WASHINGTON, D.C. – Shay Bilchik, Administrator of the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), announced today that he will leave his position at the end of February. Mr. Bilchik will become the Executive Director of the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA).
Mr. Bilchik was sworn in as OJJDP Administrator in October 1994. OJJDP provides national leadership, direction, coordination and resources to prevent, treat and control juvenile crime and child victimization. It administers grant programs, provides training and technical assistance, conducts research and shares information on juvenile justice trends and effective programs.
"It has been an honor and a privilege to work with Attorney General Janet Reno over the past 22 years," said Bilchik, who had earlier worked for Ms. Reno at the State Attorney's Office for the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida in Miami. "The Attorney General's commitment to children's well-being and public safety is unparalleled. Her vision and dedication have helped us build new partnerships across federal, state and local levels that have had a tremendous impact in communities across this nation."
During his tenure as Administrator, Mr. Bilchik supported and encouraged collaborative efforts that incorporated the whole community, not just those groups traditionally associated with juvenile justice and crime prevention. One example is SafeFutures, a comprehensive juvenile delinquency and substance abuse reduction program that OJJDP is funding in six communities. Mr. Bilchik has also emphasized coordination with other federal agencies. In September, OJJDP joined with the Department's of Education and Health and Human Services, as well as the Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, to fund the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative, an unprecedented collaborative effort to safeguard young people from school-related violence.
"I'm proud that we have accomplished so much by working across disciplines and by learning from innovation in states and local communities," added Bilchik. "None of this would have been possible without the creativity and hard work of the OJJDP staff, whose tireless efforts have helped make a real difference in young people's lives."
Mr. Bilchik has always emphasized a balanced approach to juvenile crime that provides positive opportunities for at-risk youth, but also applies sanctions that hold offenders accountable at every stage of the juvenile justice system. OJJDP is supporting implementation of its Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent and Chronic Juvenile Offenders in eights states. OJJDP is also funding more than 170 local one-to-one mentoring efforts through it's Juvenile Mentoring Program.
Recognizing the importance of child victimization, Mr. Bilchik expanded OJJDP's role in supporting efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect and intervene appropriately when it occurs. In addition to funding the Safe Kids/Safe Streets program and participating in the multi-agency Children Exposed to Violence Initiative, OJJDP published a series of guides to help law enforcement better investigate child abuse cases. OJJDP also expanded its efforts to help parents and law enforcement recover missing children, publishing When Your Child Is Missing: A Family Survival Guide, which was written for parents by other parents who have endured the trauma of their child being abducted.
A priority for Mr. Bilchik was determining what types of programs are effective. Under his leadership, OJJDP required that every new grant demonstration program include an evaluation component, so that it could be determined whether it was meeting its goals. In addition, OJJDP supported a wide array of research efforts to better understand the roots of juvenile crime and substance abuse and evaluate prevention efforts.
In the course of Mr. Bilchik's service, OJJDP made great strides in providing the most up-to-date information to criminal and juvenile justice professionals and policymakers. In the past six years, OJJDP quadrupled the number of publications it produces annually. OJJDP also established JUVJUST, an electronic bulletin board for juvenile justice news and information. In addition, it created a number of public education campaigns, a series of satellite videoconferences, and a Web site (ojjdp.ncjrs.org).
Mr. Bilchik has spent his entire career as a leader in juvenile justice issues. At the State Attorney's Office for the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida in Miami he provided supervision over juvenile prosecution and child protection programs.
More information about the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is available through the Website or though the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse at 1-800/638-8736.
Information about other Office of Justice Programs (OJP) bureaus and program offices is available at www.ojp.usdoj.gov. Media should contact OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.
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