On July 28August 2, 2012, more than 200 youth and adult leaders from 53 tribal communities across the country convened at the 2012 National Intertribal Youth Summit at the National 4H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, MD, just outside of Washington, DC. OJJDP partnered with a range of federal agencies to organize the event. (Visit the photo gallery for a full view of the summit's activities.)On the opening night of the summit, youth gathered for an evening of round dancing, ing, and storytelling with tribal leaders. In addition, a group of respected tribal leaders shared their personal experiences and words of wisdom about how to create change in Indian country.
Youth later participated in talking circles and attended seminars and lectures focused on civic engagement, conflict resolution, and federal policies affecting Indian country. They met with tribal youth from other parts of the country through sessions on leadership development and issues critical to youthhealthy relationships and lifestyles, education, suicide and substance abuse prevention, cultural preservation, and community development.
Speakers at the summit included local tribal leaders and officials from the White House and the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, the Interior, and Justice (DOJ)including Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West, U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota Brendan Johnson, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Mary Lou Leary, and OJJDP's Acting Administrator Melodee Hanes. Federal officials heard directly from youth about their concerns in a range of areas, including environmental pollution, gangs, and poverty in Indian country."Because the summit is in Washington, DC, this year, we hope you will go home with a sense of the importance the decisions that are made here have on you and your tribal nation," said Acting Associate Attorney General West. "All branches of government . . . make decisions that impact your lives."
In keeping with the summit's theme, "Young Leaders Shaping Their Communities," youth at the summit gathered together in a 3-hour brainstorming session to develop youth-led solutions to problems in their communities and make commitments to action back home. Plans included u social networking to raise awareness about issues on tribal lands, leading activities for younger children so they stay away from alcohol and drugs, organizing a basketball tournament to raise money for tribal elders, and starting cleanup campaigns to improve the environment.
In sessions entitled "Digital Storytelling," youth worked with Buffalo Nickel Creative, a group that produces Web-based products for nonprofit organizations, to develop a public service announcement video about youth as champions of change in Indian country, which will be released in the coming months. The video created by youth at last year's National Intertribal Youth Summit, "That's My People," may be accessed on the DOJ Web site.On the final day of the summit, youth traveled to the White House and Capitol Hill, where they met with American Indian leaders and staff representatives for Members of the House and Senate.
"It's wonderful to come to Washington, DC, and have a chance to talk about issues on the reservation where we live," said 15-year-old Minnie Two Shields, of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation in North Dakota. "And we're talking to people who really care and may be able to do something about it."
To read Associate Attorney General Tony West's speech; a blog about the youth summit by Mary Lou Leary, Acting Assistant Attorney General for OJP; and Leary's speech, visit the DOJ Web site. C-SPAN coverage of the summit is accessible online. For more information about OJJDP's Tribal Youth Program, go to the OJJDP Web site.
On June 25, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state laws that mandatorily sentence juveniles convicted of homicide to life in prison without parole are unconstitutional. Life without parole for juveniles violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, the High Court ruled in a 54 decision. The ruling could affect nearly 2,500 juveniles currently incarcerated in adult prisons.
Delivering the opinion of the Court, Justice Elena Kagan wrote, "Mandatory life without parole for a juvenile precludes consideration of his chronological age and its hallmark featuresamong them, immaturity, impetuosity, and failure to appreciate risks and consequences. It prevents taking into account the family and home environment that surrounds himand from which he cannot usually extricate himselfno matter how brutal or dysfunctional."
The Supreme Court ruled on two cases, Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs. Evan Miller and Kuntrell Jackson were both sentenced to life in prison for separate murders committed when they were 14 years old.
Miller, who had been in and out of foster care, had attempted suicide four times—the first when he was 6 years old. After u drugs and alcohol one night, Miller beat and killed a man during the course of a robbery.
In November 1999, Jackson accompanied two other boys to a video store to commit a robbery. On the way to the store, Jackson discovered that one of the boys was carrying a gun. At first, Jackson decided to stay outside. But he later entered the store, when one of the boys shot and killed the store clerk.
The American Psychological Association lauded the ruling saying that "A consistent and growing body of social science and neuroscience research findings supports the conclusion that juveniles are less culpable than adults, and are entitled to different treatment in sentencing in light of their immaturity, vulnerability and changeability."
