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Enhancing Law Enforcement Efforts and Engagement with Youth


OJJDP envisions a nation where children are free from crime and violence. In fiscal year 2019, OJJDP awarded $323,477,998 in grants to support programs, research, training and technical assistance, and information dissemination activities that enhance public safety, ensure youth are held appropriately accountable, and empower them to live productive, law abiding lives.

OJJDP continues its commitment to programs and initiatives that focus on fostering police-youth relationships and enhancing law enforcement efforts to address and prevent youth victimization and violence.

Additionally, through initiatives such as the Changing Minds campaign and the Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Children Exposed to Violence project, officers can gain a better understanding of the impact of a child's exposure to violence and the positive role police can play in supporting affected youth.

Supporting Efforts to Protect Youth

OJJDP works with law enforcement agencies across the country to protect children from victimization, exploitation and abuse - including in online, social media and other multi-platform environments.

Established in 1998, OJJDP's 61 Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces represent 5,230 federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies. ICAC helps state and local law enforcement agencies develop an effective response to technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation and Internet crimes against children.

In fiscal year (FY) 2023, funding for the ICAC program totaled $40.8 million to support ICAC task forces and training and technical assistance. In FY 2022, more than 850,028 law enforcement officers, prosecutors and other professionals have been trained on techniques to investigate and prosecute ICAC-related cases. Approximately 42,700 people attended these trainings, which provided a forum for information sharing and collaboration among federal state, Tribal, and local agencies to combat technology-facilitated crimes against children.

Working to Prevent Youth Violence

OJJDP has long supported research, evaluation, training and technical assistance, and demonstration programs aimed at preventing and combating youth violence. For example, in FY 2019, OJJDP awarded more than $14.5 million in funding to address youth gangs and violence.

Through youth mentoring programs, law enforcement and others can help support the positive development of youth, improving self-esteem and reducing delinquent acts. In FY 2019, OJJDP awarded more than $83 million and provided 10,141 hours of technical assistance to mentoring organizations, to include Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA).

Bigs in Blue, a program of the BBBSA, was launched in Dallas in 2017. The program was established as a way to build relationships between residents and officers. This program matches police officers, "bigs" with "littles," children who largely come from poor or single-parent homes, or who have an incarcerated parent. Nationwide, more than 82 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies sponsor Bigs in Blue initiatives that, in total, have matched 1,090 police officers with youngsters in the communities they patrol. Learn more about how Bigs in Blue are making a difference in communities. 

Additionally, the National Gang Center (NGC), is a clearinghouse for gang-related research information, and resources such as the evidence-based Comprehensive Gang Model and the Strategic Planning Tool. The center offers customized training and technical assistance to help communities address their unique gang problems. 

Program Reviews and Research

OJJDP's Model Programs Guide (MPG) is an online searchable database of evidence-based juvenile justice and youth prevention, intervention, and reentry programs. Captured on MPG are reviews of programs that relate to law enforcement activities and efforts, including youth-focused policing strategies.

MPG Literature Reviews provide practitioners and policymakers with relevant research and evaluations on more than 50 juvenile justice topics, including interactions between youth and law enforcementcommunity- and problem-oriented policinggang prevention and protective factors against delinquency


Toolkit Supports Law Enforcement Responses to Children Exposed to Violence 

"Enhancing Police Responses to Children Exposed to Violence" is an OJJDP-funded toolkit, developed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Yale Child Study Center. The toolkit is designed to equip law enforcement professionals with trauma-informed, developmentally-appropriate tools to effectively respond to children who have been exposed to violence and childhood trauma.

Additional Resources

Following are examples of topical OJJDP and OJJDP-sponsored publications:

Training and Technical Assistance

The National Gang Center
The National Gang Center provides training and technical assistance to OJP-funded programs and communities across the country to address the issues of youth gun and gang violence. NGC tracks current research and trends on gangs and maintains a database of comprehensive information on the development and implementation of effective gang prevention, intervention, and suppression strategies. 

AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance
Funded by OJJDP and provided by the National Criminal Justice Training Center at Fox Valley Technical College, this program offers training opportunities to improve the investigative response of law enforcement to high risk victims, children in crisis, and the commercial sexual exploitation of youth.

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) Training Programs
NCMEC provides training, technical assistance and other resources to law enforcement professionals and those who investigate cases of crimes committed against children, with focus on cases of missing children and child sexual exploitation.

OJJDP Training and Technical Assistance
On this page, law enforcement professionals can request training and technical assistance using OJJDP's TTA360 user-friendly online request system. They can also access a directory of national network of providers and more.

Stay Informed

Get updates from OJJDP about research, programs, and reports on OJJDP's initiatives that support law enforcement professionals by subscribing to the JUVJUST listserv, the monthly online newsletter OJJDP News @ a Glance, or follow OJJDP on X or Facebook.