OJJDP News @ A Glance
OJJDP News @ A Glance
January | February 2010

  Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention  ·  Jeff Slowikowski, Acting Administrator
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Coordinating Council Charts Course for the Future
Attorney General Eric Holder chaired the January 25, 2010, meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Attorney General Eric Holder chaired the January 25, 2010, meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

The Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention approved a 2010 workplan and identified priority issues for interagency collaboration at its quarterly meeting on January 25, 2010. The four issues the Council plans to focus on are education and at-risk youth, tribal youth and juvenile justice, juvenile reentry, and racial and/or ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system and related systems. Attorney General Eric Holder, who chaired the meeting, spoke about the importance of the Council's work.

"For us at the Justice Department, I consider the work of this Council as a legacy," said Attorney General Holder. "The Justice Department will be integrally involved in this process. This is very, very important to us. This is something I hope our Justice Department will be remembered for. . . a time when the Council came up with real solutions to real problems."

The Council's 2010 workplan includes the creation of issue teams that will conduct an indepth assessment of each of the priority issues and produce a set of recommendations for action. Over the next year, the teams will analyze policies, legislation, budgets, regulations, and practices that foster as well as hinder effective collaboration between federal, state, and local partners, and will develop recommendations for enhancing the federal practice of coordinated assistance. A major aim is to maximize the potential of states and local jurisdictions to access and use resources to improve the well-being of children, youth, and families. The teams' recommendations will be incorporated into the Council's next Annual Report to Congress, slated for completion in early 2011.

The list of priorities is the culmination of extensive consultations between OJJDP, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) staff, and officials from the Council's member agencies and its four new affiliate federal members—the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Defense, the Interior, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Melodee Hanes, Acting Deputy Administrator for Policy at OJJDP, said that emphasis was placed on "umbrella" issues that lend themselves to cross-agency collaboration and issues on which the Council can have the greatest impact. "This list of priorities is not exclusive," Hanes said. "It's just a starting point."

Hilda Solis, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, said she was "delighted" about the Council's decision to focus on education and job training. Secretary Solis emphasized the critical role employment plays in offering youth "discipline, respect, and dignity." She also commended the Council's focus on racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system, and emphasized that, increasingly, Latino and Latina youth are disproportionately represented in the juvenile justice system.

Larry Echo Hawk, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, said, "It warms my heart to see that tribal youth is a proposed area of concentration. Because coordination [of federal, state, and local efforts to address tribal issues] is often what's lacking."

The Attorney General emphasized that the Council will address juvenile justice issues in a comprehensive manner, by seeking to improve coordination of federal efforts in the areas of prevention, intervention, and rehabilitation. "We plan to hit all phases: before, during, and after," he said. He cited the importance of supporting successful reentry of incarcerated youth into their communities. In providing recently released youth with the support and services necessary to stay in school or obtain employment and reconnect with their families and communities, successful reentry programs exercise a vital preventive function, helping youth avoid the destructive cycle of recidivism.

DOJ's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) hosted the quarterly meeting. Assistant Attorney General for OJP, Laurie O. Robinson, and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for OJP, Mary Lou Leary, attended the meeting.

The Coordinating Council: Recent Accomplishments

Recognizing that Council member agencies work with many of the same youth, the Council works to strengthen the practice of interagency collaboration on youth programs; increase the knowledge, dissemination, and the use of evidence-based programs; and elevate the importance of a juvenile justice agenda at the federal level. The Council facilitates joint federal projects in a variety of ways, including development of work aids and guidance for federal staff; in-kind contributions of staff time and resources, coordination across the Executive Branch agencies of assistance to states and localities and joint funding of initiatives.

In September 2009, the Council launched a one-stop online resource for federal staff who plan and manage comprehensive community initiatives (CCIs)—efforts to improve the lives of youth and families through systems change. CCIs are also known as community change initiatives. Designed primarily for federal staff, the Web site is also useful to technical assistance providers, evaluators, private funders, and community groups. The site includes guidelines to plan, manage, and support CCIs; answers to key questions; and tools and resources developed and used by professionals who direct, work with, and fund CCIs.

