Quarterly Meeting Agenda
Wednesday, December 9, 1998
Office of Justice Programs
Please note: a picture I.D. is required for admittance.
Quarterly Meeting Summary
December 9, 1998
Office of Justice Programs
The Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention held its quarterly meeting on Wednesday, December 9, 1998, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Office of Justice Programs in Washington, DC. Shay Bilchik, Vice Chair and Administrator, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), welcomed members and invited guests to the Council meeting. A list of those who attended the meeting is included at the end of this summary.
Forum on Adolescence: Current Trends Related to Youth Development
Michele D. Kipke, Ph.D., Director, Board on Children, Youth, and Families, and Forum on Adolescence, Institute of Medicine, National Research Council, NAS, reported on a new NAS initiative, the Forum on Adolescence.
In planning for the Forum, NAS planners considered important demographic changes that will underlie decision making as the Nation approaches the 21st century. According to the U.S. Census, the number of children becoming adolescents and preteens is increasing. At the same time, fertility rates are decreasing, resulting in a population with more adolescents than ever before. The demographic profile also has changed; whites will be in the minority and children of color will become the new majority.
Indicators of health and well-being today show the percentage of adolescents living below the poverty line is 15 percent. By ethnicity, statistics show that 33 percent of African American, 35 percent of Hispanic, and 15 of percent white adolescents live below the poverty line. Children of poverty are at significant risk for a wide variety of negative outcomes: delinquency, drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, AIDS or other sexually-transmitted diseases, poor academic achievement, and poor preparation for the workforce. The percentage of adolescents living in distressed neighborhoods is 25 percent African American, 10 percent Hispanic, and 5 percent white. Indicators for distressed neighborhoods include factors such as poverty and residents who are single heads of households, welfare recipients, or high school dropouts. And the leading causes of mortality-vehicle death, homicide, and suicide-are all preventable.
To lead productive and constructive lives, Dr. Kipke said, adolescents need to find a valued place in a group, feel a sense of worth, experience durable relationships, be able to make deliberate informed choices, be useful, believe in a real future, express constructive curiosity, and develop respect for democratic leadership and responsible citizenship. Accomplishing these goals requires bringing together institutions that support and influence young people such as families, schools, churches, healthcare providers, advertisers, businesses and local, State, and Federal agencies.
The Forum on Adolescence was established to provide authoritative nonpartisan analysis of research and policy issues that relate to young people and their families. This work is accomplished by synthesizing, analyzing, and evaluating critical scientific research that relates to families and disseminating it in a useful way.
The Forum has identified several themes in planning future research:
Ann Rosewater, Counselor to the Secretary, Office of Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), asked for a similar elaboration on the Forum's community focus. Although there has been enormous investment in youth development programs, Dr. Kipke said, it is still not clear what the most promising strategies are. Evaluations vary or do not exist at all, and it is not clear what can be learned from some of the demonstration projects. The Forum will be looking at what has been learned in the past 10 years and examining whether the outcomes make sense and if indicators are well-matched to programs.
Judith Heumann, Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education, asked if the Forum planned to include work on disabled youth, including those with physical, learning, and emotional disabilities. Dr. Kipke said there has been much discussion about how to address this population in such areas as education and preparing youth for independent living.
Issue Update: The Link Between Child Maltreatment and Juvenile Delinquency-Recommendations From the Interagency Working Group
The Honorable William R. Byars, Jr., Judge, Family Court of Kershaw County, SC, reported on recommendations for action from the Interagency Working Group on the Link Between Child Maltreatment and Juvenile Delinquency. In developing an action plan, Judge Byars said, the Working Group's first task was to determine whether or not there was a connection between child maltreatment and juvenile delinquency. It became very clear there is a relationship. According to a Sacramento County study, over 50 percent of all prisoners come from families where there has been a history of abuse and neglect of some members of the family. Victims of child maltreatment are 67 times more likely to become prisoners. Looking only at male offenders, that number is 100. These numbers escalate with the addition of other risk factors such as the incarceration of a parent or sibling, parental substance abuse, or school failure. If we do not correct this situation, Judge Byars said, we are not protecting the public and we are certainly not taking care of the children.
