Justice Department officials along with other senior officials from the Administration yesterday convened the third annual National Summit on Preventing Youth Violence to share strategies on how to prevent and reduce violence and gang activity and improve opportunities for young people.
The summit brings together teams of mayors, police chiefs, educators, public health officials and youth from the 10 cities of the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention. Representatives from the faith-based and philanthropic community and other communities involved in federal youth violence initiatives were also in attendance at the two-day summit, which is convened regularly as part of the ongoing work of the National Forum on Youth Violence.
"As a father, it is heartbreaking to know that the majority of America's children -- more than 60 percent of them -- have been exposed to crime, violence, or abuse as victims or as witnesses. Far too many young people continue the cycle of violence by harming others," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "That's why the Obama Administration, led in part by this Justice Department, launched the National Summit on Preventing Youth Violence. Together, in each of our Forum cities, we are rallying local stakeholders to improve law enforcement, increase support for violence prevention efforts and expand access to family and social services."
The forum's 10 participating cities, Boston; Camden, N.J.; Chicago; Detroit; Memphis, Tenn.; Minneapolis; New Orleans; Philadelphia; Salinas, Calif. and San Jose, Calif., will receive more than $2 million total from the Departments of Justice and Education to continue implementing their comprehensive youth violence prevention strategies. In addition, the Justice Department is providing almost $16 million to reduce the impact of violence on child victims and witnesses and to implement other community violence prevention programs.
"Early exposure to violence can have a devastating impact on our children, and its consequences are felt by all of us, in higher healthcare and criminal justice costs, broken families, distressed communities and the potential loss of a future generation of leaders," said Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason. "We are using research to counter the effects of violence and working closely with our federal and local partners to get kids into safe and supportive environments and back on track developmentally."
Teams from Camden, Minneapolis, New Orleans and Philadelphia unveiled their comprehensive plans to address youth violence using not only enforcement but also prevention, intervention and reentry strategies. The summit agenda included panel discussions on the roles of public health and media in youth violence prevention, as well as a series of breakout sessions on a range of topics such as youth employment, street outreach programs, youth mental health services, law enforcement responses to children exposed to violence and community partnerships.
The forum was launched in 2010 at the direction of President Obama, with the Department of Justice, under Attorney General Holder, providing key support. The Departments of Justice, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development and Labor and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy collaborate to support the forum's participating cities, which were selected on the basis of need, geographic diversity, and willingness and capacity to explore new strategies.
For more information on the cities' plans and progress, please visit: www.findyouthinfo.gov/youthviolence.
The forum is administered by the Office of Justice Programs' Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), which works to bring about a nation where children are healthy, educated and free from violence and where youth contact with the juvenile justice system is rare, fair and beneficial. For more information on OJJDP, please visit: www.ojjdp.gov.
The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. For more information on OJP, please visit: www.ojp.gov.