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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 2018, OJJDP awarded $296,322,376 in grants to support programs, research, training and technical assistance, and information dissemination activities that enhance public safety, ensure young offenders are held appropriately accountable, and empower youth to live productive, lawabiding 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.

Improving Police-Youth Interactions

OJJDP, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ) launched the Police-Youth Engagement initiative to promote collaboration between youth and law enforcement professionals. In November 2016, OJJDP sponsored the first Institute for Police-Youth Engagement to explore best practices and innovative approaches for improving interactions between youth and law enforcement. In July 2017, OJJDP, IACP and CJJ hosted another Police-Youth Engagement event in Charlotte, North Carolina.

OJJDP supports efforts to assist law enforcement agencies in identifying best practices in their responses to youth in their communities. For example, OJJDP funded IACP's Youth Focused Policing Agency Self-Assessment Tool, which allows law enforcement leaders to assess their strengths in responding to youth crime, delinquency, and victimization. Additionally, through the Youth Focused Policing Online Resource Center, IACP makes available a directory of law enforcement programs, details about intervention strategies, and resources, trainings, and tools to help law enforcement in their efforts.

Changing Minds Image

Through the OJJDP-supported Juvenile Justice Law Enforcement Training and Technical Assistance Project, IACP is working to increase the capacity of law enforcement professionals as they address matters that affect youth.

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 more than 3,500 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 FY 2016, OJJDP issued 71 awards totaling $25.6 million to support ICAC efforts around the country. In 2015, ICAC task force programs conducted more than 54,000 investigations and 61,000 forensic exams. These efforts resulted in the arrests of more than 8,500 individuals.

Additionally, through the OJJDP-supported Missing Children's Day Awards, law enforcement officers and others who have made a significant investigative or program contribution to the safety of children are recognized each year.

Working to Prevent Youth Violence

Developed by OJJDP and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Shared Framework to Reduce Youth Violence and Promote Well-Being is designed to facilitate understanding and collective action by those, including law enforcement, whose efforts influence and contribute to safe families and communities.

OJJDP has long supported research, evaluation, training and technical assistance, and demonstration programs aimed at preventing and combating youth violence. For example, in FY 2016, OJJDP awarded more than $1.8 million in funding for Comprehensive Anti-Gang Strategies and Programs.

Through youth mentoring programs, law enforcement and others can help support the positive development of youth, improving self-esteem and reducing delinquent acts. From FY 2008 to FY 2016, OJJDP mentoring appropriations have totaled more than $769 million.

Additionally, the National Gang Center (NGC), jointly funded by OJJDP and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, serves as a clearinghouse for law enforcement agencies and others seeking information about gang prevention and intervention strategies and trainings. NGC also provides guidance to help with the implementation of the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model in different communities.

Program Reviews and Research

Crime Solutions

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 community- and problem-oriented policing, gang prevention and protective factors against delinquency.

OJJDP is also supporting the National Center for Juvenile Justice the research arm of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the American Probation and Parole Association, the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators, the Performance-based Standards Learning Institute, and research staff from the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice in the development and implementation of the Juvenile Justice Model Data Project. The project is creating guidance for juvenile justice stakeholders, including law enforcement, to improve the quality and consistency of juvenile justice data and to increase the appropriate use of data in policy and practice decisions at the local, state, and national levels.


Toolkit Supports Law Enforcement Responses to Children Exposed to Violence

CEV Toolkit

"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.

Additional Resources

OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model

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

Training and Technical Assistance

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.

Juvenile Justice Law Enforcement Training and Technical Assistance Project
Managed by IACP in collaboration with OJJDP, this project is focused on increasing the capacity of law enforcement to address juvenile victimization, delinquency, and crime from a holistic perspective.

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.

Stay Informed

Stay Informed with OJJDP

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 bimonthly online newsletter OJJDP News @ a Glance, or follow OJJDP on Twitter or Facebook.