The Working Group's recommendations to the Coordinating Council are as follows:
Mr. Bilchik thanked the Interagency Working Group for their productive work and said the Council is ready to take action on the plan. OJJDP has already sent letters to the States about the possibility of State forums and has received unanimously positive responses. He asked that the Working Group continue to work together to develop concrete strategies for action.
Janet Reno, Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), asked Judge Byars whether the Working Group had considered using Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) officers, who are regularly in a neighborhood, to identify cases of child victimization and to encourage reporting. The Working Group discussed connections with COPS, teachers, and the court, but did not specifically address this as a possible reporting vehicle. Michael McPhail, Judge, Juvenile Court of Forrest County, MS, said in his county COPS had brought a social worker to their station in public housing. He does not have statistical information yet, but, anecdotally, the crime rate is down.
Mr. Bilchik described the promising approach of the Child Development-Community Policing (CD-CP) program in New Haven, CT, where community police work along with mental health providers who can deliver services immediately when needed.
Ms. Reno added that some communities have extended Community Oriented Policing Services to probation officers, who can ride along, knock on the door, and check a home. Judge Byers described a program that seems to be having success in South Carolina that uses volunteer probation officers, with authority over one child, as an advocate and as an officer of the court.
Ms. Rosewater suggested the action plan should include linkages to other systems for training family court judges. Often judges do not have enough knowledge of family issues, she said. Judge McPhail said this issue had been discussed at length in the Federal agencies and practitioners' meeting earlier that day, and that details on training issues will be worked out as part of the State forums. He added that the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges has been working on that issue also. There is also judicial training on youth with disabilities or learning disabilities.
Ms. Reno congratulated the Interagency Working Group on its action plan and said that she intends to recommend that the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), which supports various projects, adopt the action plan as an IACP project.
New Issue: Preventing Lead Exposure Among Children
Ms. Reno announced that DOJ's Environmental and Natural Resources Division and the Civil Division of the Office of Consumer Litigation will be working with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect children from lead paint and environmental health risks. DOJ is committed to bringing civil and criminal enforcement actions that protect people, particularly our children, from environmental health risks. It will be working with HUD to coordinate enforcement of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Reduction Act of 1992. Exposure to lead is linked to reading disabilities, dropping out of school, and the risk of antisocial and aggressive behavior. Three to four million children are exposed to levels of lead that have detrimental effects on cognitive and social development. This problem disproportionately affects minority children. The effects of lead peak at 2 to 3 years of age and do not diminish with time.
Addressing the lead exposure issue does not require new programs, but an opportunity to leverage and coordinate efforts by many agencies. This effort will allow government to partner with localities in ways that build community capacity to create jobs, reduce lead and other environmental hazards, improve school performance, provide healthy housing, and promote the well-being of healthy children and families.
Twenty years ago, Ms. Reno said, we did not understand the concept of "dirty" buildings. We need to use technological knowledge to discover what other risks may exist. We need to ask what we can do with the science we have to improve the lot of our citizens and, particularly, our children.
Ms. Reno introduced the panelists who spoke on the relationship of lead to delinquency, the lead hazard in communities, and community-based solutions.
Preventing Lead Exposure Among Children, Herbert Needleman, M.D., University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
Herbert Needleman, M.D., University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, presented research data that links lead exposure to antisocial behavior. Lead exposure has long been linked to IQ changes, but new evidence has emerged that links antisocial behaviors to exposure and that demonstrates that IQ changes may not be the most damaging outcome of exposure.
Dr. Needleman briefly outlined the 2,000-year history of lead toxicity and the growing awareness of its effects. From the second century B.C. to the present day, lead has been linked with damaging physical effects, low IQ, learning disabilities, and aggressive and antisocial behavior. Current international research documented that elevated lead in the absence of any symptoms interferes with brain function. According to NAS research, a level of 10 micrograms per deciliter is toxic and is associated with neurobehavioral deficits. The exposure is permanent and affects real life success.