In addition, funds awarded at the direction of the Council through eight interagency agreements have supported important initiatives promoting coordination in juvenile justice and delinquency prevention. Funds have been provided to the U.S. Department of Labor to support enhanced coordination of federal resources in partnership with states and localities for disadvantaged youth, to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for activities aimed at preventing child and adolescent injuries and deaths and activities to address substance abuse and mental health treatment services for juveniles, to the Corporation for National and Community Service to establish the Federal Mentoring Council and to create a Web presence for the Council, to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to engage youth in leadership activities in partnership with their communities, and to the National Endowment for the Arts to expand model theater programming for at-risk youth.



DC Boys & Girls Club Event Celebrates National Mentoring Month
DC Boys & Girls Clubs logoThe Washington, DC, affiliate of Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs sponsored a media event on January 21, 2010, in honor of the ninth observance of National Mentoring Month, a large-scale public service campaign held each year to recruit volunteer mentors to help young people achieve their full potential. This year's campaign included a White House ceremony for mentors and mentees on January 20, 2010.

President Barack Obama addresses mentors and mentees from across the nation in a White House celebration of National Mentoring Month.
President Barack Obama addresses mentors and mentees from across the nation in a White House celebration of National Mentoring Month.

President and First Lady Highlight Importance of Mentoring

On January 20, 2010, President and Mrs. Obama hosted a White House ceremony that included mentors and mentees from across the country to increase public awareness of the benefits of mentoring. The President announced a year-long mentoring program for young men from Washington, DC, area high schools that will pair youth with mentors from inside the White House as part of National Mentoring Month. In November 2009, the First Lady initiated a similar program for young women.

"Studies have shown that young people in mentoring relationships get better grades in school, they're less likely to drink, they're less likely to do drugs," President Obama said. "And you ask any successful person how they got to where they are today, chances are they'll tell you about a mentor they had somewhere along the way."

The White House Mentoring Program includes workshops that provide information and resources to help youth maximize their educational potential, serve their communities, and begin exploring potential careers. The program also aims to increase the youth's knowledge about how the federal government is structured and introduce them to government officials and the work they do. In addition, students will have the opportunity to enjoy artistic, cultural, and recreational opportunities in the Washington, DC, area.

"Each of us has the ability to move beyond the circumstances that we were born into," said Mrs. Obama. "That's really the story of both me and the President, that through hard work and perseverance, that you can actually choose the life that you want to live—it's your choice."

The White House event was attended by mentors and mentees from youth mentoring programs across America, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Latin American Youth Center, Journey 4-H Mentoring, Asian Professional Extension, Inc., and many other programs.

The event was held at the Friedman, Billings, Ramsey (FBR) branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington (BGCGW). The FBR branch is 1 of 10 partner agencies and organizations housed in the Town Hall Education Arts & Recreation Campus (also known as THEARC), a combined cultural and social services campus located on 16.5 acres in Ward 8 in southeast Washington.

Jeff Slowikowsi, OJJDP's Acting Administrator, speaks at the celebration in honor of National Mentoring Month at the Friedman, Billings, Ramsey branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. Shown with him are (from the left) Theodore Brannum, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer; Cortney Haskell, BGCGW member, Christina Parrish, BGCGW Education Director; Pandit Wright, President & CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington (partially hidden); Melvin Scott, Commander, MPD; Diane Groomes, Assistant Chief, MPD; and Kevin McCartney, Senior Vice President of Government Relations, BGCA.
Jeff Slowikowsi, OJJDP's Acting Administrator, speaks at the celebration in honor of National Mentoring Month at the Friedman, Billings, Ramsey branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington (BGCGW). Shown with him are (from the left) Theodore Brannum, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer; Cortney Haskell, BGCGW member, Christina Parrish, BGCGW Education Director; Pandit Wright, President & CEO, BGCGW (partially hidden); Melvin Scott, Commander, MPD; Diane Groomes, Assistant Chief, MPD; and Kevin McCartney, Senior Vice President of Government Relations, BGCA.

Speakers at the event included Jeff Slowikowski, Acting Administrator, OJJDP; Diane Groomes, Assistant Chief, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD); Commander Melvin Scott, MPD; Kevin McCartney, Senior Vice President of Government Relations, BGCA; Pandit Wright, President & CEO, BGCGW; and Christina Parrish, Education Director, BGCGW.