The historic decision follows two other recent Supreme Court decisions that place stricter limits on sentencing for crimes involving juveniles. The High Court in 2010 declared juveniles found guilty of nonhomicides could not receive life without parole, and in 2005 the Court banned the death penalty for juveniles. All three decisions cited scientific evidence showing that adolescents' brains continue to develop and mature until sometime in their midtwenties and that judges must take this factor into account in sentencing decisions.
The recent Court decision cited three OJJDP publications developed under its National Juvenile Justice Data Analysis Program: Trying Juveniles as Adults: An Analysis of State Transfer Laws and Reporting (cited on p. 25 of the Court's decision), Juvenile Arrests 2009 (cited on p. 4 of Chief Justice Roberts' dissenting opinion), and Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2006 National Report (cited on p. 24 of the Court's decision).
"This Supreme Court decision is an indicator of the significant progress we're making in juvenile justice," said Melodee Hanes, the Office's Acting Administrator. "It underscores the importance of bringing scientific findings and statistical analyses into national discussions about youth justice and safety."
The Supreme Court ruling banning mandatory life without parole for juveniles convicted of homicide is available online.
To access more information and data about juveniles in court and other topics related to juvenile justice, visit the Web sites of the OJJDP-supported National Center for Juvenile Justice and OJJDP's Statistical Briefing Book.
OJJDP's National Center for Youth in Custody (NC4YC) provides training and technical assistance to a range of detention and correction facilities in which juveniles are placed, including adult facilities. To learn more about NC4YC, visit the center's Web site.
On July 25, 2012, the co-chairs of the Attorney General's National Task Force on Children Exposed to ViolenceJoe Torre, chairman of the board of the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation, and Robert Listenbee, Jr., chief of the Juvenile Unit of the Defender Association of Philadelphiabriefed Congress on the task force's work since it was launched in October 2011 by Attorney General Eric H. Holder. The task force is a key part of the Attorney General's Defending Childhood Initiative.
The task force held public hearings in four cities over the past yearBaltimore, MD; Albuquerque, NM; Miami, FL; and Detroit, MIto assess the nature and extent of children's exposure to violence and to develop strategies to address the problem.
Sixty-five individuals from 27 states and the District of Columbia provided personal testimony at the hearings. They included survivors of violence, young people, social service providers, medical personnel, researchers, practitioners, advocates, tribal and local officials, private foundation representatives, and community residents.
The task force is incorporating what it has learned into a report containing policy and practice recommendations that will be submitted to the Attorney General later this year. The report will serve as a blueprint for addres children's exposure to violence across the United States.
At the briefing, Joe Torre described the impact of witnes abuse as a child. "It took decades before I finally started to talk about the violence in my childhood," Torre said. "And as the task force has heard from one person after another, things haven't changed enough. Every child deserves a safe home, a safe school, and a safe community."
Mary Lou Leary, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), brought greetings from the Attorney General; Melodee Hanes, OJJDP Acting Administrator, introduced Ms. Leary.
"With the momentum we've generated through our Defending Childhood Initiative, the information and insights we've gained through the task force, and the tremendous support and leadership shown by everyone here, I know we'll find a way to make America safer for our children," said Leary.
The task force is composed of 13 leading experts, including practitioners, child and family advocates, academicians, and licensed clinicians.
To read a blog about the congressional hearing by Mary Lou Leary, Acting Assistant Attorney General, OJP, visit the DOJ Web site. Also available on the site is more information about Attorney General Holder's Defending Childhood Initiative, its task force, and public hearings.
On August 8, 2012, OJJDP's Acting Administrator Melodee Hanes announced a $1.5 million grant to enable Detroit to expand its efforts to reduce violence among youth. The announcement came during a site visit to Detroit by federal officials as part of President Obama's National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention. Detroit is one of six cities participating in the forum.
"We are proud to support Detroit's efforts to stop the violence that threatens community safety and all too often robs young men and women of their future," Hanes said.
The grant, awarded through OJJDP's Community-Based Violence Prevention Program, will support Detroit's Operation Ceasefire project, which combines statistical information and street knowledge to identify where to concentrate antiviolence efforts, intervene in violence, and change community norms regarding violence.
At the direction of President Obama, the Departments of Justice and Education launched the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention in 2010 along with participating localities and other federal agencies. The administration created the forum as a context for participating localities to share challenges and promi strategies with each other and to explore how federal agencies can better support local efforts.
More information about the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention is available online.
On August 67, 2012, leaders of nonprofit and corporate organizations joined federal officials, parents, and students in Washington, DC, to discuss challenges and solutions to the problem of bullying. Nearly one in three middle and high school students report being bullied.
