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Tribal Youth Programs and Services

OJJDP's Tribal Youth Programs and Services helps tribal communities prevent victimization and juvenile delinquency, reduce violent crime, and improve tribal juvenile justice systems.


OJJDP's Tribal Youth Programs and Services helps tribal communities prevent victimization and juvenile delinquency, reduce violent crime, and improve tribal juvenile justice systems.

Programs and Funding

The Department of Justice's Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS) combines funding from bureaus/offices within the Office of Justice Programs, the Office on Violence Against Women and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. CTAS includes two primary funding sources from OJJDP for federally recognized tribes that focus on youth. These two grant funding programs are described below and can be applied for via the CTAS application. For more information on CTAS, visit Tribal Justice and Safety: Grants.


  • The Tribal Youth Program (FY99-FY16): Supports the ability of tribal governments to prevent juvenile delinquency and respond to, and care for, justice-involved youth.
  • Tribal Juvenile Healing to Wellness Courts (FY15-FY16): The overall goal is to enhance the capacity of tribal courts to respond to the alcohol and substance use-related issues of youth under the age of 21. This can include the development of a new or enhancements to an existing juvenile healing to wellness court.

In addition to those grants available directly to federally recognized tribes through CTAS, OJJDP has funded demonstration mentoring programs, and research and evaluation programs focused on tribal youth. These include:

  • Tribal Youth Mentoring Program (FY08-FY11): Aims to build the capacity of tribes to develop and strengthen tribal youth mentoring programs.
  • Tribal Juvenile Detention & Reentry Green Demonstration Program (FY09): Supports demonstrative program services with an environmental focus for tribal youth residing within or reentering from tribal juvenile detention centers.
  • Tribal Youth Field Initiated Research & Evaluation (FY09-FY12): Practitioner- and policy-maker oriented research and evaluation studies of effective programs, policies, and strategies for the prevention and intervention of tribal youth delinquency.
  • National Intertribal Youth Summit (FY10-FY12): OJJDP hosted an annual youth leadership conference for American Indian and Alaska Native youth (ages 14-17) that focused on critical issues in tribal communities. Building on the successes of these annual events, OJJDP launched the National Intertribal Youth Leadership Development Initiative (FY13-FY17) to further expand leadership development support to tribal youth through regional and national learning events that strengthen the ability of tribal youth to initiate, contribute to and participate in culturally relevant efforts that reduce risk factors and enhance protective factors in youth, schools, communities and families.
  • Mentoring Opportunities for Youth (FY15-FY16): This solicitation supports non-profit applicant organizations as they strengthen and/or expand their existing mentoring activities. Mentoring activities include direct one-on-one, group, peer, or a combination of these types of mentoring services for at-risk and underserved youth populations. Mentoring promotes positive behaviors, attitudes, and outcomes for youth and reduces risk factors. Applicants under the National Mentoring Programs category must develop and implement a plan to serve American Indian and Alaska Native youth, both on and off reservations.
  • Defending Childhood American Indian/Alaska Native Policy Initiative: Supporting Trauma-Informed Juvenile Justice Systems for Tribes (FY16): This solicitation directly addresses several recommendations included in Ending Violence So Children Can Thrive, a report from the Attorney General's Advisory Committee on American Indian/Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence. These recommendations call for tribal alternatives to detention, including use of facilities where children and youth can find safety and easily access services (safe houses); development or revision of tribal juvenile codes to promote trauma-informed, culturally specific and individually tailored care for youth; and wider application of culturally adapted, evidence-based, trauma-informed screening, assessment, and treatment services in tribal juvenile justice and related systems.

Training and Technical Assistance

Training and technical assistance (TTA) is available through several sources:

The OJJDP Tribal Youth Resource Center provides federally recognized tribes with assistance through a variety of approaches including consultation through e-mails, telephone calls, and site visits as well as peer-to-peer dialogue and training, including teleconferences and Web-based discussions. Topics addressed include:

  • capacity building
  • culturally based approaches to prevention and intervention
  • program implementation
  • evaluation
  • enhancement of tribal court systems
  • strategic planning
  • sustainability
  • youth issues, including gangs and youth leadership
  • community readiness assessments
  • cultural adaptation to evidence based programs and practices
  • trauma-informed care

The Indian Country Child Trauma Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center provides TTA to OJJDP tribal grantees and all federally recognized tribes to increase tribal communities’ skills and knowledge about programs and strategies, building capacity to develop effective and sustainable programs for reducing juvenile crime and increasing youth potential in tribal communities.

