Message From the Acting Administrator: Collaborating To Meet Youth Needs in 2021
Acting Administrator Chyrl Jones reviews OJJDP's 2021 achievements, including launching the Preventing Youth Hate Crimes & Bullying Initiative, publishing a summary of concerns discussed at OJJDP’s first-ever Tribal Consultation, issuing recommendations for protecting youth in custody during the pandemic, and supporting a White House strategy promoting community-based interventions to reduce gun violence.
Hi. I’m Chyrl Jones, Acting Administrator for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, also known as OJJDP.
As I reflect on 2021, I feel tremendous gratitude for OJJDP's partners—for you, and your dedicated work. Especially last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic touched virtually everything.
Our youth need us—even during the best of times. With so many challenges in 2021, they needed us even more.
So we persevered. We innovated. We collaborated. And we stayed true to OJJDP’s mission: promoting healthy communities with opportunities for youth to thrive, programs that encourage good decisions, and fair systems to prevent youth victimization.
Last year, OJJDP distributed nearly $344 million to fund mentoring programs, children’s advocacy centers, anti-gang programs, drug treatment courts . . . . The list goes on.
We also issued guidance for juvenile detention and corrections facilities, with recommendations for protecting youth in custody during the pandemic.
We published our Tribal Consultation Response, summarizing concerns discussed at OJJDP's first-ever Tribal Consultation and outlining Office commitments to our partners in Indian country.
In May, we launched a website commemorating the Justice Department’s observance of National Missing Children’s Day, honoring the courageous people whose extraordinary efforts helped locate missing children, protect youth from harm, and apprehend child predators.
And OJJDP supported a White House strategy promoting community-based interventions to reduce gun violence. We specifically encouraged grantees to use strategies that engage youth, their families, and their communities to help reduce gang violence and victimization.
We were busy! There were so many occasions in 2021 when we collaborated to learn from each other:
- The Tribal Youth National Conference in April,
- The National Law Enforcement Training on Child Exploitation in June,
- The National AMBER Alert and AMBER Alert in Indian Country Symposium in August, and
- The fourth annual State Relations and Assistance Division National Training Conference in November.
OJJDP also launched our new Preventing Youth Hate Crimes & Bullying Initiative. We held our first symposium focused on preventing identity-based bullying, hate crimes committed by youth, and the radicalization of youth by hate groups.
Nearly 1,500 of our partners gathered on the first day alone: community youth workers, school resource officers, teachers, social workers, and parents. A monthly webinar series will continue through 2022, with strategies and resources to curb hate crimes and prevent youth radicalization.
We understand the importance of connecting with you face to face, but we also prioritize safety—for everyone. So all of our conferences were virtual in 2021, allowing us to offer training and networking opportunities while keeping everyone safe.
I’ll say it again: OJJDP is extremely grateful to our partners. None of us works in a vacuum. When we come together, that’s when we accomplish great things.
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