5: Preventing and Responding to Youth Violence
As statistics point to a downward trend in the rate of youth violence nationwide,
OJP is working to ensure that this trend continues. OJJDP and other bureaus and offices
are identifying ways to reach out to young people before they become involved in
violence, as well as addressing the underlying problems that lead too many young people
to crime. OJJDP also works to improve the juvenile justice system, both to intervene with
low-level offenders before they graduate to more serious crimes and to hold serious,
chronic, violent juvenile offenders accountable for their actions.
Many programs are organized at the community level, with schools, parents, and
community organizations playing a key role. Through both formula and discretionary
grant programs, OJP and its bureaus support a range of programs aimed at curbing youth
violence and improving the juvenile justice system. OJJDP also sponsors research,
evaluation, and statistical efforts that inform the nation about the extent of juvenile crime,
its causes, and what works to prevent and stop it.
Most OJJDP funding for local delinquency prevention and juvenile justice efforts is
distributed to the states through formula grants. OJJDP's major formula grant programs
are described in more detail in Chapter 2 of this publication. State agencies award
subgrants to units of state and local government and nonprofit organizations to support a
variety of programs in juvenile crime prevention and control.
However, OJJDP also provides discretionary funding through its Special Emphasis
program to support the replication of promising programs in four areas: delinquency
prevention and intervention; public safety and law enforcement programs; community-based alternatives; and improvements to the juvenile justice system.
OJJDP also provides funding to evaluate community-based initiatives, as well as
funding for field initiated research in areas related to delinquency prevention and juvenile
Examples of OJJDP-funded programs include:
- programs that aim to direct children's energies toward activities that provide them
with alternatives to violent or disruptive behavior.
- programs that encourage innovation in juvenile corrections, including alternative
sentencing programs and mentoring programs designed to reduce the recidivism
rate among juvenile offenders.
- anti-gang programs to help communities facilitate information-sharing among
service providers and community members, and to design programs to create
positive changes in youth and families.
For more information or to request an application kit for any of the above
programs, contact the DOJ Response Center at 1-800/421-6771. Application kits for
most programs are also available through OJP's Website at www.ojp.usdoj.gov.
- OJJDP works with the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to
administer the Drug-Free Communities Support Program. Drug-Free
Communities Grants fund coalitions of young people, parents, media, law
enforcement, school officials, religious organizations, and other community
representatives that target young people's use of illegal drugs, alcohol, and
tobacco. The coalitions also encourage citizen participation in substance abuse
reduction efforts and disseminate information about effective programs. More
information about the Drug-Free Communities initiative is available on the Internet
at ONDCP's Website at www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov or on OJJDP's Website at
ojjdp.ncjrs.org. Information is also available through either office's clearinghouse.
The ONDCP Clearinghouse can be reached by telephone at 1-800/666-3332 and
the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse can be reached at 1-800/638-8736.
- OJJDP also works with the COPS Office and the Departments of Education and
Health and Human Services on the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative. The
initiative provides funding for comprehensive community-wide strategies for
creating safe and drug-free schools and promoting healthy childhood development.
To be funded, local strategies must include plans for creating a safe school
environment, youth alcohol and drug prevention, violence prevention, early
intervention, school and community mental health preventive and treatment
programs, early childhood psychosocial and emotional development, and safe
school policies. For more information, contact the U.S. Department of
Education's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Safe and Drug-Free
Schools Program at 202/260-3954. The Department of Education's Website is
located at www.ed.gov.
- OJJDP sponsors Partnerships to Reduce Juvenile Gun Violence, which bring
together community residents, law enforcement, and the juvenile justice system to
reduce juveniles' illegal access to guns. The program emphasizes a
comprehensive, collaborative approach of community mobilization, planning, and
collaboration. For more information, call the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse
- OJJDP funds community organizations through the Juvenile Mentoring Program
(JUMP). JUMP uses mentoring as a tool to keep young people in schools and off
the streets. JUMP matches responsible adults on a one-to-one basis with youth at
risk of failing in school, dropping out of school, or otherwise getting into trouble.
Mentors provide youth with discipline, guidance, and personal attention.
Mentoring activities include tutoring, job training, and community service. JUMP
programs operate in a variety of settings - such as schools, recreation centers,
businesses - but must work cooperatively with each local school authority. For
more information, call the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse at 1-800/638-8736.