"Our partners at Boys & Girls Clubs of America know firsthand the dramatic impact that a caring adult can have on a young person's life," said Jeff Slowikowski, Acting Administrator, OJJDP. "Mentors help young people resist drug use, violence, and delinquency and find what is best within themselves."




Mentors and Mentees Share Their Stories

Cortney Haskell (r.), President of the Art Club at the FBR branch at the FBR branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, with his mentor, police officer Theodore Brannum.
Cortney Haskell (r.), President of the Art Club at the FBR branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, with his mentor, police officer Theodore Brannum.
DC police officer Theodore Brannum spoke of his passion for working with youth in the Anacostia community and how being a mentor has affected his life. "Involvement in the Boys & Girls Club gives me an opportunity to work with two of my passions, young people and art," Officer Brannum said. "Some people ask me why I mentor. The answer is: someone did it for me. I came out of a single-parent home. The people who mentored me left a lasting impression. What we do in the club and the way we live our lives are so important to the kids."

Youth also offered testimonials about the impact of mentors in their lives. Cortney Haskell, 12, said the Boys & Girls Club had given him a "sense of freedom and escape from the everyday. From the start, Officer Brannum took me under his wing and guided me. He has given me strength and confidence." President of the FBR branch's Art Club, Cortney hopes to become a teacher. He is currently helping younger children in the FBR branch's art program. "Watching Officer Brannum has taught me how to reach young children in ways I hadn't thought of." Jewel Fowler, the FBR branch's 2009–2010 Youth of the Year, said mentoring programs at BGCGW have taught her to "demand respect and be a leader."

Jewel Fowler (r.), with Tamika Joyner, Lead Teen Director at the FBR branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.
Jewel Fowler (r.), with Tamika Joyner, Lead Teen Director at the FBR branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.

Jewel Fowler: FBR Branch's 2009-2010 Youth of the Year

Each year, every Boys & Girls Club recognizes one member for his or her improvement and participation within the club, school, and community. The Friedman, Billings, Ramsey (FBR) branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington selected Jewel Fowler, 18, as the club's 2009–2010 Youth of the Year.

Fowler is currently vice president of the Keystone Club. Members elect their own leaders and choose and coordinate their own community service projects. The Boys & Girls Clubs' Keystone programs are regionally and nationally recognized and have received service awards for their project initiatives. "Through the club, I have gained character and leadership skills for the future," Fowler said.

But perhaps more important than the FBR branch's programs are its people—especially Fowler's mentor, Tamika Joyner—who serves as the club's Lead Teen Director.

To Fowler, 18, Joyner and the other staff of the FBR are like an "extended family." After the death of her mother in September, Fowler leaned heavily on Joyner. "She lent me an ear. She knew what I was going through," said Fowler. "She taught me many valuable life lessons based on her own personal experiences."

A member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington for the last 4 years, Fowler learned some of those valuable lessons early on in Joyner's SMART Girls program, which encourages healthy attitudes and lifestyles that will enable girls to develop to their full potential. Fowler said she has learned how to "demand respect and be a leader."

A senior in high school, Fowler is applying to college and plans to major in criminal justice. Her goal is to become a homicide detective. "Going to college will be a breeze," she said. "I have mentors, so I'm covered."

At the conclusion of the ceremony, club staff led attendees on a tour of the facility's arts and crafts room, computer lab, games room, education room, and library.

OJJDP's Longstanding Commitment to Mentoring

OJJDP has long supported mentoring programs, awarding more than $375 million since 1994 to support juvenile and youth mentoring programs.

OJJDP's juvenile mentoring grants support national and community organizations that directly serve youth through mentoring, target specific populations of youth, and/or enhance the capacity of other organizations to recruit, train, and supervise mentors. In fiscal year 2009, OJJDP awarded more than $177 million in Recovery Act and other funding to support mentoring initiatives that promote positive outcomes for at-risk youth, reduce delinquency, and expand mentoring to reach underserved youth, foster children, tribal communities, and juvenile offenders reentering their communities.

