James Antal leads OJJDP’s Special Victims and Violent Offenders (SVVO) Division, which administers policies and programs that focus on protecting children against victimization, preventing and responding to youth violence, and holding offenders appropriately accountable.
“Youth mentoring—a consistent, positive relationship between an adult or older peer and youth—can make all the difference in the life of an at-risk young person,” said Mr. Antal. “Our Office supports mentoring for a diverse youth population, including tribal youth, youth impacted by opioids, and children of incarcerated parents. We’re working every day to improve the quality and effectiveness of youth mentoring through the National Mentoring Resource Center’s training and technical assistance that promotes evidence-based practices for the mentoring field.”
In addition, Mr. Antal and his staff play an important role in enhancing the law enforcement response to missing and exploited children through the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, the AMBER Alert program, and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force program.
For several years, OJJDP and the Office of Justice Programs have coordinated a National Law Enforcement Training on Child Exploitation. This is a vitally important resource for law enforcement investigators, prosecutors, and digital forensic examiners who work to combat technology-facilitated crimes against children.
—Associate Administrator James Antal
Mr. Antal oversees programs that provide services for children and youth who are victims of child sexual exploitation and domestic sex trafficking. The SVVO Division’s Victims of Child Abuse Act programs help communities respond effectively to child abuse through children’s advocacy centers, court appointed special advocates, and specialized training for judicial personnel.
Through its gang suppression initiatives, the SVVO Division and OJJDP’s National Gang Center provide planning and implementation support to communities with chronic or emerging gang problems. The National Gang Center provides best‐practice information, training, and strategic tools to prevent and suppress criminal street gang activity. Mr. Antal’s division is also working to increase the availability of direct support services for young victims of gang-related violence and their families, and to develop comprehensive prevention and intervention approaches that address violence in homes, schools, and communities.
Before assuming the position of OJJDP associate administrator, Mr. Antal served at OJJDP as a deputy administrator in the Demonstration Program Division. This division managed congressional earmarks, research projects, and other special initiatives, including mentoring and tribal youth programs. During this time, Mr. Antal was the designated federal official for the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee on American Indian/Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence, and he received the Assistant Attorney General’s award for his work on this initiative. Previously, Mr. Antal worked in the OJJDP State Relations and Assistance Division as a program manager. In addition to managing formula grants for states, he led a workgroup to create the position of a national juvenile justice specialist and served on the compliance monitoring team conducting audits of states to ensure compliance with the core protections of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.
Before joining OJJDP, Mr. Antal served as the state juvenile justice specialist at the Maryland Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention. His work in the Governor’s Office included managing OJJDP pass-through funds as well as fulfilling the role of disproportionate minority contact coordinator. Mr. Antal pursued his undergraduate studies at Millersville University in Pennsylvania. He received a master’s degree from the University of Maryland School of Social Work.