Through the Alaska Native Youth Training and Technical Assistance Project (FY12–FY16), The Resource Basket, a program of the Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc., provides TTA to OJJDP tribal grantees in Alaska. The mission of The Resource Basket is to help rural communities support healthy, successful and culturally connected Alaska Native youth.

Training and technical assistance support is also available from CSR Incorporated, which manages the Data Collection and Technical Assistance Tool (DCTAT) for grantees to report performance measurement data. CSR staff also provide training and support regarding the selection and use of performance measures and navigating DCTAT. Further information on how to access assistance is available on the DCTAT web page.


OJJDP Contacts

Tenzing Lahdon
Program Manager
Programmatic Contact
[email protected]

Kara McDonagh
Program Manager
Programmatic, Training and Technical Assistance Contact
[email protected]

Kerri Strug
Program Manager
Programmatic, Training and Technical Assistance Contact
[email protected]

Training and Technical Assistance Contacts

Indian Country Child Trauma Center
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
940 NE 13th St., Nicholson Tower, 4N, 4900
Oklahoma City, OK 73104

The Resource Basket
RurAL CAP Office
731 East 8th Ave.
Anchorage, AK 99501
907-278-2309 (fax)


OJJDP Publications

Breaking the Ice: Creating a Dialogue With Youth
OJJDP-Sponsored, October 2017. This sheet provides tribal communities with ideas on how to educate youth about tough situations. 2 pages. NCJ 251735.
Abstract | PDF

Build the Skills To Support Tribal Youth
OJJDP-Sponsored, November 2016. This brief provides summaries of and how to access three role-play simulations designed to prepare adults to guide conversations with tribal youth that will foster their positive development. NCJ 252025. 1 page.
Abstract | PDF

Child Protection FAQ and Guide for Tribal Communities
OJJDP-Sponsored, October 2017. This guide provides tribal communities with an understanding of expectations, steps for an initial response, and frequently asked questions for when a child goes missing. 3 pages. NCJ 251733.
Abstract | PDF

The First Three Hours
OJJDP-Sponsored, October 2017. This information sheet provides tribal communities tips on how to be prepared as a parent or guardian when a child goes missing. The first three hours are the most crucial window of time for an initial response as well as to gather available resources about a child. 2 pages. NCJ 251734.
Abstract | PDF

Safe Routes Program
OJJDP-Sponsored, October 2017. This fact sheet provides information about the Safe Routes Program, which is for youth to identify a place that they can go when they feel unsafe in their own home. NCJ 252020. 6 pages.
Abstract | PDF

Strengthening Indian Country Through Tribal Youth Programs
OJJDP-Sponsored, 2009. This report, prepared by the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) in partnership with OJJDP, provides preliminary findings based on site visits with five Tribal Youth Programs in 2007 and 2008. The purpose was to investigate how individual programs are succeeding in improving the lives of at-risk youth and strengthening families in tribal communities. 24 pages. NCJ 228965.
Abstract | PDF

Tribal Juvenile Healing to Wellness Court Tip Sheet: Consequences and Rewards
OJJDP-Sponsored, May 2017. The Tribal Juvenile Healing to Wellness Court (TJHWC) is a judicial intervention that promotes accountability, healing, and tribal life-ways for court involved youth who suffer from addiction to alcohol and illegal substances. This tip sheet includes a few tips for creating a consequences and rewards system for youth participants. 1 page. NCJ 251265.
Abstract | PDF

Tribal Juvenile Healing to Wellness Handbook: Practical Planning and Supportive Tools
OJJDP-Sponsored, November 2017. This handbook is designed to support both newly developing and established Tribal Juvenile Healing to Wellness Courts (TJHWC). Sections are designed to support teams that may be working through a strategic planning process to implement or expand a TJHWC. The handbook includes many resources from across the body of knowledge related to youth behavior, development, and best practices related to juvenile drug treatment and wellness courts. 125 pages. NCJ 251448.
Abstract | PDF

The Tribal Ten Key Components and Tribal Youth Considerations
OJJDP-Sponsored, May 2017. The "Tribal Ten Key Components" are critical elements identified by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) and serve as a foundation for the development of Drug Courts. 9 pages. NCJ 251264.
Abstract | PDF

Additional Resources

Department of Justice: Tribal Justice and Safety
The Department of Justice launched the Tribal Justice and Safety initiative in June 2009 to increase engagement, coordination and action on public safety in tribal communities.

Department of Justice: Defending Childhood
The Department of Justice's Defending Childhood initiative launched in September 2010 to address a national crisis: the exposure of America’s children to violence as victims and as witnesses.