Federal officials who spoke at the event included Roberto Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy; Arne Duncan, Secretary, U.S. Department of Education; Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West; Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and OJJDP Acting Administrator Melodee Hanes.
"We know that creating a sense of safety for our children won't happen automatically," said West. "It happens only to the extent individuals, both old and young, make conscious choicesoften through acts of personal courage and outreachto create atmospheres of tolerance, and climates of trust."
Panels at the summit highlighted the connection between bullying and suicide, and ways to help students who bully others. In addition, the summit featured a discussion between White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and Cynthia Germanotta, mother of musician Lady Gaga and President and Co-Founder of the Born This Way Foundation, about how to empower youth to prevent bullying. To read Jarrett's blog about the conversation with Germanotta, visit the White House Web site.
The summit was hosted by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Healthy Students in conjunction with the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Defense, Agriculture, and the Interior; the Federal Trade Commission; the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; and the National Council on Disability.
As part of the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention, OJJDP encourages youth between 13 and 18 years old to create video PSAs that showcase ways they are taking action against bullying and promoting a culture of kindness and respect in their communities. The 30- to 60-second videos should be informative and send a positive message to all youth about the importance of being "more than a bystander" to bullying in their schools and communities. The deadline for submissions is October 14, 2012, at 11 p.m. ET.
The contest winner will receive a grand prize of $2,000, with the two runner-ups earning $500 each.
Enter the Stop Bullying Video Challenge at stopbullying.challenge.gov.
To learn more about bullying prevention and to access helpful resources, including Webinars, visit stopbullying.gov. To access evidence-based practices to address the problem of bullying, go to OJJDP's Model Programs Guide.
Children in military families experience unique challenges that other children may never face, such as dealing with their deployed parent's extended absence, multiple deployments, and anxiety over his or her safe return. In some cases, both parents are deployed, and the children live with a grandparent or other close relative or friend. Children of deployed parents need a listening ear, caring support, and fun activities during these stressful times in their lives.
Responding to this need, OJJDP in fiscal year (FY) 2011 awarded a total of $20 million to the National 4H Council, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and six other organizations to support mentoring programs for military children. The U.S. Department of Defense provided this funding to OJJDP as part of a joint effort to support military families.
The FY 2011 support is already making a difference in the lives of thousands of military kids across the countryamong them, Carter Smith, age 11, and his three brothers, who are attending a 4H summer camp at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.On a recent afternoon at the base's youth center, Carter was busy at work in a LEGO robotics program, which the 4H Club launched at the request of the summer camp's children. Carter also proudly showed off a birdfeeder he had built in a recent woodworking class and that he planned to enter into a competition at an upcoming 4–H Club summer fair.
"4–H has lots of fun activities," he said. "The most important thing is it gives me a chance to forget about my worries."
The Smith boys' father, who is in the Air Force, recently returned from a deployment in Southwest Asia. Their mother, who is in the Air Force Reserve, has been at home. But that will all change in a few weeks, as both parents are soon leaving for a 6-week training. The boys' grandmother is flying in from Colorado to take care of them in their parents' absence.There are a lot of people to whom these children can turn for support, including Krisanne Miley, 23, a 4–H teacher and mentor. "I see the four Smith boys a lot. Being here, they have a comfort level. They can open up. They tell me things that they may not easily share with others."
There is also a trained Military Family Life Consultant (MFLC) who works at the Dover Air Force Base's youth center. "I see a lot because I'm here a lot," said MFLC Trish Elkin. "The kids get to know me. If we have concerns about a child, we can let their parents know, and work with the families to help."During the school year, children get homework help after school and then later participate through the 4–H Club in classes on cooking, robotics, arts and crafts, and technology.
"The great thing about the 4–H curriculum is that it's the same wherever you are in the world," said Rhonda Martell, 4–H Military Liaison in Delaware. "Military kids often have disruption in their lives, and the 4–H program ensures consistency."
A visitor's conversation with Ms. Martell was suddenly interrupted by a tug on the arm from a smiling Carter Smith.
"Do you want to see something great?" And soon after, on the lawn outside the youth center, Carter executed several perfect cartwheels.
OJJDP's Fiscal Year 2011 Mentoring Programs
Research shows that mentoring relationships can improve youth's self-esteem, instill more positive attitudes and behavior, reduce the likelihood of drug and alcohol abuse, stop violent behavior, and enhance academic performance. Recognizing these substantial benefits, OJJDP has long supported mentoring to promote successful outcomes for at-risk youth.