In the fall of 2009, OJJDP launched a "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" ad campaign to encourage adults to become mentors by learning about the benefits and availability of mentoring opportunities. The OJJDP ad—expected to reach 3.5 million people—has appeared in the game programs for the 2009 American League Championship Series, the National League Championship Series, and the World Series; the ad also will be placed in the program for the 2010 All-Star game.

Resources:

To learn more about juvenile mentoring programs, see the Juvenile Justice: Mentoring section of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) Web site. Additional information about National Mentoring Month is available at the Corporation for National and Community Service and NCJRS.


AMBER Alert Program Helps Recover Nearly 500 Children
AMBER Alert logo

Launched on January 13, 1996, the AMBER Alert system issues media alerts on radio, television, highway signs, wireless devices such as mobile phones, and over the Internet when a law enforcement agency determines that a child has been abducted and is in imminent danger. The broadcasts provide information about the child and the abductor that can lead to the child's recovery, such as a physical description of each and a description of the abductor's vehicle. The AMBER Alert program has helped recover 495 abducted children nationwide. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada have AMBER Alert plans, and 2 Mexican border states have AMBER Alert Coordinators.

Managed by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) with the support of OJJDP, the AMBER Alert initiative sponsors a broad array of activities, including annual national training conferences and local and regional training on topics such as Child Abduction Response Teams (CARTs) and investigative techniques. The sixth annual AMBER Alert Symposium, held in Tampa, FL, on October 27–29, 2009, offered the latest information on human trafficking, CARTs, uses of new technology, border coordination, the use of AMBER Alerts in tribal communities, and numerous other topics.

Efforts are underway to bring the AMBER Alert system into Mexico through the AMBER Alert Southern Border Initiative. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) reports that Mexico accounts for 47 percent of all international child abductions from the United States. More than 100 local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement officers from the United States and Mexico met last year in San Diego, CA, to train and discuss efforts to stop child abductions in both countries. On May 13, 2009, Baja California became the first state in Mexico to join the AMBER Alert network. A second state, Tamaulipas, appointed an AMBER Alert Coordinator immediately after the 2009 AMBER Alert Symposium.

In 2009, under a cooperative agreement with Fox Valley Technical College, OJJDP provided 10 CART training and technical assistance programs to 563 law enforcement and child protection professionals. Participating agencies were encouraged to review existing policies and practices and ways in which interagency and regional cooperation could improve casework involving missing and abducted children. Participants received guidance on creating memorandums of understanding, resource inventories, and action plans to use when they returned home to guide them through the development of a CART, thereby building a foundation for improving response capacity, resource coordination, and child-recovery capabilities in their jurisdictions.

AMBER Alert in Indian Country

Through the AMBER Alert in Indian Country initiative, OJP initially developed AMBER Alert plans in 13 pilot tribal communities. Through the expansion of the AMBER Alert in Indian Country initiative, OJP provided training and technical assistance to additional tribes, and now a total of 33 tribes have AMBER Alert plans. Assessments of capabilities have been conducted at all sites, with the focus on building capacity within each community to respond to and investigate reports of endangered, missing, or abducted children. OJJDP provided a range of training and technical assistance in fiscal year 2009 to build on these capabilities.

Twelve sites have adopted or are in the process of adopting AMBER Alert programs, either alone or in cooperation with state and local authorities, and 12 tribes have passed tribal resolutions or ordinances adopting the AMBER Alert program. All of the participating tribal communities are developing their own CARTs or are participating with local agencies that have CART programs. An additional 10 tribal communities, which were not initial pilot sites, have also created their own CART programs. There are currently a total of 27 tribal CART programs.

Each of the original pilot sites received an equipment allocation to implement an AMBER Alert. Allocations were based on several characteristics, including community needs assessments, tribal population, adoption of a tribal resolution to create an AMBER Alert plan, and participation at AMBER Alert in Indian Country trainings and meetings. Through a donation from NCMEC, each of the tribes was given a computer, printer, fax machine, and camera dedicated to finding missing children on Indian lands. The equipment allocation also included police vehicles.

