The Department of Justice (DOJ) Center for Faith-based and Community Initiatives was established on January 29, 2001 by Executive Order 13199. The objective was to coordinate agency efforts for the elimination of regulatory, contracting, and other programmatic obstacles so as to enable faith-based and community organizations to access resources they need to provide vital social and community services.
On February 5, 2009, President Obama amended Executive Order 13199 establishing the President's Advisory Council for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and changed the name of the White House initiative to the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
The DOJ Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (CFBNP) coordinates between the White House Office of Faith Based & Neighborhood Partnerships (WHOFBNP) and the Department of Justice's efforts to outreach and partner with faith-based and other non-profit organizations around the country. The CFBNP leads the U.S. Department of Justice's efforts to develop new partnerships and provide relevant information to faith-based and community organizations and expand their participation in DOJ initiatives.
1) Develop and coordinate Department outreach efforts to disseminate information and education more effectively to faith-based and other neighborhood organizations with respect to grant opportunities and programming changes.
2) Ensure that information and expertise is exchanged with faith-based and community organizations through non-financial partnership that seek to strengthen these groups by using best practices and leveraging community relationships.
3) Provide training and technical assistance to the Center constituents.
4) Work in collaborative fashion to coordinate within DOJ grant-making offices, including the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP),the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW).
Faith and community leaders from across the country are working with the Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Justice and the White House Office for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships on a wide variety of issues. The DOJ Center's focus is on three priority areas:
Promoting Responsible Fatherhood: The DOJ CFBNP works to advance the goals of the President's National Fatherhood & Mentoring initiative within DOJ and among criminal Justice stakeholders.
Preventing Youth & Gang Violence: The DOJ CFBNP plays an important leadership role engaging faith and community-based groups in the coordination of the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention. The Forum is working with cities throughout the country to develop and implement comprehensive youth violence prevention plans.
Effective Prisoner Reentry: The DOJ CFBNP is an active part of the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, supporting the Administration's efforts to make communities safer, reduce recidivism, and assist those returning from prison or jail in becoming productive citizens.
The priorities of the DOJ CFBNP are carried out in a way that upholds and honors our Constitution - ensuring that both existing programs and new proposals are fully consistent with American laws and values. Our nation's Bill of Rights and important laws respecting both religious liberty and the non-establishment of religion protect not only our democracy, but also the plurality and vibrancy of America's religious and civic life.
Eugene Schneeberg is the Director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships for the U.S. Department of Justice.