In fiscal year (FY) 2011, the Office awarded a total of $108 million to support mentoring programs, including $20 million from the U.S. Department of Defense to nine organizations to provide mentoring for youth with parents in the military. Other new FY 2011 mentoring initiatives focus on child victims of commercial sexual exploitation, youth with disabilities, and tribal youth. In addition, the Office continued to fund mentoring initiatives for youth reentering their communities from juvenile residential facilities. Research on best mentoring practices also remained a priority for OJJDP.
To learn more about mentoring resources, visit the Office's Web site. For more information about OJJDP's FY 2011 mentoring partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense, read the press release announcing the initiative.
Family Drug Courts: A National Symposium To Improve Family Recovery, Safety, and Stability: September 56, 2012
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in collaboration with OJJDP, is hosting a free symposium for family drug court professionals. To be held in Anaheim, CA, the symposium will feature workshops on a range of topics, including specialized services for substance-abuse-exposed infants and their families; gender-specific, culturally competent, and family-focused services; program design and models; and research, data collection, and program evaluation. Registration is available online.
2012 National Center for Victims of Crime Conference: September 1921, 2012
Experts will lead nearly 80 information and skill-building sessions at this conference, co-hosted by the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault and the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Session topics include asses and addres sex trafficking of minors in a local context, responding to foreign child victims of human trafficking, and incorporating victim voices into research. Registration for the event, which will be held in New Orleans, LA, is available online.
119th Annual International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference and Expo: September 29October 3, 2012
To be held in San Diego, CA, this conference brings together police leadership from around the world to discuss current trends and challenges in law enforcement and to share lessons learned in more than 200 educational sessions. Topics include Child Abductions: Developing an Appropriate Response, Smaller Agencies and Stolen Guns: What ATF Can Do for You, Local Lockups and Their Liabilities, What Every Officer and Department Needs for Dealing With Youth, and more (see conference schedule). More than 800 companies will showcase products and technology designed specifically for law enforcement at the expo. To register for this event, go to the conference Web site.
National Conference for America's Children: October 1215, 2012
Sponsored by Prevent Child Abuse America, this event will include sessions on healthy child development; child abuse prevention; messaging, marketing, and corporate responsibility; advancing public policy; and what's working and what we are learning. The event will be held in Jacksonville, FL. Registration is available online.
18th National Symposium on Juvenile Services: October 1418, 2012
The National Partnership for Juvenile Services will host a national symposium with the theme, "Merging Juvenile Justice and Youth Development: Responding to the Changing Needs of the Field." The conference, to be held in Las Vegas, NV, will feature trainings, focus groups, and policy discussions on a range of topics, including juvenile detention and corrections, education of youth in confinement, community-based and residential care, presentation skills and training techniques, mental health issues in juvenile justice, and health care issues in managing juvenile populations. Registration is available online.
9th Annual National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children Conference: October 2325, 2012
Sponsored by the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children in collaboration with the Iowa Alliance, the event will promote effective multidisciplinary efforts to identify, rescue, and provide services for children and families affected by drug trafficking and substance use disorders. Attendees will include child welfare providers, substance abuse treatment providers, juvenile and family court judges and attorneys, law enforcement professionals, prosecutors, probation officers, prevention specialists, representatives of maternal and child health agencies, physicians, nurses, researchers, and mental health providers. The conference will take place in Des Moines, IA. Registration is available online.
American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting: November 1417, 2012
The American Society of Criminology's 2012 meeting, "Thinking About Context: Challenges for Crime and Justice," to be held in Chicago, IL, will offer a variety of sessions and roundtables on the measurement, etiology, consequences, prevention, control, and treatment of crime and delinquency. Topics to be covered include juvenile detention alternatives, race and juvenile justice, juvenile risk assessment instrumentation, innovations in schools and juvenile facilities, the social and situational dynamics of urban crime, family violence and youthful violent offenders, bullying and offending, blueprints for gang prevention, dating violence, drug and alcohol use among students, outcomes of youth in the juvenile justice system, and the role of parents and the family in juvenile justice proceedings and outcomes. More information about the meeting, including the program, hotel arrangements, and registration, is available online.
Global Youth Justice 6th International Training Institute: December 46, 2012
Global Youth Justice will host "Establish/Enhance/Expand a Local Teen Court/Youth Court Diversion Program" on December 46, in Las Vegas, NV. Topics include training youth and adult volunteers, offering quality community services and programs, conducting mock family intake meetings, writing grants, identifying funding and resources, and more. Registration is available online.