To date, more than 700 tribal community members, government leaders, first responders, child protection officials, and law enforcement officials have attended training and technical assistance programs to improve skills and capacity related to a wide range of child protection needs. Interest in the AMBER Alert in Indian Country initiative continues to grow, and to date there have been approximately 50 requests for technical assistance from tribal communities for FY 2010. OJJDP has established the goal of implementing AMBER Alert plans in an additional 25 tribal communities in 2010.

Success Stories (2009): AMBER Alert Program

  • On August 19, in Pleasanton, CA, the Alameda County Sheriff's Department activated a regional AMBER Alert on behalf of the Pleasanton Police Department for a 2-month-old boy who was taken by force by his father and the child's uncle. The child's grandmother observed the AMBER Alert on the local news media and contacted the suspects to arrange for their surrender. The suspects turned themselves in to the Antioch Police Department, and the child was safely rescued.
  • On August 9, in Durham, NC, the mother of a 3-week-old boy was assaulted by the child's father after he forced his way into her home. The suspect left the residence with the child and fled in a vehicle. Since he was known to be violent and possibly a drug user, an AMBER Alert was quickly issued. An individual who knew the abductor saw the AMBER Alert and contacted law enforcement. The child was safely rescued.
  • On March 29, in Bradenton, FL, an AMBER Alert was issued for a 12-year-old girl who may have been lured from her home by an adult male, possibly through Internet contact. The suspect saw the AMBER Alert, became alarmed, and dropped the victim off close to her home, and the girl was rescued. The suspect was later identified and arrested.

Resources:

To learn more about AMBER Alert, visit the program's Web site and read DOJ's press release issued January 13, 2010, the 14th anniversary of the program.


Attorney General Highlights Importance of Fatherhood at Town Hall Meeting
A photo of a father and a son.

On December 15, 2009, the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and Attorney General Eric Holder cohosted a Fatherhood Town Hall Meeting at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. The Town Hall session discussed the importance of fatherhood and focused on ways in which the criminal justice system can support the reentry of incarcerated fathers back into the community.

"More than 1.5 million American children have fathers in prison," the Attorney General noted in his address, "And we know that children of incarcerated parents suffer from the physical and emotional separation, the stigma associated with having a parent detained, the loss of financial support, and the disruption caused by introducing new caregivers into a child's life."

Approximately 700,000 people return to their communities from prison every year. However, only a small percentage of these people receive any help preparing for their return. Research reveals that incarcerated men who maintain strong family ties while behind bars are more successful when they are released. They have an easier time finding jobs and staying off drugs. In fact, a recent study done for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that people who were married or in committed relationships were half as likely to use drugs or commit new crimes after they returned to their communities. Family connections—and responsible and engaged parenting—improve public safety.

In fiscal year (FY) 2009, $25 million was appropriated to the Office of Justice Programs' Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) for the Second Chance Act of 2007, the first legislation ever enacted authorizing federal grants to government agencies and nonprofit organizations to provide employment assistance, substance abuse treatment, family programming, mentoring, and other services to help reduce recidivism and offer ex-offenders a chance to lead productive lives.

BJA made awards to 15 government agencies for adult reentry demonstration projects and 36 nonprofit community and faith-based organizations to provide mentoring and transitional services to adults. These grants included parenting training inside facilities and reunification programs for people returning to their families and communities. OJJDP made awards to 5 government agencies for juvenile reentry demonstration projects and 11 nonprofit community and faith-based organizations to provide mentoring and transitional services to youth.

On December 22, 2009, BJA and OJJDP announced the release of FY 2010 solicitations for their joint Second Chance Act Adult and Juvenile Offender Reentry Demonstration Projects. Funding allocated for these FY 2010 awards totals $37 million. To be eligible for funding, the jurisdiction preparing the application must have developed a reentry strategic plan, which includes a detailed implementation schedule as well as extensive evidence of collaboration with key public and private stakeholders. Applications are due no later than March 4, 2010.


New Online Resource Provides Strategies for Preventing Gang Violence
National Gang Center website screenshot.

According to OJJDP's 2008 National Youth Gang Survey, more than 32 percent of all cities, suburban areas, towns, and rural counties experienced gang problems in 2008. This represents a 15-percent increase since 2002. During that same period, the number of gangs in the United States increased by 28 percent; in 2008, there were an estimated 27,900 gangs active in the United States.

