January | February 2017

OJJDP Staff Highlight Agency Initiatives at National Conference on Juvenile Justice
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges logo

On February 12–15, 2017, OJJDP staff provided overviews of several of the Office’s juvenile justice reform initiatives during the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges’ (NCJFCJ’s) annual National Conference on Juvenile Justice. NCJFCJ is a national organization that helps family and juvenile justice system professionals including judges, probation officers, detention staff, service providers, supervisors, and other system stakeholders to improve the lives of families and children seeking justice. This year’s conference took place in New York, NY.

OJJDP staff members shared information on the Office’s work in the areas of community supervision, justice reform implementation, reentry supports, data analysis, performance evaluation, supportive school discipline, and addressing children’s exposure to violence.

During the session, “Community Supervision: An Effective Alternative to Detention,” Dennis Mondoro, a Senior Policy Advisor at OJJDP, highlighted the goals of OJJDP’s Second Chance Act Smart on Juvenile Justice: Community Supervision Implementation program. Presenters discussed best practices in community supervision, such as strengths, needs, and risk assessments; cognitive-behavioral interventions; family engagement; and permanency planning.

In “Getting Smart on Juvenile Justice: Implementing Statewide Juvenile Justice Reforms,” OJJDP Senior Policy Advisor Scott Pestridge and Program Manager Julia Alanen discussed some of the evidence-based implementation strategies used by states participating in OJJDP’s Smart on Juvenile Justice: A Comprehensive Strategy to Juvenile Justice Reform program. A county administrator from Kentucky shared lessons learned from her state’s implementation efforts, while panelists from the Crime and Justice Institute at Community Resources for Justice, an OJJDP technical assistance provider, helped attendees explore how to integrate successful practices into their juvenile justice work.

Ms. Alanen joined representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC), and Youth Represent for the workshop, “Using Civil Legal Services To Help Justice-Involved Youth Overcome Barriers to Reentry.” The presenters discussed NJDC’s Juvenile Post-Disposition Reentry Legal Fellowship program and the Juvenile Reentry Assistance Program. Funded by OJJDP, the programs help justice-involved youth overcome barriers to reentry following secure confinement or out-of-home placement.

In the session, “10 Juvenile Justice Trends You Should Know About—And How To Stay Current,” OJJDP Social Science Analyst Benjamin Adams presented on data and analyses supported by the agency’s National Juvenile Justice Data Analysis Program. The program is OJJDP’s primary vehicle for conducting statistical analyses and disseminating juvenile justice data to the public.

In “10 Things You Should Know About Your Juvenile Justice System—And What To Do If You Don’t,” researchers from the National Center for Juvenile Justice discussed the objectives of OJJDP’s Juvenile Justice Model Data Project, which are to improve the consistency and quality of justice information and to inform data-driven policy and practice decisions. Participants considered their jurisdictions’ ability to answer 10 basic questions about the youth they serve and their local juvenile justice system’s performance. They were shown how agencies can use the questions as a tool during data collection, evaluation, and research planning efforts.

Barbara Tatem Kelley, a Social Science Analyst at OJJDP, introduced a session on “Emerging Research on School Discipline and Juvenile Justice System Referrals.” Ms. Kelley summarized the ways in which OJJDP and the National Institute of Justice are facilitating supportive school discipline practices and reducing school referrals to the juvenile justice system for disciplinary infractions.

The conference’s closing session, "Changing Minds Campaign: We All Have a Role To Play in Helping Kids Be Safe, Healthy, and Ready To Succeed," focused on the Department of Justice’s Changing Minds national education campaign. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness, teach skills, and inspire public action to address children’s exposure to violence and childhood trauma. Presenters included Catherine Pierce, Senior Advisor to the OJJDP Administrator, and Brian O’Connor, Director of Public Education Campaigns and Programs at Futures Without Violence. They were joined by Moses Robinson, a school resource officer with the Rochester (New York) Police Department and Samantha Buckingham, a public defender with the Center for Juvenile Law & Policy, Loyola Law School–Los Angeles.

The Changing Minds campaign was developed through the OJJDP-administered Defending Childhood Initiative.



A complete list of conference presentations is available on the NCJFCJ website.