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OJJDP News @ a Glance

This issue highlights OJJDP’s fiscal year 2023 funding awards, OJJDP Tribal consultations, a panel discussion on advocacy with system-involved youth and parents, and the Preventing Youth Hate Crimes and Identity-Based Bullying Virtual Symposium.
Message From the Administrator: A New Year Brings New Opportunities for Justice
OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan - News @ a Glance

News in Brief

OJJDP Administrator Joins the First Lady To Celebrate International Day of the Girl

Photo of First Lady Jill Biden and young women being honored at the White House during an event marking International Day of the Girl

OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan joined First Lady Jill Biden at the White House on October 11 for a celebration commemorating International Day of the Girl. The “Girls Leading Change” event honored 15 young women who are leading change and shaping a brighter future in their communities across the United States.”   

The White House highlighted OJJDP’s fiscal year 2023 Reducing Risk for Girls in the Juvenile Justice System program in a fact sheet released when President Biden made the International Day of the Girl proclamation. Launched in 2020, the program is awarding more than $4 million to communities that are developing, enhancing, or expanding early intervention and treatment services for girls who are involved in—or who are at risk for involvement in—the juvenile justice system.

OJJDP Administrator Emphasizes Collaboration at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference

Logo for International Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference

OJJDP Administrator Liz Ryan met with chiefs of police from several U.S. cities during the International Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference in San Diego, October 14–17. She also addressed two association committees, presenting OJJDP’s three priorities. Administrator Ryan called the association “an essential partner.”

Administrator Ryan met with Chief Art Acevedo from Aurora, CO, a National Public Safety Partnership site, to discuss the importance of partnerships between youth and law enforcement professionals. OJJDP serves as program champion for the Aurora site. Several other police chiefs joined Administrator Ryan for a dynamic discussion about the supports needed for youth across a continuum of care. She also addressed the association’s Crime Prevention Committee and its Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Subcommittee.

“We share a deep commitment to protecting children and reducing youth crime,” Administrator Ryan told the Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Subcommittee on October 16. “And I know we all agree that police and youth relationships are critical to community safety.” She referred to the impact of OJJDP’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and mentoring programs, and to OJJDP-supported trainings for law enforcement professionals, offered through the National Gang Center, AMBER Alert program, and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

OJJDP Podcast Series Addresses the Opioid Crisis and Its Impact on Youth, Families, and Communities

Logo for the Opioid Affected Youth Initiative

OJJDP’s Opioid Affected Youth Initiative has developed Answering the Call, a nine-part podcast series examining the roles and perspectives of people engaged first-hand in the opioid epidemic—from youth and families to communities, first responders, and the justice system. Episodes include:

  • “It's Not Us and Them, It's Just Us,” which addresses how the crisis impacts youth and families, emphasizing the need for a holistic approach that promotes healing and reduces stigma.
  • “The Frontline,” which examines the critical role played by emergency medical services in addressing the opioid crisis and its impacts on communities.
  • “Balancing Act,” which highlights the role law enforcement officers play and details the emotional and physical challenges they face each day when trying to help people struggling with addiction.
  • “Case by Case,” which examines the intersection of substance use and human trafficking, and considers strategies to help first responders support and connect with victims of trafficking.

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Introduces QR Code To Help Identify Missing Children

QR code for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s new initiative

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has introduced a QR code to help members of the public visually identify children who are missing from their area. Scanning the code with a smartphone opens photographs of children who are missing within 50 miles of the user’s location.

NCMEC spent several years designing and implementing changes that will enhance the search for missing children. In addition to the QR code, they include redesigning the posters that alert the public about missing children. Graduate students from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business helped NCMEC implement a research-based approach to the poster redesign, which eliminates extraneous details and adds the QR code, with instructions on its use.

The AMBER Advocate Highlights OJJDP’s Survival Guide for Parents of Missing Children

Thumbnail of The AMBER Advocate

The latest issue of The AMBER Advocate highlights OJJDP’s When Your Child Is Missing: A Family Survival Guide, a resource the Office first published in 1998. OJJDP has updated the guide and released it with a video library of interviews with parents who contributed to the guide, drawing from their own lived experiences. The article emphasizes their message to other families with missing children: “You are not alone.” The guide and video recordings include recommendations for actions families can take to assist law enforcement efforts and to care for themselves during a time of tremendous turmoil. 

A double issue, The AMBER Advocate also features a new memoir, An Open Book, written by Patty Wetterling, one of the parent-authors of the survival guide. Other articles in the issue highlight the successful recovery of a New York college student, who was found unharmed in Mexico, and Captain Jada Breaux, who leads the Chitimacha Tribal Police Department in south Louisiana.

Several Measures of School-Related Crime Declined Over 10 Years

Thumbnail for “Report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2022”

Reported incidents of several school-related crime and safety issues decreased over time, according to Report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2022, published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Center for Education Statistics. A reference for developers of programs and policies aimed at preventing crime and violence in schools, the report is divided into 23 indicators—summary statistics on aspects of school crime and safety. It cited lower percentages of:

  • Public schools reporting (at least once per week) student bullying (23 percent versus 15 percent), student sexual harassment of other students (3 versus 2 percent), and student harassment of other students based on sexual orientation or gender identity (3 versus 2 percent) between the 2009–2010 and 2019–2020 school years.
  • Students ages 12–18 who reported gang presence (20 percent versus 9 percent), seeing hate-related graffiti (29 versus 23 percent), and being called hate-related words (9 versus 7 percent) at school between 2009 and 2019.
  • Students in grades 9–12 who said they had been in a physical fight on school property in the previous 12 months (11 percent versus 8 percent), carried a weapon on school property during the previous 30 days (6 versus 3 percent), and used alcohol on at least 1 day during the previous 30 days (42 versus 29 percent) between 2009 and 2019.

In contrast, cyberbullying became more prevalent (8 percent versus 16 percent) between the 2009–2010 and 2019–2020 school years, as have some student discipline problems, including student verbal abuse of teachers (5 versus 10 percent) and other acts of disrespect for teachers (9 versus 15 percent).

Date Created: December 12, 2023