To address this serious problem—which is compounded by the fact that gangs and gang violence have become increasingly complex, lethal, and resistant to prevention and control over the years—OJJDP supported the implementation of its Comprehensive Gang Model that helps communities effectively identify target areas with high levels of gang activity, define and locate gangs, and focus appropriate resources on them. The model promotes the interaction of theory, research, and program experience.

OJJDP and the National Gang Center recently created an online tool designed to familiarize state and local organizations with the model. The tool, the Comprehensive Gang Model Overview, provides a 23-minute discussion of OJJDP's model. Key concepts covered include a brief overview of the nation's gang problem, explanation of the theory behind the model and its five core strategies, a discussion about how to effectively assess a gang problem, and tools to assist community leaders in implementing the model in their communities. Transcripts are available for each module. The end of the presentation includes a list of resources and tips to help communities plan for the long-term sustainability of anti-gang programs and strategies.

In October 2009, the National Youth Gang Center, which had been funded by OJJDP since 1995, merged with the National Gang Center (NGC), which had been funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance since 2003. Consolidation of the centers has leveraged resources and resulted in a single, more efficient entity, responsive to the needs of researchers, practitioners, and the public.

Resource:

In addition to the Comprehensive Gang Model Overview, the National Gang Center Web site features a wealth of information and resources for communities attempting to address gang problems. The Web site includes the latest research about gangs; descriptions of evidence-based, anti-gang programs; and links to tools, databases, and other resources to assist in developing and implementing effective community-based gang prevention, intervention, and suppression strategies.

An online form allows communities to request training and technical assistance as they plan and implement anti-gang strategies. Users can register for a variety of anti-gang training courses. The Web site also hosts a database of gang-related state legislation and municipal codes, a list of newspaper articles on nationwide gang activity that is updated daily, and GANGINFO, an electronic mailing list for professionals working with gangs.


OJJDP's SMART Tool Enhanced

OJJDP has updated its Socioeconomic Mapping and Resource Topography (SMART) system to expand the scope of information available, make the system more user-friendly, and target the system's resources even more accurately to user needs.

SMART is a free, Web-accessible application that assists federal, state, and local decisionmakers in identifying emerging local issues and implementing both rapid response and long-term plans. The system includes archival data mapped at the national, state, county, census tract, and place and/or street levels. Data sources include the U.S. Census Bureau; federal agencies such as the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Housing and Urban Development; the National Center for Education Statistics; and the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports. More than 12,800 users have registered to use the SMART system.

Following are some examples of recent additions to the system:

Resource:

For more information about SMART, please see OJJDP's In Focus fact sheet, Get SMART—Mapping Resources for Crime and Delinquency Prevention.


OJJDP-Sponsored Research Discussed at Bullying Prevention Conference
A photo of Dr. Ken Seeley.
Dr. Ken Seeley,
President of the National Center for School Engagement.

Dr. Ken Seeley, President of the National Center for School Engagement (NCSE), presented findings from OJJDP-funded research on the impact of bullying on school engagement, attendance, and achievement in a federal panel discussion at the sixth Annual Bullying Prevention Association Conference on November 16–18, 2009, in Pittsburgh, PA.

Dr. Seeley and his colleagues undertook three studies. The first, a quantitative study, surveyed 1,000 students in the fall and the spring of their 6th-grade year. Two sets of questions were asked: one set examined whether the students were engaged in school (behaviorally, cognitively, and emotionally), and a second set whether students were subject to actions by their peers that fall within the definition of bullying. Using structural equation modeling, the data collected were analyzed to determine the connections, if any, between being victimized, being engaged in school, and the outcomes reflected in school records of attendance and achievement (measured by grade point average).

In addition, two qualitative studies explored instructional, interpersonal, and structural factors at school that affect the connection between victimization and school attendance, and teachers' experiences in attempting to ameliorate the impact of school victimization.

