Quarterly Meeting Agenda
Friday, March 31, 2000
1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Office of Justice Programs
810 7th Street, NW
Main Conference Room
Please note: a picture I.D. is required for admittance.
|Welcome and Introductions
The Honorable Janet Reno, Chair
|Identifying and Meeting the Needs of This Nation's Girls
The Honorable Donna Shalala (invited)
Secretary, US Department of Health and Human Services
Cathy Spatz Widom, Professor of Criminal Justice and Psychology
University of New York at Albany
|Effective Strategies and Programming
Dr. Lawanda Ravoira, President and CEO
PACE Center for Girls, Inc.
|Information Sharing in the Juvenile Justice System: A Training and Technical Assistance Approach
Gwendolyn Dilworth, Program Manager
Training and Technical Assistance Division, OJJDP
|Federal Gender-Specific Programs
US Department of Education (invited)
|Federal Gender-Specific Programs (cont'd)
US Department of Health and Human Services (invited)
|Federal Gender-Specific Programs (cont'd)
Betty Chemers, Acting Deputy Administrator
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), US Department of Justice
|Remarks by Department Representatives
|Discussion on Potential Areas for Collaboration and Development of a National Girls Initiative
John J. Wilson, Vice Chair, Acting Administrator, OJJDP
Quarterly Meeting Summary
March 31, 2000
United States Capitol Building
Mansfield Room S207
"Identifying and Meeting the Needs of the Nation's Girls"
- In Attendance
- Welcome and Opening Remarks
The Honorable Janet Reno, Attorney General, and Chair, Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
- Gender Research
Cathy Spatz Widom, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and University Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the New Jersey Medical School (Newark)
- Effective Strategies and Programming
LaWanda Ravoira, D.P.A., President and Chief Executive Officer, PACE Center for Girls, Inc.
- Federal Gender-Specific Programs
Susan F. Wood, Ph.D., Director, Division of Policy and Program Development, Office of Women's Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
Kenneth R. Warlick, Ph.D., Director, Office of Special Education Programs; and
Betty M. Chemers, Acting Deputy Administrator for Discretionary Programs, OJJDP
- Remarks by Department Representatives
- Allan Levitt, Director of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, ONDCP
- Discussion on Potential Areas for Collaboration and Development of a National Girls Initiative
John J. Wilson, Vice Chair, Acting Administrator, OJJDP
- Closing Remarks
John J. Wilson, Vice Chair, Acting Administrator, OJJDP
The Honorable Janet Reno, Chair, Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice; John J. Wilson, Acting Administrator, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice; Renee Bradley, Special Assistant to the Director of Research, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), U.S. Department of Education; Dr. Larry K. Brendtro, President, Reclaiming Youth International; Kimberly J. Budnick, Director, Concentration of Federal Efforts, OJJDP; John Calhoun, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Crime Prevention Council; Dr. Larry EchoHawk, Professor, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, UT; the Honorable Adele Grubbs, Juvenile Court of Cobb County; Colien Hefferon, Associate Administrator, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); Elizabeth Herskovitz, Acting Juvenile Coordinator, Immigration and Naturalization Service; Bertha Jones, Program Analyst, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Allan Levitt, Chief, Education Branch, Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP); the Honorable Gordon Martin, Associate Justice, Massachusetts Trial Court, District Court Department; Richard Morris, Youth Development Specialist, U.S. Department of Labor; Ann Segal, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Initiatives, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); Charles Sims, Chief, City of Hattiesburg Police Department; Ernie Thomas, Management Analyst, U.S. Department of the Treasury; Arthurine Walker, Director, Constituent Outreach, Corporation for National Service; and Jim Wright, Coordinator of Youth Alcohol Programs, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation.
Attorney General Janet Reno welcomed everyone, saying she was thankful for the Council's continued support. The work done around the country is exciting, but there is an emerging problem involving at-risk girls and young women entering the juvenile justice system. Statistics reveal the magnitude of this problem. The increase in juvenile arrests since 1991 has been greater for females than for males. In 1998, females accounted for 22 percent of juvenile arrests for aggravated assault and 31 percent of juvenile arrests for simple assault. Females represented 58 percent of all juvenile arrests for running away from home. Female arrests for weapons violations nearly tripled between 1981 and 1997, while male rates nearly doubled. During the same time period, the female rate for larceny grew by 40 percent while the male rate stayed constant. The number of delinquent cases for females rose 76 percent from 1987 to 1996 compared with 42 percent for males.
Victims of rape are disproportionately children and adolescent females. According to a report by the Center for Women and Policy Studies, two-thirds of convicted rapists surveyed said that their victims were younger than 18 and that the majority knew their victims. In a Commonwealth Fund survey, 21 percent of high school girls surveyed reported past physical or sexual abuse, the majority occurring at home and more than once. Women also are three times more likely to be victims of family violence that men. In addition, eating disorders are more prevalent among girls. In one study, 80 percent of girls report unsafe dieting practices.
Limited attention has been focused on the needs of girls and women. Gender-specific programs are also rare. Gender bias often occurs when girls are placed in programs designed to meet the needs of males, often with negative results. However, there are a few examples of good State and local programs. In 1993, Oregon became the first State to require that girls and boys have equal opportunity and access to human and correctional services and that these services not be gender neutral or generic. Colorado has funded the Girls Equitable Treatment Coalition, a State advisory subcommittee that oversees policy and program development for female offenders. Florida initiated the Female Offender Research Project in 1997 to provide information on female offenders. Missouri sponsored regional focus groups to assess early identification and other services for females prior to court involvement. The University of Hawaii Center for Youth Research published Girls at Risk: An Overview of Female Delinquency. Iowa produced a desk protocol providing a list of services for female offenders.
The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 requires States to complete an analysis of gender-specific services available and a plan for providing needed gender-specific services for the prevention and treatment of juvenile delinquency. The State Challenge Activities Program of 1992 assists States in addressing gender bias and program equity so that females have access to a full range of programs and training. OJJDP has also contracted with Greene, Peters, and Associates to publish Guiding Principles for Promising Female Programming: An Inventory of Best Practices.
The Council's role is to develop an Interagency Public and Private Working Group on Gender, which will complement OJJDP's establishment of a National Girls Study Group. Participants will include criminologists, statisticians, developmental psychologists, juvenile justice researchers, practitioners, and correctional researchers. Attorney General Reno stated that she would also add public health specialists, because a partnership between the juvenile justice system and the public health system could be extraordinarily effective.
The National Girls Study Group would review the literature on juvenile female violence, delinquency, antisocial behavior, and victimization; conduct a broad assessment of what is known and identify gaps in intervention and prevention; and report on effective intervention and prevention efforts. The Interagency Working Group on Gender, in addition to supporting the work of the Study Group, would catalog programs across Federal agencies and coordinate gender-specific efforts. To assist in this collaboration, OJJDP is developing a solicitation (available May 2000) to create a National Institute for Girls. The Institute will foster the development and implementation of a comprehensive continuum of gender-responsive prevention, intervention, and graduated sanctions and services for girls to meet the needs of diverse jurisdictions and communities.
Attorney General Reno said that the Institute might also examine what happens in each instance of female offending. She has been impressed by the detailed reporting required of local authorities in the case of traffic fatalities. Because of this, there is a good understanding of why people are killed in traffic accidents. Similarly, this type of reporting would increase our understanding of female offending. The more our efforts are fueled by solid information, the more effective we will be. The Coordinating Council has been effective in helping design a continuum and explaining its importance to the public.
John J. Wilson thanked the Attorney General for coming. He noted that gender bias in the juvenile justice system will continue to be a major issue for OJJDP and the Council, but that there are many exciting ways in which agencies can work together to address programming for girls. He then introduced the first of the afternoon speakers.
Dr. Cathy Spatz Widom stated that criminologists have concentrated on male offenders and male delinquency and that females have been largely overlooked by researchers and funding agencies. Traditional assumptions about females in general have influenced research and theory.
Two general reasons have been offered for neglecting the study of female criminality. The first is that the nature of female offending does not threaten social functioning. The second focuses on the small number of women that are arrested and the small proportion of women in prison. However, it appears that female criminal activity has increased more rapidly than male criminal activity. In 1998, females represented 26 percent of general arrests. In 1996, the violent crime arrest rate for females was three times higher than 30 years earlier. Since 1993, there has been a drop in violent crime arrest rates for boys and girls, but the drop has been more dramatic for boys.
The nature of female offenses has also changed over time. Since 1970, the arrest rate ratio of males to females for violent crime has declined substantially. Thus, the disparity between male and female crime is decreasing, and the crimes they commit are becoming more similar. Cases involving females are less likely to be disposed of by detention or long-term confinement.
In all cases, female offenders are receiving less harsh dispositions than dispositions received by males. However, recent changes in the law-mandatory sentences for drug crimes and lowering of the age at which juveniles can be tried in criminal court-have resulted in more juveniles serving time in prison, often in adult facilities. Few studies have examined the effects of incarceration on juveniles, but what is known suggests that the effects are not positive. Dr. Widom stressed that nothing is known about the consequences of confinement on females.
Most juvenile detainees are released to the community and face substantial barriers to mental health and other services. Many are poor and uneducated and have minimal social networks and unmet psychiatric needs. To date, little empirical evidence exists to document these needs.
Little research exists on the psychological morbidity of female juvenile delinquents, and, apart from a few recent exceptions of research in progress, what little there is focuses on small samples. The research suggests that the prevalence rate of psychiatric disorders among female juvenile detainees is three to five times higher than that of the general population. At least one-half have substance abuse problems, and comorbidity or the cooccurrence of problem behaviors is the norm. Based on limited research, there is also a suggestion that girls may have more mental health issues than do boys.
The role of early childhood abuse and neglect is also important. We typically think of boys who, as victims of violence, become perpetrators of violence as adults. We assume that victimized girls internalize their experience; however, the evidence reveals that this is not so. Compared with nonabused and nonneglected girls, abused and neglected girls are twice as likely to be arrested as juveniles, twice as likely to be arrested as adults, and more than twice as likely to be arrested for violent crimes.
It has been speculated that status offenders can be ignored because they do not escalate in their offending behavior. However, the data indicate that a substantial proportion of female status offenders go on to become adult offenders. More than one-third of the girls in Dr. Widom's study who were not victims of abuse and neglect and almost one-half of abused and neglected girls had a record of status offenses. Early intervention may be important in preventing this escalation, but we need to know the best method of prevention.
Much has been written about the role of child abuse in running away and triggering a girl's entry into delinquency. Good evidence supports the notion that child abuse and neglect increases girls' and boys' risk of being arrested and running away. Children that run away, even those with no known history of abuse and neglect, are more likely to be arrested as juveniles and adults.
The question has been asked if the criminal behavior of young girls is a passing effect of adolescence or if it signifies serious behaviors that will persist into adulthood. The few existing longitudinal studies of girls reveal that girls do poorly across the few domains of functioning that have been examined (school completion rates, family court involvement as adults, and offsprings' higher risk of placement outside the home). Dr. Widom's work on career trajectories has identified a group of high-rate, chronic, or persistent female offenders who are more likely to be abused and neglected, who have peak offending at ages 26 and 27, and who average one arrest every 2 years through age 35. Almost one-half have been arrested for violent offenses. This pattern is similar to a small group of males.
Dr. Widom concluded that there has been a rapid increase in the overall rate of juvenile female crime over the last 30 years. Traditional explanations may not explain this increase. Researchers need to examine the role of childhood experience, neighborhoods, families, and the individual characteristics of female offenders. Intervention must happen when girls first come into contact with the system as status offenders or runaways to prevent adult criminal behavior. Running away may be a critical point for positive intervention, particularly for very young runaways and those who are abused and neglected. Research is needed on the effects of various interventions and the role of psychiatric morbidity in female crime. There is an urgent need to develop a research agenda on female juvenile offenders to determine ways to intervene effectively and prevent the development of antisocial behavior.
Richard Morris asked if this increase has to do with aggressive prosecution or a kind of "freedom of expression" on the part of girls. Dr. Widom said there is a dearth of systematic information that can answer these questions. Aggressive prosecution or freedom of expression could be factors, but so could poverty or a sense of deprivation. Research would help test the assumptions made previously and, perhaps, erroneously.
Jim Wright noted the closing of the gender gap in motor vehicle fatalities. Male fatalities have dropped off while female fatalities have remained the same. John Calhoun said that some judges have criminalized young girls to get them services. Dr. Widom stated that the psychological morbidity and cooccurrence of behaviors seen among girls may be exaggerated because they are funneled into these services.
Mr. Wilson noted that some States have instituted effective services for status offenders that do not involve bringing in the juvenile justice system or locking up offenders. Dr. Widom said it would be exciting to have research that would indicate conclusively the most effective ways to deal with these status offenders.
Dr. LaWanda Ravoira discussed program strategies used by the PACE Center that could be used in prevention, early intervention, or a deep-ended residential commitment program. PACE, which grew out of the lack of gender-specific services for girls and young women in Jacksonville, FL, is a nonresidential community-based program that works with nearly 2,000 girls per year. Dr. Ravoira reported that about 75 percent of the girls at PACE have been sexually abused, 75 percent are living in single- parent households, most are 2-6 years behind academically, and many struggle with language barriers.
Before PACE existed, judges had to deep-end girls to find a placement for them or send them home where they would continue to be abused. PACE was founded in 1985 on the belief that holistic work with girls and their families serves them better. Last year, 98 percent of at-risk girls who were served by PACE did not reoffend. PACE provides 3 years of transition services to any girl in the program.
PACE provides a middle and high school education program with a staff/student ratio of 1:10. The "Smart Girls" gender-specific curriculum serves girls 12-18 years old and is designed to honor and celebrate girls and young women and the perspective of females.
The curriculum also honors family and cultural perspectives. The girls are involved in community service as a way of giving back to their communities and addressing their spiritual needs. Staff provide one-on-one counseling specific to the feminine perspective. Eating disorders are a major area of concern. Girls sometimes reject their bodies, often due to victimization by people they should have been able to trust. Girls also have to deal with feelings of shame due to victimization, sexual abuse, and a society that does not honor the female perspective or celebrate girlhood.
The Center uses strategies developed by the Valentine Foundation as part of the curriculum and daily activities. Girls need space that is physically safe and removed from those who depend on them and from the attention of adolescent males. Girls must have the opportunity to find out who they are without regard to the attention of males. Within a few weeks, girls say, "This feels like family. I have a bunch of sisters," and they stop wearing heavy makeup and provocative clothes.
Girls need to talk to one another because they use language differently than young men do and need time to process their emotions. They need opportunities to be heard and to have emotionally safe, nurturing conversations.
Girls also need a voice in the design, implementation, and evaluation of a program if the proposed benefits are to be relevant to them. At a very young age, girls lose their voice because society believes that girls should be seen and not heard. They need to be able to channel their voices in productive ways.
Girls also need education about how their bodies function. Primary healthcare issues are a major concern. Some girls have primary healthcare issues that result in sterility at adolescence. Of equal importance is teaching girls how to have healthy sexual relationships.
Girls need mentors. Girls change through positive relationships with peers who have similar experiences and with women who do not. Mentors have to share their experiences honestly with mentees.
Girls have varying personal and cultural strengths that must be tapped. Young women's souls must be fed, so programming must have a strength-based perspective. For example, running away from home can, from a girl's perspective, be one of the most positive things she can do. This type of experience has to be reframed to honor the female perspective and girls' developmental stages.
Girls are at risk as they transition from childhood to adolescence, so the Division of Policy and Program Development in the Office of Women's Health has focused on this transition point. The Division uses the public health model, with the goal of preventing the development of risky behaviors or health habits. Girls' immediate view is of short-term consequences (e.g., STD's, pregnancy, HIV/AIDS), but there are also long-term consequences that need to be addressed, such as lung cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis. The goal is to develop good habits early.
Girl Power, a national public education campaign focusing on 9- to 14-year-old girls, was launched in November 1996 as a secretarial initiative in HHS in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, the Office of Women's Health, and the Secretary's Public Affairs Office. Girls tend to lose self-confidence and their sense of self-worth during the transition period from childhood to adolescence. The campaign provides accurate health information to help them develop skills to resist unhealthy influences and make positive choices. It supports girls and the adults who care about them and provides skill building and self-esteem through academics, arts, sports, and other arenas. The goals of the program dovetail naturally with the goal of keeping them out of the juvenile justice system.
The campaign first focused on public awareness of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, but nutrition, eating disorders, and physical activity have since been added. The campaign is now focusing on special populations. The campaign features a very popular Web site, which, after 2 years, is getting nearly 2 million hits each month.
Initiative members are currently working on the release of a community education kit that summarizes the activities going on around the country. They have created an activity guide in partnership with the Girl Scouts of America that can be taken up by grassroots and community organizations. They are also collaborating with YES magazine to target urban girls, particularly African American girls.
The initiative is working to integrate Girl Power into other HHS youth-serving programs and is developing a program called "Girl Neighborhood Power" to work with nongovernmental organizations in four sites nationwide. Members are also working with the Food and Drug Administration to develop a Girl Power component to the Web site that focuses on girls with chronic illness and disabilities. They are focusing on eating disorders and body image and have created information and guidance for dissemination to middle schools for teachers, school nurses, coaches, parents, and friends of girls with eating disorders. They are working with the Office of Research on Women's Health at the National Institutes of Health to put a health science curriculum online, which is targeted at middle and high school girls and boys, that highlights issues important to girls.
Dr. Susan Wood closed by saying that their work follows up the Beijing Fourth World Conference on Women, part of which focuses on girls' education and health. The President's Interagency Council on Women, convened by Secretary of State Madeline Albright, has just released America's Commitment for the Year 2000, which summarizes everything being done for women across the Federal Government, including a section on girls.
Mr. Wilson asked if any evaluation activity is underway to measure the impact of the public education campaign. Dr. Wood said that evaluation of the materials and impact of the Eating Disorders and Bodywise Campaign has just begun. They should have information in a year or two.
Kenneth R. Warlick, Ph.D., Director, Office of Special Education Programs
Dr. Kenneth Warlick first discussed what is known about gender differences in special education. Recent research suggests that women are underrepresented in the special education population and have been ignored. Although the school-age population comprises equal numbers of males and females, two-thirds of all students in special education are male. Research indicates that males are more than twice as likely to experience severe disabilities. They are twice as likely to have a reading disorder as females. Thirty percent of children identified with learning disabilities are female and 70 percent are male. Twenty percent of children with emotional disabilities are female and 80 percent are male. The high number of males in special education has been attributed historically to the overrepresentation of males, but the tracking of males into special education could be the result of gender-biased decisions.
A 1992 report from the Association of American University Women report indicated that gender bias can take many forms. Teachers call on boys more than girls, encourage more assertive behavior from boys than girls, and evaluate boys for creativity and girls for neatness. There has not been a similar study on teacher attention and behavior relative to disabilities.
From 1987 to 1993, OSEP conducted the National Longitudinal Transition Study of Youth, which provided information on the transition of youth from high school to postsecondary opportunities. The study revealed that females with disabilities had fewer opportunities to participate in high school vocational courses, lower employment rates, and lower wages than males, even though their academic performance was higher and they were truant less often. Females with disabilities were more likely to become single mothers at an early age (40 percent, compared with 28 percent of females in the general population).
Dr. Michael Wehmeyer at the University of Kansas and Harilyn Rousso, Director of Disabilities Unlimited in New York City, have recently completed a 5-year study on gender issues, that will be published as Double Jeopardy: Addressing Gender Equity in Special Education Services. When females with disabilities leave high school, they have less positive outcomes in terms of self-reliance and self-satisfaction than do boys with disabilities. They also have limited access to afterschool programs, which leads to isolation. Boys are more likely to act out, which increases the likelihood of referral to special education programs. Female behavior tends to be more internal and less disruptive, which affects referrals and support for females. In a review of special education referrals decisions, it was found that females were more likely to be placed in restricted or segregated settings and had lower IQ scores than males. Although 20 percent of males had behavior issues listed as a concern, only 2.5 percent females had these listed. Once in special education, males were more likely to the program than females.
The Center on Education, Disabilities, and Juvenile Justice found increased rates for students with disabilities in the juvenile justice system, including an increase in the rate of female students. Very few studies deal with females in the juvenile justice system. In an analysis of more than 200 studies on intervention and delinquency between 1970 and 1996, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) found that 53 percent of the studies focused entirely on boys and 34 percent focused primarily on boys. We do not know as much about females with disabilities in juvenile justice as we should. We do know that males and females differ greatly with respect to the frequency and severity of offense. Females tend to have lower rates of offending, but their offenses tend to be more extreme. Antisocial behavior is less a predictor of later issues for young females than it is for male students.
OSEP showcased two research initiatives at a national summit, Better Behavior Better Schools, which focused on the Regional Intervention Program based in Tennessee. This program taught parents how to manage children who were exhibiting violent behaviors at age 3. By teaching parents intervention and behavior management strategies, officials did not have to refer any of the children to special education services. Another program, the Schoolwide Project on Positive Behavior Supports, taught behavior principles to all school staff, who in turn taught the principles to the students. Middle schools reduced referrals for discipline over 3 years. Elementary schools reduced suspensions by 68 percent in 1 year. This type of systematic intervention could reduce the behavioral concerns of many schools, freeing them to devote their energy and resources to youth with more severe problems. This year, OSEP issued a directed research proposal on gender issues and plans to fund three 3-year projects at about $180,000 per year. OSEP will also contribute expertise and financial resources to the proposed Center on Gender Issues under development at OJJDP.
Betty M. Chemers, Acting Deputy Administrator for Discretionary Programs, OJJDP
Much has been said about the scope of female victimization, girls' entry into the juvenile justice system, and the dearth of programming options. However, there is a great deal happening, which indicates that the time is right for a greater concentration of effort. The current situation is similar to the one 20 years ago, when the problems of female criminality were addressed. This second period should be capitalized on as well.
Betty Chemers stated that some researchers and policymakers are skeptical about the increase in female delinquency. These people point to other factors that may be at work, such as assault cases that are the result of parents pressing charges. This skepticism, however, should not detract from attention to the fact that a limited system of care or services exist to assist females. These gaps need to be filled.
As the Attorney General mentioned, OJJDP has a mandate to deal with gender issues. The 1992 Challenge Grant Program gave this mandate teeth. For example, the State of Utah used these moneys to develop a curriculum for training the staff of a new division on female offenders. A committee was formed to review gender-related issues and provide statewide training.
Our efforts have been focused on training and technical assistance efforts that focus on the needs of girls. OJJDP has developed two key publications for the field. The first, Guiding Principles for Promising Female Programming: An Inventory of Best Practices, was published in October 1998 and will be reissued in late fall 2000. The second, Investing in Girls: A 21st Century Strategy, was released in October 1999. OJJDP is also developing three curriculums:
- A 1-day training curriculum for policymakers and program administrators who work in corrections, human services, and other settings serving females.
- A 2-day training for entry level staff who work with girls will be complete October 2000.
- A training to train and certify a group of trainers and send them into the field with an instructional manual and the skills to teach others.
The goal is to reach as many people as possible and to keep this issue in the forefront of juvenile justice matters. A Web site on gender will be linked to the OJJDP Web site. Greene, Peters, and Associates and the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory are establishing a clearinghouse in Oregon (888-877-0691).
Some of our challenges are to understand the developmental pathways girls follow to become delinquent and the nature of their offending and to identify the treatments that are most effective. What is known about girls comes from longitudinal studies of boys, but efforts are underway to remedy this situation. OJJDP has provided funding for a longitudinal study with National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The study, conducted by Dr. Rolf Loeber, will involve 2,500 inner-city girls ages 6 to 8 and focus on conduct disorders. This research will provide valuable data about the developmental pathways of girls.
OJJDP also has a number of field-initiated research projects. One, conducted by the University of Michigan, will evaluate three programs, including a program that incorporates gender-specific programming and another that is a female-only traditional residential program.
These research activities will make a major contribution to the field. In addition, OJJDP's FY 2000 program plan announced that the agency will establish a National Girls Study Group, which will be similar to its efforts on serious, violent juvenile offending and on very young offenders. The Study Group, which will be announced as a competitive solicitation, will systematically review the literature on juvenile female violence, delinquency, antisocial behavior, and victimization to identify the causes and correlates of female delinquency, promising interventions, successful programs, and future research and programming. OJJDP plans to create a National Institute for Girls to provide nationwide leadership for improving outcomes for delinquent and at-risk girls. The Institute, which will be announced as a competitive solicitation in June 2000, will support research; national, State, and local training; technical assistance; and information dissemination.
Judge Martin asked whether the training of the trainers would include State employees. Ms. Chemers said it would be open to interested people who would apply for admission. Mr. Calhoun asked if girls need their fathers as much as delinquent boys need their fathers. Ms. Chemers deferred to Dr. Widom, who said that this was an excellent question, but that, again, no research has been done that would answer it. Mr. Wilson said that the priority of the National Institute for Girls would be to establish a research agenda.
Allan Levitt, Director of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, ONDCP, showed two public service announcements (PSA's) targeting girls. The campaign has specific, research-based platforms for youth and adults. One PSA will be in movie theaters in May; the other will be on television. His office purchases advertisements in huge quantities, half of which they sell to other groups and agencies that have a drug prevention component. He invited everyone to apply through the Ad Council. His office also does outreach to the entertainment industry and recently held a seminar for writers on sex, teens, and drugs. His office is interested in partnering with other groups on similar efforts.
Discussion on Potential Areas for Collaboration and Development of a National Girls Initiative
Shay Bilchik, Administrator, OJJDP, Vice Chair, Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Mr. Bilchik reviewed some of OJJDP's efforts in this area, which are premised upon its Comprehensive Strategy for dealing with serious, violent, and chronic offenders. One of the elements of the Comprehensive Strategy is the need to support parents and their primary role in nurturing their children. The focus of OJJDP's programs has been on local communities, children's needs and their risk factors, and on the overlapping influences in the child's life.
There are no clear demarcations between the different domains of a child's life, Mr. Bilchik said; instead, there is a synergy between the factors that increase the probability of delinquency. When children have multiple negative influences in their lives, those influences surface in a kind of multiplier effect, increasing the probabilities of bad behavior. Programming needs to be holistic and multisystemic, but the core element continues to be a family strengthening component.
An example of this type of multisystemic therapy approach can be found in a South Carolina family and neighborhood services program that examines the home environment and how to influence the ability of the family to handle the issues children face with school, peer groups, and the community. This program saw reductions of 50 percent in delinquent behavior, and the key element was strengthening the family.
This approach is highlighted in OJJDP's work in four key areas-research and evaluation, demonstration replications, training and technical assistance, and information dissemination. In addition to publishing a series of bulletins on effective practices, OJJDP wants to refine how it uses the Internet and to continue the use of satellite teleconferencing to get the message out to communities. OJJDP recently developed a new webpage on disabilities that incorporates no new research but links many sources of information.
Michael MacPhail, Judge, County and Youth Courts of Forrest County, MS, asked that the Federal agencies coordinate with one another and blend their funding to allow local communities to address their problems.
Mr. Wilson asked for suggestions from Council members on potential areas of collaboration for a national initiative on girls. Mr. Levitt said that this is the only major English-speaking country that does not require media education in schools. When youth are able to perceive racial or gender stereotypes in the media, they are more able to withstand the effects of media. Ann Segal said that the public health service's Healthy People 2010 effort, released February 2000, will track a number of items of interest to the Council: access to services, obesity, and eating disorders. Many public health service people at the State and local level focus on those indicators.
Mr. Morris said that an interagency working group on gender is reasonable in light of the little research available and the need for a research agenda. Colien Hefferon said that USDA supports the national 4-H system, which is the largest youth serving program in the Nation. One of the challenges USDA faces in developing programs through the land grant system is understanding resiliency in youth and knowing how to generalize from the research. Ms. Hefferon supports, as a central part of the initiative, setting a research agenda to target programs more effectively.
Dr. Brendtro said it would be useful to link other areas of research to research on girls. He noted that the system places girls in situations that do not meet their developmental needs. He cited one girl who was killed in a South Dakota boot camp. Another girl in a North Dakota facility was allegedly raped and 2 weeks later committed suicide. His organization, Reclaiming Youth, has produced two publications focusing on girls-one a magazine that features articles about girls and the other entitled Reclaiming Our Prodigal Sons and Daughters.
Renee Bradley reiterated the point that all the agencies must come together because one agency alone cannot address the needs of girls who have disabilities or are at risk. OSEP will contribute its experience and funding to a working group on girls. This effort will ultimately benefit States and local authorities.
Mr. Wilson agreed that the issue involves all the interests represented on the Council. Discussions will continue about the National Institute for Girls and the Interagency Working Group on Gender so that Federal efforts can be coordinated.
Judge Martin said that the continuing placement of juveniles in Federal custody is of ongoing concern and suggested updating the task force report on that topic.
Mr. Wilson said that the next Council meeting would tentatively focus on employment and training services for high-risk and delinquent juveniles. There would also be a progress report on gender. He thanked everyone for coming to the meeting.