News in Brief

White House Hosts Conference on Bullying Prevention

The White House Conference on Bullying Prevention
The White House Conference
on Bullying Prevention
On March 10, 2011, President Barack Obama and Mrs. Obama hosted a conference on bullying prevention at the White House. The conference brought together students, parents, and teachers to discuss how communities can work together to address bullying.

"If there's one goal of this conference, it's to dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up. It's not. Bullying can have destructive consequences for our young people," President Obama said. "As parents and students, as teachers and members of the community, we can take steps—all of us—to help prevent bullying and create a climate in our schools in which all of our children can feel safe." The President highlighted as an important resource for combating this problem. The Web site provides information from various government agencies on how children, teens, young adults, parents, educators and others in the community can prevent or stop bullying.

The conference also featured a panel discussion with experts on effective programs and policies to prevent bullying, a "Facebook Live" event, and an iVillage question-and-answer session with Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

U.S. Departments of Justice and Education Address Bullying in Op-Ed Piece

Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for DOJ's Civil Rights Division, and Russlynn Ali, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education, have witten an op-ed addressing harassment and bullying in schools. The article, which appeared on March 18, 2011, in The Philadelphia Inquirer, discusses a recent settlement with the School District of Philadelphia and other efforts by the government to address pervasive bullying and harassment. The full op-ed can be found on the DOJ blog.

Administration Revises Proposal on "Race to the Top" Funding for Juvenile Justice

Since the release of the fiscal year 2012 budget, the Administration has heard a great deal from the states, from the juvenile justice community, and from congressional offices about the proposal for juvenile justice spending in the President's budget. Concerns have been expressed, for example, about the potential impact on states' compliance with mandates under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act and on other protections for system-involved young people. Drawing on the feedback, the Administration has developed an alternative to its original Race to the Top-style incentive grants program and is now proposing that the $120 million in the budget could be allocated in the following fashion:

  • $110 million as formula funding
    • $80 million under Title II Part B of the JJDP Act-Formula Grants program.
    • $30 million under the Juvenile Accountability Block Grants (JABG) program.
  • $10 million in a demonstration program to encourage innovation and juvenile justice system improvements.

This revamped approach would preserve, and add funding to, the important Part B Formula Grants program; continue JABG; and create a new discretionary funding program to encourage innovation and evidence-based reforms in the juvenile justice system, which would showcase approaches other states may then consider embracing.

Six Cities Present Plans To Prevent Youth Violence

At the Summit on Preventing Youth Violence, April 4–5, in Washington, DC, teams from the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention in Boston; Chicago; Detroit; Memphis, TN; Salinas, CA; and San Jose, CA, presented comprehensive plans to prevent youth violence in their cities In addition, mayors from these six cities, the forum's federal partners, and representatives of a number of foundations participated in the summit. Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan gave the keynote address on April 4, and Attorney General Eric Holder made the opening remarks on the following day.

"Our nation will be defined, and its progress will be determined, by the support that we provide—and the doors that we open—for our young people," said Attorney General Holder. "The priorities that we set now are what will allow America's next generation of leaders to rise above the current threats and obstacles and seize tomorrow's opportunities. This is our great test—and, in many ways, it is the single most consequential challenge we face in determining America's future."

In addition to the presentation of the six cities' plans, the summit featured a plenary panel with speakers from the philanthropic and business communities, a presentation on public health approaches to preventing youth violence by Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., and an address by Father Gregory J. Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, a program that assists at-risk youth with tutoring, counseling, and employment services. Other speakers at the summit included Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and members of Congress.

Attorney General Calls for Improvements to Juvenile Justice System

Attorney General Eric Holder
In remarks to the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference on March 7, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder discussed his vision for the future of the juvenile justice system. Holder emphasized the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ's) commitment to improving the effectiveness of the country's juvenile justice system, calling for an approach that combines evidence-based research and comprehensive community partnerships.

He remarked, "I believe that the best—and most targeted—solutions won't be imposed from on high. And they won't be born of a single county-level effort. They will be shared solutions, created together—after rigorous scientific evaluation and innovative resource leveraging."

To read the full text of the Attorney General's remarks, visit the DOJ Web site.

OJJDP Seeks Peer Reviewers

OJJDP seeks consultants with expertise related to juvenile justice to serve as peer reviewers for its competitive grant applications. Peer reviewers are responsible for evaluating and rating applications and participating via conference call on panels to reach a consensus on the merits and shortcomings of each application. OJJDP will compensate reviewers for their time and effort. To apply for consideration as a peer reviewer, attach a current résumé or curriculum vitae to an e-mail. Write "Peer Reviewer Candidate" in the subject line. Be sure to note your areas of expertise in the message body and provide complete contact information. OJJDP's peer review contractor will contact prospective peer reviewers. For more information on OJJDP, visit the Web site.

Online Course on Preventing Truancy and Dropout Now Available

National Center for School EngagementThe National Center for School Engagement is offering a new online course called "Truancy and Dropout: Mending Cracks in the Graduation Pipeline". The course helps schools and communities prevent students from becoming truant or dropping out. It discusses best practices schools can use to increase attendance and help students graduate, as well as tips for researching state laws and guidelines and for conducting an evaluation. Registration is available online.

Disproportionate Minority Contact Community and Strategic Planning Demonstration Project

OJJDP is pleased to announce that the states of Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania have been selected as demonstration sites for the Disproportionate Minority Contact Community and Strategic Planning (CASP) Demonstration Project. Sites are receiving intensive technical assistance for 1 year to facilitate state and local initiatives to reduce and/or mitigate disproportionality by implementing the CASP curriculum. On February 7–8, 2011, OJJDP sponsored a training for the curriculum facilitators at DOJ's Office of Justice Programs in Washington, DC. Training participants included DMC Coordinators from the four sites and representatives of State Advisory Groups.

As recipients of this technical assistance, the demonstration sites will also be required to conduct training for targeted jurisdictions and stakeholder agencies on OJJDP's enhanced DMC Reduction Model; to engage in community capacity-building activities, including implementing a local DMC collaborative, conducting a local DMC assessment, and assisting state DMC Coordinators with monitoring current delinquency prevention and systems improvement activities; and to provide data and information for the process evaluation.

OJJDP Welcomes New Associate Administrator

Catherine Pierce has been selected as the new Associate Administrator for OJJDP's Child Protection Division (CPD). Ms. Pierce joins CPD after 15 years with the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), where she served as Deputy Director and twice as Acting Director. In that capacity she managed, developed, and implemented numerous grant programs, OVW's Technical Assistance Program, and several demonstration initiatives. She has extensive experience working with local and national advocacy groups, law enforcement and prosecution agencies, the judiciary, victim services, and grassroots community organizations. Ms. Pierce has worked in the fields of criminal and juvenile justice for 35 years and has developed knowledge and expertise in areas that include children's exposure to violence, child maltreatment, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, sexual violence, domestic violence, and gender and racial disparity. She has created and implemented education and training programs for advocates and criminal justice professionals alike.

Ron Laney, former Associate Administrator for CPD, has been appointed as Senior Advisor to the Administrator. His new responsibilities will include enhancing OJJDP visibility and participation within the law enforcement arena, continuing to work with agencies and organizations in the field of missing and exploited children, representing the OJJDP Administrator and OJJDP at national conferences, overseeing activities relating to National Missing Children's Day, and working on OJJDP National Conference planning and other national initiatives.