Jacqueline “Jackie” O’Reilly, a Deputy Associate Administrator for OJJDP’s Special Victims and Violent Offenders (SVVO) Division, has advocated for youth and families since beginning her federal career almost 25 years ago. Over that time, she has served in multiple roles for OJJDP in between stints with the Navy, the FBI, and OJJDP’s sister component—the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART).
Jackie currently supervises several OJJDP grant programs: Victims of Child Abuse Act, children exposed to violence, youth demonstrating problematic sexual behavior, gang-involved youth, and mentoring. She oversees SVVO staff who manage the programs and ensures OJJDP’s priorities for each are achieved. Jackie also responds to questions from agency leadership and Congress about the overall value, outcomes, and requirements of individual programs.
This year, Jackie has focused on OJJDP efforts to support the Biden-Harris Administration’s initiative to combat the nation’s recent increase in violent crime by investing in evidence-based community violence interventions.
In consultation with senior Justice Department officials, Jackie and SVVO staff looked at ways OJJDP could adjust programs aimed at preventing and reducing violence by youth. They considered possible changes in the training and technical assistance the Office offers to grantees and the approaches employed at project sites. Following those discussions, OJJDP retooled two of its fiscal year 2021 funding opportunities to prioritize the use of community violence interventions by applicants.
Given OJJDP’s focus on child protection and delinquency prevention, it was important that the Office play a role in the interagency effort to address the epidemic in gun violence, Jackie said. “We have a unique perspective on the issue,” she said. “If you give youth opportunities, they will have different outcomes.”
After earning a bachelor’s degree in history from Wellesley College, Jackie received a master’s in social work from the University of Pennsylvania, intending to devote her career to helping families and their communities. Her interest and experience in addressing child abuse led her in 1997 to a job with the Navy’s Family Advocacy Program, where she counseled service members and families involved in allegations of child abuse and domestic violence. She has remained in the federal government ever since.
Jackie’s resume reflects decades of committed service. After 9/11, she helped the FBI’s Office for Victim Assistance create a special unit for victims of terrorism. At SMART, she managed the National Sex Offender Public website, the Support for Adam Walsh Act Implementation Grant program, and other grant programs. In 2016, she was named one of SVVO’s two deputy associate administrators; during previous stints at OJJDP, she was the lead program manager for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and child sex trafficking programs.
While Jackie enjoyed working directly with Navy families, she says her move to OJJDP in 2000 allowed her to support all families on a broader scale. “I’ve worked with children suffering from exploitation, abuse, and neglect, and families dealing with addiction,” Jackie said. “The work we do impacts those families.”
Jackie believes strongly in OJJDP’s mission and enjoys working alongside staff who are equally dedicated to nurturing safe communities and positively impacting lives.