As we approach the end of a challenging year, I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to all of OJJDP’s partners who strive to improve the lives of youth. Together, we have accomplished a great deal.
In fiscal year 2020, OJJDP awarded almost $370 million in grants, with more than $44 million dedicated to the Title II Formula Grants program. The funding will be used to improve juvenile justice systems, protect children, and prevent gang violence. Funding will also be used to support mentoring and reentry services, and tribal youth programs.
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, our grantees adopted innovative ways to deliver services to youth and their families. Youth mentoring programs, juvenile and family drug courts, children’s advocacy centers, and mental health providers, for example, all shifted their traditional delivery approaches to virtual platforms to continue serving youth.
We, too, adopted a virtual approach to serving the field. Last month, we hosted a virtual training conference to help juvenile justice specialists, compliance monitors, and racial and ethnic disparity coordinators comply with the core requirements of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act as amended by the Juvenile Justice and Reform Act of 2018. More than 450 attendees, including 55 representatives from tribal communities and 23 youth participants, took part in the event.
This year, we boosted our support to states. We hired new staff, introduced training to improve our auditing practices, launched certificate programs for state agency personnel, and initiated quarterly conference calls with state advisory group members.
Another key milestone is the recent launch of a national training curriculum for deputy directors of state juvenile justice agencies. This curriculum joins the training program launched in August 2019 for facility superintendents. These certificate courses—comprised of intensive training supplemented with 6 months of technical assistance—promote improved programs and consistent practices in juvenile facilities.
We also took steps to strengthen our connections with tribes. In June, our Office brought together 288 tribal leaders and representatives for a tribal consultation to help us understand how we can better support tribal youth and families. OJJDP also participated in an Office of Justice Programs initiative to make sure communities in rural and tribal areas are aware of our funding opportunities and offer them guidance in applying for grants.
These highlights attest to the creativity and commitment of our partners in the field and OJJDP staff. In the coming year, OJJDP will continue to collaborate with its state and local partners to protect children and communities, hold youth accountable for delinquent conduct, and help them build a better future.