OJJDP Acting Administrator Chyrl Jones: 2021 Coalition for Juvenile Justice Annual Conference
In her June 9, 2021, address at the Coalition for Juvenile Justice Annual Conference, Acting Administrator Chyrl Jones highlighted OJJDP's partnership with state advisory groups, its support for tribal communities, and the Office's open funding opportunities.
The virtual event brought together state advisory group members, juvenile justice specialists, compliance monitors, racial and ethnic disparities coordinators, and other professionals to discuss the latest challenges facing practitioners.
Good morning! I'm Chyrl Jones, the Acting Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which most of you know as OJJDP. First, I'd like to thank the Coalition for Juvenile Justice for inviting me to speak at this event. I would also like to begin by acknowledging you – the State Advisory Group members, Juvenile Justice specialists, compliance monitors, racial and ethnic disparities coordinators and other professionals here today. You are making a difference in your states, territories, and tribes.
As the esteemed Pastor Palmer mentioned, the theme of this conference is Creating Healing Systems. So how do we deliver healing to young people in crisis? In stages. Healing is incremental. It takes time. And it takes hard work. But we know that you are up to the challenge. And no matter how long the road may be, OJJDP will support you.
First, allow me to introduce myself. I've been with OJJDP for more than 20 years. I served for 15 years as the Deputy of our State Relations and Assistance Division. That work was incredibly fulfilling primarily because it allowed me to connect directly with passionate people like you—people who effect real change at the state and local level for youth.
Throughout this conference, you'll hear from OJJDP staff on our efforts to improve juvenile justice systems and support youth in all kinds of communities. Our staff will touch on fostering tribal collaborations, misconceptions surrounding juvenile records expungement – as well as other sessions.
This administration has prioritized criminal justice reform, promoting civil rights, increasing access to justice, and building trust between law enforcement and the community. In April, the Biden administration announced historic investments in proven community violence intervention strategies. Strategies that reduce violence without relying on incarceration.
In support of the Administration's priorities, OJJDP will leverage existing grant programs, like our Strategies to Support Children Exposed to Violence program and our Comprehensive Youth Violence Prevention and Reduction program. Both programs will now give priority to grant applicants who use community violence intervention strategies.
This year, we anticipate awarding a total of $390 million for programs that protect children, prevent delinquency, and improve the juvenile justice system. Many of our efforts also focus on promoting healing, including our Family-Based Alternative Sentencing program to improve youth and family outcomes, our Drug Court initiatives, and Tribal Juvenile Healing to Wellness Courts.
We have several open funding opportunities, and I encourage you all to visit ojjdp.gov and click on "Funding" to learn more.
OJJDP continued to support youth programs despite a global pandemic.
The same goes for our dedicated grantees – including you all. COVID-19 did not stop you from helping children, helping families, and communities. Community organizations of all types adapted to continue serving young people throughout the pandemic. And I applaud you all.
While OJJDP supports a variety of juvenile justice and child protection efforts, I'd like to highlight just a couple that relate to your work.
The first is our support for tribal communities. OJJDP's tribal youth programs help tribal communities prevent victimization and juvenile delinquency, reduce violent crime, and improve tribal juvenile justice systems. We are expanding our efforts by listening!
In June 2020, last year, our office convened a virtual consultation with 288 tribal leaders and representatives. We wanted to better understand how we can help tribes apply for broader funding opportunities.
To address some of the issues raised, we recently added a new section to our bimonthly newsletter to better inform tribal audiences about funding, share peer-to-peer information, and highlight best practices.
Next, OJJDP is partnering with state advisory groups as they strive to make a difference for young people.
In 2020, we began quarterly calls with the SAGs to discuss updates, challenges, and successes. We also launched our juvenile justice specialist and compliance monitor certificate programs.
Returning to the theme of creating healing systems, I'd like to acknowledge your dedication once again to improving the lives of children and young people. Healing is a process. It takes identifying a problem, accepting that the problem will require hard work to solve, and then doing the work. It is that last step—doing—that oftentimes is the most difficult. And it's why you're here.
Doing sometimes means tackling big problems with small steps. It also means looking forward—and imagining a bright future. OJJDP sees that bright future. And we'll work with you to get there.
Opinions or points of view expressed in these recordings represent those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. Any commercial products and manufacturers discussed in these recordings are presented for informational purposes only and do not constitute product approval or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Justice.