OJJDP Mourns the Pas of E. Hunter Hurst, IIIOn June 19, 2012, E. Hunter Hurst, III, a leader in the field of juvenile justice research and policy, passed away.
Hurst was the founding director of the National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ), the research division of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ). He was hired in 1973 as director and first employee of NCJJ in Pittsburgh. Over his nearly 35 years as director, Hurst guided the development of NCJJ from an independently funded research division of NCJFCJ to a nationally renowned research, policy development, and technical assistance organization serving agencies, judges, and court personnel.
Hurst is survived by his wife of 45 years, Suzanne, two children, and one grandchild.
Report on Well-Being of Nation's Children Released
The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics has released its annual report, "America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being." Among the findings from this year's assessment, both adolescent births and violent crime victimization declined. The report also reveals that the number of children living in poverty increased. OJJDP is 1 of 22 federal agencies that constitute the forum. Print copies can be ordered online from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service.
Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Program Symposium Held
On August 812, 2012, OJJDP held its 2012 Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws (EUDL) program symposium, "Working Together to Enhance Capacity in EUDL States and Territories" in Leesburg, VA. At the event, EUDL coordinators, law enforcement, and community leaders participated in focus group discussions on best practices, proven tools, new resources, and next steps for implementing and sustaining EUDL programming efforts. Presenters included representatives from the Interagency Coordinating Committee on Preventing Underage Drinking.
OJJDP Releases Revised Training Standards
OJJDP recently released its revised "Core Performance Standards for Training, Technical Assistance, and Evaluation." The Core Performance Standards set specific expectations for the planning, coordination, delivery, and evaluation of OJJDP-sponsored training and technical assistance (TTA). The new document combines two previous OJJDP TTA standards documents and adds standards for Webinars and online training.
SAMHSA Offers Toolkit for Suicide Prevention in High Schools
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has released "Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools." The toolkit provides strategies to help high schools, school districts, and their partners design and implement strategies to prevent suicide and promote behavioral health among their students. It also includes information on screening tools, warning signs and risk factors, statistics, and parent education materials. The toolkit is free and available online.
FTC Creates Resource Guide on Child Identity Theft
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released "Safeguarding Your Child's Future," a resource guide to help parents avoid, recognize, and repair the damage that child identity theft causes. The U.S. Department of Justice is working with FTC on child identity theft as part of its efforts under the Office of Justice Programs' Working Group on Identity Theft.
Webinar Examines Evidence-Based Registries for Selecting Bullying Programs
On July 25 and 26, 2012, the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention sponsored the Webinar, "U Evidence-Based Registries for Program SelectionRealities for Bullying Prevention." Presenters discussed how program managers use national registries of evidence-based programs to gauge the effectiveness and appropriateness of bullying prevention programs that they are considering for implementation. The Webinar recording and presentation materials are available online.
National Center for Juvenile Justice Releases Juvenile Court Statistics 2009
The National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ) has released "Juvenile Court Statistics 2009." The report profiles more than 1.5 million delinquency cases and more than 140,000 status offense cases that courts with juvenile jurisdiction processed in 2009. The report also tracks trends in delinquency and petitioned status offense cases over several decades. Data include volume of cases, demographics of juveniles involved, and offenses charged. The report may be viewed and downloaded online. Print copies may be ordered from NCJJ.
All OJJDP publications may be viewed 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 Web site.
The next meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention will take place on Friday, September 14, 2012, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The meeting will feature two panel discussionsGirls at the Margin: Risk Factors and Needs, and Girls' Pathways to Success. Speakers will include Barbara Guthrie, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor, Yale School of Nur; Malika Saar, Executive Director, Human Rights Project for Girls; Terri Yellowhammer, Futures Without Violence; Jeannette Pai-Espinosa, President, National Crittenton Foundation; and Francine Sherman, Clinical Professor and Director, Juvenile Rights Advocacy Project, Boston College Law School. The moderator for both discussions will be Lawanda Ravoira, Director, National Girls Institute.
Meetings of the council are open to the public. Visit the Web site to register for the next meeting, 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 mis and exploited children.
The council is made up of 22 members13 ex officio and affiliate members and 9 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), Hou 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.
A Web-facilitated meeting of the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice (FACJJ) took place on August 10, 2012. More information on the FACJJ meeting will be available in the September/October issue of OJJDP News @ a Glance.
The committee's meetings are open to the public; anyone may register to attend and observe. Additional information is available on the committee's Web site.