- Within OJP, nearly all of OJP's bureaus and offices are involved in one or more of
our comprehensive community-based youth initiatives, such as Safe Start,
SafeFutures and Safe Kids/Safe Streets. Information on these and other programs
is published annually in the OJP Program Plan.
Training and Technical Assistance Opportunities
- The Missing and Exploited Children's Program coordinates programs to prevent
abductions, investigate the exploitation of children, locate missing children and
reunite them with their families, and address the psychological impact of abduction
on the child and the family. The program integrates current research, state of the
art practices and knowledge, and new technologies into training designed to
improve the investigation and handling of cases.
- To help guide parents through the trauma of a missing child, OJJDP published
"When Your Child Is Missing: A Parent's Survival Guide." Drawing on the
experience of parents of missing children, the guide describes the steps that should
be taken in cooperation with law enforcement to find the missing child. The
publication offers a checklist of what a parent should do when a child is first
missing as well as advice on working with law enforcement, the media, and
volunteers. To receive a copy, call the National Criminal Justice Reference
Service at 1-800/851-3420.
- OJJDP assists law enforcement agencies investigate sex offenders who use
computer technology to victimize children. The Internet Crimes Against Children
program helps federal, state, and local law enforcement coordinate their efforts on
evidence collection, interviewing practices, and undercover operations to meet the
technical and legal demands of Internet crimes. For more information, call the
Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse at 1-800/638-8736.
- OJJDP supports the National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Training
and Technical Assistance Center, a national training and technical assistance
clearinghouse that inventories and coordinates the delivery of juvenile justice
training and technical assistance and maintains a database of these programs.
OJJDP provides access to training and technical assistance in a range of areas,
including delinquency prevention programs, youth development, juvenile justice
processing, juvenile court operations, and juvenile corrections. The center can be
reached at 1-800/830-4031.
- The National Youth Network consists of diverse youth leaders, ages 14 to 21, who
are sponsored by youth-serving organizations. The mission of the network is to
serve as a catalyst for youth across the country to prevent crime and victimization
and make a difference in their communities by collaborating among youth-focused
organizations, distributing information on successful programs and strategies,
advocating youth perspectives to policymakers, promoting the need for positive
youth activities in the media, and reaching out to youth, especially those in the
juvenile justice system. For more information, call the OJJDP Clearinghouse at 1-800/638-8736.
- The Law Enforcement Training and Technical Assistance program is designed to
help federal, state, local, and tribal communities - including law enforcement
representatives, social service workers, school staff and administrators,
prosecutors, judges, corrections and probation personnel, and community and
agency leaders - face the challenges presented by juvenile crime. For more
information, call the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse at 1-800/638-8736.
- OJJDP provides technical assistance to states in implementing programs or
addressing needs identified in each state's three-year comprehensive juvenile
justice plan. For more information, contact the juvenile justice specialist in your
state. For more information, call the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse
- Gang Prevention Through Targeted Outreach provides training and technical
assistance to local Boys and Girls Clubs in how to prevent youth from entering
gangs and how to intervene with gang members in the early stages of gang
involvement by diverting them from gang activities into more constructive
programs. For more information, call the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse
- The National Youth Gang Center assists states and local jurisdictions in the
collection, analysis, and exchange of information on gang-related demographics,
literature, research, and promising program strategies. For more information, call
904/385-0600, ext. 259.
- OJJDP supports training and technical assistance to promote gender-specific
programming for female juvenile offenders. This program also provides a
comprehensive framework to help policymakers, service providers, educators,
parents, and the general public address the complex needs of female adolescents
who are at risk for delinquent behavior. For more information, call the Juvenile
Justice Clearinghouse at 1-800/638-8736.
- The School Safety Training and Technical Assistance Program, a project of the
Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, helps schools and communities
across the country create and maintain safe learning environments free of crime
and violence. The program, funded through an OJJDP grant, offers field-based
workshops and an array of technical assistance programs. For more information,
call 1-800/547-6339 x 131.
- The Hamilton Fish National Institute on School and Community Violence tests the
effectiveness of violence prevention methods and develops more effective
strategies. The group of seven universities analyzes and publishes evaluations of
promising violence prevention strategies, as well as consults with national, state,
and local policymakers. For more information, call 703/527-4217.