Researchers learned that being bullied may not be a direct cause of truancy or low school achievement. If, however, bullying results in the victim becoming less engaged in school, that victim is more likely to cease attending and achieving; if the victim can remain or become engaged in school, his or her attendance and achievement are less likely to be affected. The power of victimization to distance students from learning can be overcome through strategies to create positive learning environments that produce academic achievement.

Dr. Seeley and his colleagues made the following recommendations:


New Publications

All OJJDP publications may be viewed on and downloaded from the publications section of the OJJDP Web site. Print publications also may be ordered online at the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) Web site.

Now Available

Juvenile Residential Facility Census, 2006: Selected Findings (Bulletin)
NCJ 228128

Juvenile Residential Facility Census 2006: Selected Findings, cover pageOJJDP sponsors the nation's most comprehensive data collection program on juvenile offenders in custody and the facilities that house them. Included among OJJDP's constellation of surveys is the biennial Juvenile Residential Facility Census, which collects information about the facilities in which juvenile offenders are held. Facilities report on characteristics such as their size, structure, type, ownership, and security arrangements. They also describe the range of services they provide to youth in their care, including education, physical health, mental health, and substance abuse services. In addition, facilities report on the number of deaths of youth in custody during the prior 12 months. Data indicate that the population of juvenile offenders in custody decreased 3 percent from 2004, a trend that may be explained by the decline in juvenile arrests.

Juvenile Residential Facility Census 2006: Selected Findings may be viewed and downloaded from the publications section of the OJJDP Web site. Printed copies may be ordered on the NCJRS Web site.

Coming Soon

Youth's Needs and Services: Findings From the Survey of Youth in Residential Placement (Bulletin)
NCJ 227728

The Survey of Youth in Residential Placement (SYRP) interviews juveniles, providing an unprecedented inside look at their experiences in custody. To assist practitioners, policymakers, and the public in better understanding SYRP, OJJDP has launched a bulletin series that describes in detail the study and research findings. The second bulletin in the series, Youth's Needs and Services; Findings From the Survey of Youth in Residential Placement, includes comprehensive information about juveniles' recent mental and emotional symptoms, experiences associated with emotional problems, and available treatment for such problems.

Causes and Correlates of Girls' Delinquency (GSG Bulletin)
NCJ 226358

Although the literature examining the causes and correlates of male delinquency is extensive, the extent to which these factors explain and predict delinquency for girls remains unclear. This publication, the fifth in the GSG bulletin series, summarizes the results of an extensive review of more than 1,600 articles and book chapters from the social science scientific literature on individual-level risk factors for delinquency and factors related to family, peers, schools, and communities. The review, which focused on girls ages 11 to 18, also examined whether these factors are gender neutral, gender specific, or gender sensitive. To better understand the causes and correlates of girls' delinquency, this bulletin examines evidence from research studies that have explored the dynamics of girls' delinquency and risk behavior.


News in Brief

Mark Your Calendar: National Conference on Juvenile and Family Law

NCJFCJ logo

The National Conference on Juvenile and Family Law will convene in Las Vegas, NV, March 14–17, 2010, at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. Organized by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), the conference will focus on interdisciplinary programming and a broad array of other educational programs on the challenges faced by children and families. The many allied organizations collaborating with NCJFCJ in the conference include the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (Georgetown University), the Council of Juvenile Correction Administrators, the Family Justice Center Alliance, Fox Valley Technical College, the National Association of Youth Courts, National Court Appointed Special Advocates, the National Juvenile Court Services Association, and the Vera Institute of Justice.

Highlights of the conference will include an opening plenary session led by Stuart A. Forsyth, Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. Forsyth is a leading authority on the long-term implications for the juvenile justice system of current decisions in key areas such as technology and client relations. In addition, Jerry Tello, Director of the National Latino Fatherhood and Family Institute and an internationally recognized expert in family strengthening and violence prevention, will discuss the importance of tailoring system-reform efforts to the specific needs of individual cultural groups. The closing plenary session will focus on the need to bridge research and practice through building collaborative relationships across disciplines. The session will feature researchers from the National Center for Juvenile Justice and the Vera Institute's Center on Youth Justice, as well as practitioners in the fields of probation, court administration, and public policy. Visit the NCJFCJ Web site for registration information and the conference brochure.

