For young people to learn, grow, and thrive, they must first be safe. At the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, we are committed to helping ALL young people feel safe—and be safe.
I am Chyrl Jones, Acting Administrator of the Office known as OJJDP. As we observe Child Abuse Prevention Month this April, I want to take a few moments to highlight our work to protect children—and the partners who make it possible.
In 2020, OJJDP provided nearly $40 million for Victims of Child Abuse Act programs. That support is continuing in 2021. Our key programs include support for our children’s advocacy centers, funding for court appointed special advocates, and training for professionals.
Too many children suffer from neglect, endure abuse, or are collateral victims of substance abuse. Children’s advocacy centers bring together professionals from a variety of fields to focus on helping abused children. From investigation to treatment to prosecution, these expert teams work together to give young victims a powerful voice. In 2020, more than 920 children’s advocacy centers served more than 330,000 children in the United States.
Court appointed special advocates, or CASA volunteers, help abused and neglected children who are involved in dependency proceedings. With support from our Office, nearly 950 CASA programs nationwide work to ensure children don’t get lost in the system—and that they find safe, permanent homes.
OJJDP is also funding training for court personnel and child abuse professionals. In fiscal year 2020, we provided more than $3 million to the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges for training aimed at preventing foster care placement and encouraging family reunification.
I urge you to watch the grantee videos in this newsletter to learn more about the efforts I just described.
Child Abuse Prevention Month is a time of reflection and a moment for recognition. We recognize our youngest victims and rededicate ourselves to their protection. We also acknowledge the professionals who spend their lives helping vulnerable youth. And we thank them for their vital work throughout the year. Thank you.