Dr. Needleman studied asymptomatic children in Massachusetts, identifying their lead exposure by tooth lead. The study of two groups of children with low-lead and high-lead levels showed a relationship between lead exposure and classroom behaviors including: the inability to persist at work, follow directions, do independent work, or daydream, and the inclination to become easily frustrated, disorganized, hyperactive, impulsive, or distractable. In 1988, when the children were 18, he looked at this population again and found that the rate of reading disabilities had gone up sixfold for high tooth lead, and that these children were seven times as likely to have failed high school.
Other researchers have asserted that criminals comprise two groups-those who start early and persist, and those who start late and end criminal involvement. Neurological differences have been demonstrated in the first group that are consistent with the effects of lead exposure. In a Pittsburgh study, Dr. Needleman looked at 300 boys. As their bone lead levels rose, so did attention disorder, delinquency, and aggression. Anecdotally, in Dr. Needleman's pediatric practice, he has often heard mothers say that the behavior of their children changed after lead exposure.
In 1991, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the Strategic Plan for the Elimination of Childhood Lead Poisoning, which represented a shift in thinking from treating lead exposure as an illness to primary prevention. The Plan required deleading all pre-1950 housing over a period of 15 years at a cost of $30 billion. The Plan also included a cost-benefit analysis that shows that the cost of not doing lead abatement is $61 billion.
Dr. Needleman said there are a variety of reasons to explain why this problem has not yet been resolved, including the perceptions that it is a minority problem or it is too big to handle, that taking lead out of gasoline solved the problem, or that mothers, the lead industry, government inactivity, or the inactivity of the American College of Pediatrics are to blame.
Dennis Livingston, Consultant and Director, Community Resources, Baltimore, MD
Dennis Livingston, Consultant and Director, Community Resources, Baltimore, MD, reported on a framework for working with communities to prevent and correct lead hazards that leaves communities equipped to handle these problems in the long term. He recommended five policy shifts to develop a lead poisoning prevention model that is effective and sustainable:
The long-term solution to residential environmental health problems such as asthma, and poisoning by carbon monoxide, lead, or radon is not the provision of expensive one-time abatements. Rather it is the long-term maintenance of housing and the neighborhood environment. Only an organization rooted in and committed to the community can implement such a sustained effort, Mr. Livingston said.
Nancy Halpern Ibrahim, Community Health Program Director, Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, Los Angeles, CA
Nancy Halpern Ibrahim, Community Health Program Director, Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, Los Angeles, CA, discussed the value of using existing community infrastructure and service providers to deliver Federal and State assistance. Esperanza is a small community development nonprofit organization made up of six women who work collaboratively in a 4-square mile area of 132,000 in South Central Los Angeles. The community, which is mostly Hispanic and African American, is medically underserved and surrounded by a low-income industrial zone and sweat shops. There are 23 youth gangs. The area is a lead "hot" zone, with housing built before 1960, poverty, and children under 6 years of age.
Esperanza offers a variety of services in affordable housing, housing development and rehabilitation, public policy, adult education, computer education, arts programs, economic development, and community health. Esperanza recruits and trains bilingual healthcare assistants for 5 months in primary, chronic, and special healthcare issues, including lead.
Esperanza performs ongoing community assessments and has worked with Mr. Livingston, who has helped train members of the community. They are also working closely with other collaboratives to devise a healthy home strategy, including training on lead awareness, some remediation, and community triage that focuses on those most at risk-pregnant women, children under 6, and homes in a bad state of disrepair. Esperanza performs ongoing community assessments and has worked with Mr. Livingston, who has helped train members of the community. They are also working closely with other collaboratives to devise a healthy home strategy, including training on lead awareness, some remediation, and community triage that focuses on those most at risk-pregnant women, children under 6, and homes in a bad state of disrepair.
Susan Whalen, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, EPA, thanked the panel for its work in this field. This is not a Federal, State, local, or private issue, she said, but a problem we need to solve together. EPA has the materials to identify lead problems and other resources to correct them. There are regulations about disclosure. The challenge is how to make this issue an effective national program. Ms. Whalen asked if the community is involved in risk assessment or remediation. Mr. Livingston said there has been involvement in both areas and that inspectors have been pleased with the local youth who are doing the work. Ms. Ibrahim said the residents have a great deal of pride in working to change the neighborhood, but they also need to know the work they are doing is sustainable.
