Where there is violence, there cannot be growth. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, our youngest citizens are facing unique challenges as violent crime has increased. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, or OJJDP, is dedicated to enhancing safety for young people throughout the country.
Hi, my name is Chyrl Jones, and I'm the Acting Administrator of OJJDP.
Research sponsored by our Office has consistently shown that children who are exposed to violence can experience significant physical, mental, and emotional harm. Long term, these children face an increased risk of becoming involved in the juvenile or criminal justice systems.
To protect our communities, the Biden Administration has launched a governmentwide effort to address violent crime called the Community Violence Intervention initiative. This initiative deploys trauma-informed and evidence-based approaches to prevent and respond to violence.
OJJDP leads three programs that are a part of that larger initiative.
The first is our Comprehensive Youth Violence Prevention and Reduction Program. In 2021, OJJDP will provide $11 million to sites throughout the country to target youth violence, including gang and gun violence.
Funded sites are encouraged to focus on proven intervention strategies that serve as alternatives to incarceration—including violence-interruption efforts that deploy trusted messengers to intervene in conflicts. Sites will also focus on building trust between youth and law enforcement.
OJJDP's National Gang Center also supports the initiative. The National Gang Center is a clear demonstration of our Office's longstanding commitment to stemming youth gang violence. Since 1995, we have supported the Center, which provides information, knowledge, and training and technical assistance to prevent and reduce gang violence.
Under the new initiative, the National Gang Center will expand outreach efforts to communities interested in implementing evidence-based models to thwart gangs. These models include OJJDP's Comprehensive Gang Model, which calls for a multidisciplinary approach to addressing gang violence, as well as community interventions. I encourage you to learn more at nationalgangcenter.ojp.gov.
The final effort I want to highlight focuses on helping child victims or witnesses of violence. OJJDP's existing Strategies to Support Children Exposed to Violence program is also part of the larger initiative. In 2021, we anticipate awarding $7 million to project sites to support services for children exposed to violence in their homes, schools, and communities.
Violence is ending young lives and upending communities. It must stop. OJJDP and its partners are committed to making sure every community, town, and city—every place that youth and their families call home—is a safe place to grow.