- The National Mentoring Center at the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory
provides training and technical assistance to mentoring programs, including JUMP
grant recipients, through a variety of services and conferences. For more
information, call 1-800/547-6339, ext. 647.
- The Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence (CSPV) has developed
blueprints for ten exemplary violence prevention programs. As part of a national
violence prevention initiative, CSPV provides training and technical assistance to
community and program providers interested in implementing blueprint programs.
For more information, call the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse at 1-800/638-8736.
- The Juvenile and Family Court Training Project provides training on delinquency,
child abuse and neglect, and dependency for hearing officers and juvenile and
family court personnel. For more information, call the Juvenile Justice
Clearinghouse at 1-800/638-8736.
- The National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association provides training
for court appointed special advocates and volunteers through discussion of child
abuse issues, community outreach and volunteer recruitment, and resource
development. For more information, call the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse at 1-800/638-8736.
Several of OJP's grantees support community-based programs in the area of youth
violence prevention and intervention that may have information useful to juvenile justice
practitioners. Among these are the following:
- BJA supports the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to help establish clubs in at-risk
communities, including public housing, Indian Country, and Alaska Native villages.
Boys & Girls Clubs work to support crime control and prevention strategies in the
communities they serve and emphasize the development and implementation of
programs teaching substance abuse prevention, conflict resolution, and parental
involvement and training. For information write to Boys & Girls Clubs of
America, 1230 West Peachtree Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30309-3447, or call
1-404-815-5751. Boys & Girls Clubs of America also maintains a Website at
- The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), a BJA and OJJDP grantee,
supports many community-based crime prevention activities. NCPC books,
videos, and other materials can help communities get started on crime prevention
efforts. NCPC also sponsors the National Citizens Crime Prevention Campaign
(home of "McGruff the Crime Dog"), a national media campaign to teach crime
prevention. NCPC also sponsors training programs to help communities and
individuals plan crime prevention events, work with the media, and develop
supervisory and mentoring skills. For more information, write to the National
Crime Prevention Council, 1700 K Street, NW, Second Floor, Washington, DC
20006-3817, or call 202/466-6272. NCPC's Web address is www.weprevent.org.
Through a broad array of grant programs and training and technical assistance,
several other federal agencies sponsor programs that address problems relating to youth
crime and delinquency. Among these are the following:
- The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is the federal grantmaking agency
that Congress created to support the visual, literary, design, and performing arts,
to benefit all Americans. NEA makes grants to private, non-profit organizations
for projects that help promote arts education and improve access to excellence in
the arts, often focusing on those whose opportunities to participate may be limited
by geographic, ethnic, or economic constraints. For information about NEA
grants call 202/682-5400. The NEA Website address is arts.endow.gov.
- Through its Safe and Drug-Free Schools program, the Department of Education
funds national programs to prevent violence and the illegal use of drugs, and to
promote safety and discipline at all education levels. For more information,
contact the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Elementary and Secondary
Education, Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program at 202/260-3954. The
Department of Education's Website is located at www.ed.gov.
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) supports a variety of
initiatives for children, youth, and education through its Office of Community
Planning and Development. For information call HUD's Office of Public Affairs at
202/708-0980. HUD's Website is located at www.hud.gov.
- The Department of Health and Human Service and its components support a broad
array of grant programs. Among these is Head Start, administered by the
Administration for Children and Families, which provides preschool children from
low-income families with activities that help them grow mentally, emotionally,
socially, and physically. For more information on Head Start and other ACF
programs, contact the Office of Public Affairs at 202/401-9215. The Department's
Website is located at www.dhhs.gov.
For more information
- The Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse, a component of the National Criminal Justice
Reference Service, maintains a database of all OJP publications, as well as related
publications in the field of juvenile justice and delinquency prevention. The
Clearinghouse can be reached by phone at 800/638-8736 or 301/251-5500. Its
Web page is located at ojjdp.ncjrs.org.
- For more information about OJP and its bureaus, contact OJP's Office of
Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703 or visit OJP's Website at
www.ojp.usdoj.gov. The site contains links to all of the bureaus and program
offices, as well as to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service.
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