July | August 2017

News in Brief

Operation Broken Heart Results in the Arrest of More Than 1,000 Suspected Child Sexual Predators

 Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force logoLaunched in 2014, Operation Broken Heart is an investigative operation carried out by the OJJDP-funded Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces during April and May to identify and arrest suspected child sexual predators. Operation Broken Heart cracks down on individuals who—

  • Possess, manufacture, and distribute child pornography.
  • Entice children online for sexual purposes.
  • Engage in the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
  • Participate in child sex tourism by traveling abroad to sexually abuse children in other countries.

This year’s effort, Operation Broken Heart IV, resulted in the arrest of 1,012 suspected child predators from more than 40 states. The task forces also delivered 1,245 presentations on Internet safety to more than 99,000 youth and adults during these 2 months.

OJJDP launched the ICAC Task Force program in 1998 to help federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies enhance their investigative responses to offenders who use the Internet, online communication systems, or computer technology to exploit children. To date, ICAC task forces have reviewed 705,963 complaints of child exploitation, which resulted in the arrest of 75,688 individuals. In addition, since the program’s inception, 585,604 law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and other professionals have been trained on techniques to investigate and prosecute ICAC-related cases.

Read a press release about Operation Broken Heart IV.

OJJDP Acting Administrator Garry Encourages Students To Take a Stand Against Violence

The National Campaign to Stop Violence held its Do the “Write” Thing Challenge ceremony at the U.S. Supreme Court on July 24, 2017. The challenge raises awareness about violence among middle school students and encourages these youth to commit to ending the violence. As part of the challenge, students write essays on their experiences with violence. Every year, national ambassadors—school finalists who submit the most powerful entries—are honored in a recognition ceremony in Washington, DC. This year, there were more than 76,000 entrants in the challenge. OJJDP Administrators have been involved with the competition for the last few years. Acting Administrator Eileen M. Garry previously served as a judge for the competition in Montana.

“I urge you all to continue speaking out against violence in your homes, schools, and communities. Your voices are important because they inspire all of us to do more to end violence,” said Ms. Garry in her remarks to the students. “Thank you for your extraordinary courage. Thank you for sharing your experiences with violence and for taking a stand.”

OJJDP Senior Advisor Addresses National Juvenile Justice Network Forum

On July 19, 2017, OJJDP Senior Policy Advisor Catherine Pierce addressed attendees at the National Juvenile Justice Network Annual Forum. Approximately 80 youth policy advocates representing 43 states and the District of Columbia attended the event. Ms. Pierce recognized the critical advocacy work that the attendees do to improve the juvenile justice system. Providing a brief overview of OJJDP initiatives, Ms. Pierce spoke about the importance of communities and practitioners becoming trauma informed and adopting a developmental approach to working with children and youth. Ms. Pierce also provided information about available federal resources and technical assistance that network members can use to further advocate for youth and juvenile justice issues.

Tribal Grantees Discuss Trauma-Informed Practices

An OJJDP-funded report, Ending Violence So Children Can Thrive, revealed that American Indian and Alaska Native children are exposed to violence at higher rates than children of any other race in the United States. On July 19–20, 2017, OJJDP held its Tribal Policy Initiative Cohort meeting in Minneapolis, MN. The goal of the initiative is to support trauma-informed juvenile justice systems for tribes.

This was the first time that representatives from all of the funded tribes—Winnebago, Northern Arapaho, White Earth Band of Chippewa, and Southern Ute—had met with each other and the training and technical assistance (TTA) team. Participants learned about new resources from the TTA team (led by the University of Montana’s National Native Children's Trauma Center), discussed common goals, and shared details of their individual practices to implement culturally specific, trauma-informed juvenile justice practices in their communities.

“Only you and the other members of your tribes have the knowledge and the love needed to heal your children,” said Acting Administrator Garry in her welcoming remarks, “Ultimately, we hope that your work on this initiative will assist other tribes across the nation who wish to follow a similar path.”

The AMBER AdvocateSpring 2017 Issue of The AMBER Advocate Available Now

OJJDP has released the spring 2017 issue of The AMBER Advocate online. This issue highlights a recent study that showed that more than half of underage sex trafficking victims in Las Vegas were never reported missing resulting in no AMBER Alerts being issued. The newsletter also includes an article on the role AMBER Alert played in the recovery of an infant in Maryland, updates of AMBER Alert efforts in Indian country and in international jurisdictions, and profiles of two AMBER Alert Coordinators The newsletter also contains AMBER Alert briefs from states across the country.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the OJJDP-supported National Center for Missing & Exploited Children coordinate the AMBER Alert program. To date, AMBER Alerts have led to the safe recovery of more than 881 abducted children.

Access the spring 2017 issue of The AMBER Advocate.

OJJDP Honored by the National Association of Government Communicators

OJJDP’s Communications Unit has received three Blue Pencil and Gold Screen Awards from the National Association of Government Communicators. OJJDP received an Award of Excellence in the Web Article category for OJJDP Cosponsors National Mentoring Summit. The Office also won second place in the Technical or Statistical Report category for Child Victims of Stereotypical Kidnappings Known to Law Enforcement in 2011 and in the Conference Materials category for its 2016 National Missing Children's Day products.

The National Association of Government Communicators advocates, promotes, and recognizes excellence in government communication. Their annual Blue Pencil and Gold Screen Awards program recognizes superior communication products.

Urban Institute Evaluates OJJDP’s Juvenile Justice Reform and Reinvestment Initiative

cover pageThe Urban Institute's Justice Policy Center has released a series of research reports based on its evaluation of OJJDP's Juvenile Justice Reform and Reinvestment Initiative (JJRRI) implemented at demonstration sites in Delaware, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

JJRRI helped the sites develop and implement a comprehensive approach to juvenile justice decisionmaking and practices to reduce recidivism, increase cost effectiveness, and improve existing services.

The reports examine the implementation of JJRRI, including the Standardized Program Evaluation Protocol (SPEP) as a tool to improve programs and help reduce recidivism. Access and download the reports online: