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The Forum: A Retrospective

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Reflections on the Forum
by Bass Zanjani and Dave Marsden

Forum panel addresses Third Annual Summit on Preventing Youth Violence.

Since its inception, the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention has steadily gained momentum by adding more cities and community partners to its overall effort. Its success, in part, has been based on embracing a new approach for addressing violence that makes use of myriad public and private partners, a strong evidence-based methodology, and a broadening scope of its subject—beyond enforcement to include prevention and intervention.

The National Forum has served as a catalyst for change by introducing to its participating cities emerging practices or concepts such as trauma-informed care, procedural justice, the built environment, and safe routes. As each site brings its knowledge and experiences to the project, other cities report changes in outcomes based on the evidence-based practices and strategies inculcated in their plans.


Funding Opportunities

OJP's FY 2015 Program Plan
The 2015 Program Plan promotes state and local collaboration to stop violent crime and encourages partnerships that support research and evidence-based approaches, improve victim services, and expand reentry efforts. Search for funding opportunities by section.

Training Opportunities

Supportive School Discipline Webinars
A series of Webinars sponsored by the U.S. Departments of Justice, Education, and Health and Human Services will examine disciplinary practices that drive youth away from school and into the justice system. The Webinars were designed in conjunction with the 2011 Supportive School Discipline Initiative to back alternative approaches that maintain school safety while ensuring academic engagement and success.


by Carrie Nathans

Phalanx Famiy Services
Youth enjoys a day at work. Credit: Phalanx Family Services

"Nothing stops a bullet like a job" is a saying heard often in Chicago, Ill., where one antiviolence effort is connecting at-risk and disadvantaged kids to real work opportunities.

One Summer Chicago (OSC) was established in 2011 by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. The program offered teens from some of Chicago's roughest neighborhoods a summer job. Of the 22,500 youths who participated in OSC last year, 1,000 participated in One Summer Chicago Plus (OSC+)—a more intensive program designed by the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) for justice-involved children and kids at risk of becoming involved with the juvenile justice system. From the get-go, an evaluation by the University of Chicago (U of C) Crime Lab was planned to measure the program's effect on violent crime arrests.



Rationalizing the Crime Decline
There are 2.3 million people behind bars in the United States. But a report from the Brennan Center for Justice says incarceration and decreased crime don't go hand in hand. "At today's high incarceration rates," write the authors, "continuing to incarcerate more people has almost no effect on reducing crime." Their findings question whether the economic and societal toll of mass imprisonment is worthwhile, and look to a blending of law, economics, science, criminology, and public policy analysis to address challenges such as poverty, unemployment, and inequality.


Youth Violence Prevention Summit: Save the Date
The Fourth National Summit on Youth Violence Prevention will be held May 11–13, 2015, at a site in the Washington, D.C., area to be determined. The Summit will provide opportunities for representatives from National Forum, Defending Childhood Initiative, and Community-Based Violence Prevention program cities to learn about new strategies for youth violence prevention, to share their experiences of what works in their communities, and to recommit themselves to the task of creating safe communities where youth and families can thrive. Representatives from the international community, officials from foundations and philanthropies, and others interested in moving our work forward will also attend. More details are forthcoming.

Other Resources

Youth Trafficking Infographic
Sexual exploitation and trafficking of minors are two of the most overlooked forms of child abuse in the United States. Although cases have been reported in all 50 states, many people who work with and care for youths on a daily basis fail to see these crimes in their own communities. But there are various areas where the signs can be recognized, including schools, law enforcement, health care, and victim services.

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The National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention Newsletter is prepared under Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Cooperative Agreement No. 2012–MU–FX–K009 with Development Services Group, Inc.

The views, opinions, and content of this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of OJJDP.
1S. B. Heller. Summer jobs reduce violence among disadvantaged youth. Science, 2014; 346 (6214): 1219 DOI: 10.1126/science.1257809.