The priorities described in this paper reflect the guiding philosophy of the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), which was established in 1974 to guide national efforts to prevent delinquency and protect children.
The challenges facing youth have changed in the intervening years; however, OJJDP’s support of initiatives that improve outcomes for youth remains constant. OJJDP is a component of the Office of Justice Programs within the U.S. Justice Department. OJJDP leads national efforts to develop a juvenile justice system that 1) takes into account research on adolescent brain development, so that juvenile justice policy and practice reflect children’s and youths’ developmental levels and needs; 2) recognizes that most youth are better served in their own communities where their families can be involved in their treatment; and 3) provides opportunities for youth involved in the justice system to have the same opportunities for constructive development as other youth. OJJDP develops policy and guidance for the effective implementation of juvenile justice systems nationwide, collaborating with federal, state, local, and tribal partners. This includes providing training and technical assistance for youth justice and child protection professionals, the sponsoring of research and data collection, and the provision of funding for research and the implementation and evaluation of promising programs and practices that benefit juveniles both inside and outside the juvenile justice system.