Orientation for New Grantees Scheduled

OJJDP will hold a New Grant Recipient Orientation Training on April 6–7, 2010, in Washington, DC. The training will familiarize grant recipients with OJJDP and provide attendees the information and resources they need to manage their grants more effectively. The 2-day session will offer participants direct access to OJJDP grant managers, who will be available to answer questions and work with attendees throughout the training sessions. Agenda items include performance measurement, reporting requirements, grant fraud, sustainability of programs, financial monitoring, working with grant managers, networking, and maximizing OJJDP resources.

OJJDP's Safe Start Center Wins Design Award

Safe Start logo The OJJDP Safe Start Center Web site has received a MarCom Gold Award for design. The Web site provides news and resources to practitioners, researchers, and policymakers who work to help children exposed to violence. These children may experience violence as a victim or witness in their home, school, or community. Safe Start online resources include links to recent research, reports, Web sites, training manuals, and best-practice guidelines for practitioners. Several publications on the site also received MarCom creative awards, including the Center's Issue Brief #2: Pediatric Case Settings, which received a Platinum Award; and Issue Brief #1: Understanding Children's Exposure to Violence and Healing the Invisible Wounds: Children's Exposure to Violence, both of which received Gold Awards. The Safe Start Web site was recently redesigned to meet the latest Web standards and best practices. It displays a rotating banner with the latest news, publications, and research about children exposed to violence. In addition, it allows users to interact with the Safe Start Center through links to social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Student Interns Hold Fundraising Event To Support Shelter for Young Victims of Sex Trafficking

OJJDP student intern Lauren Garcia and other interns sponsored by The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars held a fundraising event on December 3, 2009, to support Courtney's House, a grassroots organization that helps girls between the ages of 12 and 17 who have been trafficked into the commercial sex industry in the United States. The event, which included games, prizes, and raffles, was held at Rumors Restaurant in Washington, DC. The funds raised are contributing to the development of the organization's group home, the first of its kind in the DC metropolitan area. Expected to open in June 2010, the home will offer girls critical social, mental health, and other services to help them overcome their past and work toward achieving a successful future. Courtney's House hopes to respond to the need for additional group homes in other metropolitan areas in the United States in the next few years.

Ms. Garcia was inspired to plan the fundraising event by President Barack Obama's call to "a spirit of service" in his inaugural speech. "It is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all," the President said. "For as much as government can do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies."

"This event started as a small topic of conversation. We had no idea that it would be this successful," Ms. Garcia said. Individuals from all over the DC area showed up to support the event.

For more information about Courtney's House, please contact Tina Frundt, the organization's founder and director.


News From the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Coordinating Council logo

At the January 25, 2010, meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Council members approved a 2010 workplan and identified priority issues for interagency collaboration. For more information, see the article entitled, "Coordinating Council Charts Course for the Future" in this issue.

The Council meets quarterly in Washington, DC. Sessions are open to the public. Visit the Council's Web site to learn more about the Council and read minutes from past meetings.

The Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is an independent body within the executive branch of the federal government operated under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The Council's primary functions are to coordinate federal juvenile delinquency prevention programs, federal programs and activities that detain or care for unaccompanied juveniles, and federal programs relating to missing and exploited children.

The Council is made up of 22 members—13 ex officio and affiliate members and nine practitioners. The ex officio members are: the Attorney General; the Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development, and Labor; the Assistant Secretary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; and the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Affiliate members are the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Defense, and the Interior, and the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of HHS. The nine juvenile justice practitioner members are appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Senate Majority Leader, and the President of the United States.


News From the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice

Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice logoOn January 1, 2010, members of the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice (FACJJ) officially began their new terms. For a complete listing of FACJJ members, please visit FACJJ's Web site. FACJJ meetings are open to the public; anyone may register to attend and observe. Additional information is available on FACJJ's Web site.




The Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice is a consultative body established by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 2002 and supported by OJJDP. Composed of representatives nominated by the Governors of the states and territories and the mayor of the District of Columbia, the committee advises the President and Congress on matters related to juvenile justice, evaluates the progress and accomplishments of juvenile justice activities and projects, and advises the OJJDP Administrator on the work of OJJDP.

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