the juvenile justice field. The tool was unveiled at the OJJDP State Relations and Assistance Division's 2009 National Conference, which was held October 2629, 2009, in Austin, TX. OJJDP will use the information to better provide the juvenile justice community with the tools and resources they require to enhance their organizational capacity, and to develop new curricula and training programs that are timely and responsive.
Acting Administrator, OJJDP
The needs assessment tool is an online self-guided survey that gathers detailed information about the background of respondents, the type of organization they work for, the type of population they serve, their training and technical assistance (TTA) history, their perspectives on emerging issues in juvenile justice, and the types of TTA they would find most helpful.
OJJDP Acting Administrator Jeff Slowikowski has issued an open invitation to the juvenile justice community to complete the needs assessment. It is OJJDP's hope that the assessment will foster greater awareness and understanding of the current issues in the field. A systematic, nationwide assessment such as this provides a rich data set that can inform federal understanding of local needs and help community stakeholders build capacity and sustainability among juvenile justice organizations.
The needs assessment tool also can be used by agencies and organizations in the juvenile justice field to assess their own strengths and weaknesses. The results of the assessment could help agencies more effectively direct existing internal training resources, identify additional funding needs, and create a baseline of the agency's capabilities. Subsequent completions of the assessment would allow the agency to compare performance over time and measure improvement.
In addition to creating the new assessment, OJJDP has enhanced the NTTAC Web site to better serve the juvenile justice field. New site functions have been added to increase traffic to the site and make the information presented more user-friendly. Training and technical assistance resources are displayed prominently at the top of the home page to facilitate access to these services. In addition, the home page offers a new breakdown of OJJDP initiatives and tools so users can quickly identify which are most relevant to them.