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OJJDP News @ a Glance

This issue highlights OJJDP’s fiscal year 2022 grants, the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, National Native American Heritage Month, the role mentoring plays in Indigenous cultures, and a summer camp for Native youth.
Message From the Administrator: Funding Programs That Value All Children
OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan - OJJDP News @ a Glance, May 2022

OJJDP Funds Tribal-Focused Services That Respect Indigenous Cultures

Photo of a Native American girl blowing on a dandelion

In President Joseph R. Biden’s proclamation declaring November “National Native American Heritage Month,” he recalled the trials and injustices Native peoples have suffered in the United States, acknowledging “broken treaties, dispossession of ancestral lands, and policies of assimilation and termination sought to decimate Native populations and their ways of life.” The President underscored Native peoples’ perseverance in the face of exploitation and their “immeasurable contributions” to the nation, calling on the country to ensure their expertise informs federal policymaking.

OJJDP has long funded programs and activities designed to support Tribal youth, promote their development, and honor Native practices and cultures. A current example is the 2022 National Tribal Youth Conference, to be hosted by OJJDP’s Tribal Youth Resource Center December 14–15 in San Diego, CA. With the theme, “Imagining a New Future: Justice, Equity, Healing, and Empowerment for Native Youth,” the event will offer many opportunities for face-to-face dialogue between Native youth, OJJDP-funded Tribal youth programs, Tribal juvenile healing to wellness courts, federally recognized Tribes, and other youth-serving organizations. The conference will share the same venue as OJJDP’s 2022 State and Tribal Relations Assistance Division conference.

“Just as OJJDP is committed to treating children as children, our Office is committed to providing Native youth with services that meet their unique needs and respect Tribal culture. We will continue supporting programs that protect children while honoring Native peoples.” 

—OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan

Other OJJDP-funded programs include AMBER Alert in Indian Country, which assists Tribal communities in enhancing AMBER Alert systems to promote the safe recovery of endangered, missing, or abducted children. Coordinated by OJJDP grantee Fox Valley Technical College, AMBER Alert in Indian Country is part of OJJDP’s National AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program. Current funding for the national program totals $4.4 million; of that, $1 million is devoted to activities associated with AMBER Alert in Indian Country.

To engage Tribal communities and encourage their involvement in the AMBER Alert network, AMBER Alert in Indian Country staff make presentations at Tribal events, including the 2022 United National Indian Tribal Youth conference in Minnesota last July. In September, the Pueblo of Isleta, NM, police chief invited them to conduct a community response meeting. AMBER Alert in Indian Country staff presented a “tabletop scenario” simulating their response to a child’s disappearance. Pueblo participants offered feedback, describing Tribal considerations about environmental issues and available personnel, resources, and technology. The discussion involved Native youth and representatives from the Isleta Pueblo Head Start and the Isleta Pueblo Youth Recreation Center.

In Alaska, OJJDP funding has enabled the Sitka Tribe to develop the Sitka Child Advocacy Center. Children’s advocacy centers feature multidisciplinary, trauma-informed teams that treat children while also coordinating the investigation and prosecution of those who abused them. In fiscal year 2021, OJJDP awarded the Sitka Tribe $600,000 in Victims of Child Abuse Act funding to open and operate the center, which is located in an area of southeast Alaska accessible only by air or water. Before the Sitka Child Advocacy Center opened, children in need of child advocacy center services had to fly inland to Juneau.

In fiscal year 2022, OJJDP introduced a new program under the Victims of Child Abuse Act Tribal Children’s Advocacy Centers Training and Technical Assistance solicitation. The Office awarded $750,000 to support the Native Child Advocacy Resource Center, a national program to deliver training and technical assistance to federally recognized Tribes and children’s advocacy centers serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities throughout Indian country, to improve the investigation and prosecution of child abuse and neglect cases. A project of the National Native Children’s Trauma Center, the new center works directly with Tribes to develop children’s advocacy centers, hosting online learning events and delivering customized training and technical assistance.

“This new funding will allow us to scale up the work we are doing, to work in partnership with others funded by OJJDP through the Victims of Child Abuse Act,” said Maegan Rides At The Door, the trauma center’s Executive Director. “A foundational task for us is to conduct, analyze, and disseminate findings from an assessment of the training and technical assistance needs of Tribes regarding child advocacy center services, and tailor resources and prioritize our work to meet these identified needs.” Tribal communities and children’s advocacy centers can access resources and request technical assistance online.


The AMBER Advocatea quarterly publication, highlights news, resources, and events from the AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance program and systems nationwide. Learn more about OJJDP’s network of training and technical assistance providers on the Office website. For more information about children’s advocacy centers, read OJJDP’s In Focus Fact Sheet: Children's Advocacy Centers.

Date Created: December 8, 2022