David Jacobs, Director, Office of Lead Hazard Control, HUD, called lead exposure a public health program that lies in housing. He said HUD is learning new ways to collaborate with the other Federal agencies. In the past, when HUD has quantified the cost-benefit of lead-based paint problems in public housing, the criminal cost has not been included. HUD and DOJ are working on new ways to enforce lead-based paint disclosure rules.
Mr. Bilchik suggested the Coordinating Council follow up the discussion and develop an action plan on lead exposure prevention.
Ms. Reno thanked the panel for its presentations and suggested looking beyond the lead hazard to develop a comprehensive protective system. There are so many building blocks to creating strong, healthy children, she said. The more blocks in place, the better it is. Before leaving, the Attorney General thanked the Coordinating Council for its very productive work and shared comments on the two remaining agenda items. On the issue of children with disabilities, she urged that greater efforts be made to identify problems earlier. Children learn so much better than an 18-year old, she said. The Attorney General also expressed her concern for parents who are the victims of international abductions. We need to find a way to help them work their way through the maze of agencies, she said.
Issue Update: Students With Disabilities in the Juvenile Justice System
Judith Heumann, Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), U.S. Department of Education, reported that her office is working hard on early identification of disabled individuals and developing programs to help prevent the problems disabled children and their families face. Thirty to 50 percent of the U.S. population have disabilities. OSERS is excited about the collaborative work of the Council because they believe they can prevent children from ending up in the juvenile justice system if the issues are addressed in a positive way. Ms. Heumann announced the release of three bulletins on children with cognitive and behavioral disabilities at risk for involvement with the justice system. The bulletins are a collaborative effort between OSERS, OJJDP, the Office of Vocational and Adult Education, the Office of Correctional Education, and the National Institute for Literacy. They address the identification issue in correctional institutions, best practices for serving court-involved youth, and the role of collaborations.
In October, OJJDP and OSERS hosted a forum of 30 experts from juvenile justice and from special education of children with disabilities in juvenile justice. The forum created a wealth of potential projects. It was agreed that good research exists on both sides, but that there has not been formal collaboration. The group identified and prioritized issues and what the Federal role should be. The priorities are the:
Mr. Bilchik called the Center a wonderful opportunity to move issues that have been identified at the Federal level forward so that they have an impact at the local level. The Center will gather data, and create new data, translate data to make it useful to practitioners, and provide training and technical assistance to make it accessible at the local level. Mr. Bilchik also has approached the foundations for support of this project and will be making an announcement in January.
Issue Update: Missing and Exploited Children Program-International Abductions
Mr. Bilchik reported to the Council that Ms. Reno had testified before the Senate on the issue of international parental abduction and how to improve the return of American children abducted from this country. There is a 30-percent return rate of American children who are abducted in this country and taken to their homes; while there is a 90-percent return rate when children are abducted elsewhere and taken to the United States.
Ron Laney, Director, Missing and Exploited Children Program, OJJDP, is heading a working group to develop recommendations to improve the rates of return that the Attorney General will present to the Senate after the first of the year. Mr. Bilchik will provide the Council with copies of the working group report.
Mr. Bilchik summarized the work of the meeting. The Coordinating Council will use research from the Forum on Adolescence to support various efforts, create concrete strategies to support the Interagency Working Group's Action Plan on Child Maltreatment, seek more funding to support the establishment of the Center on Students with Disabilities in the Juvenile Justice System, and create an action plan to support EPA and HUD efforts on lead exposure prevention. He thanked the Coordinating Council for attending and adjourned the meeting.
Members in Attendance
Larry K. Brendtro, Ph.D.
Richard N. Brewster
The Honorable William R. Byars, Jr.
Jack A. Calhoun
The Honorable Adele Grubbs
Julie L. Herr
Judith E. Heumann
The Honorable Gordon A. Martin, Jr.
The Honorable Michael W. McPhail
The Honorable Janet Reno
Rose W. Washington
Gina E. Wood
Date Published: December 9, 1998