Dept. of Justice

A Positive Youth Development Research Agenda

The Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs recognizes the importance of Positive Youth Development (PYD) and created a national Research Agenda on PYD that describes the key research domains and questions that could benefit from future research.

American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) Youth

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010, there were roughly 5.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) living in the U.S., representing approximately 1.7 percent of the total U.S. population.1 This represents an 18 percent increase since the last decennial census. Of this group, more than 2.1 million American Indians and Alaska Natives are under the age of 24.2 This is approximately 42 percent of the total AI/AN population.

  • Nearly half of AI/ANs live on reservations or designated tribal lands in the western states, with the largest populations in Arizona, California, Oklahoma, and New Mexico,3 and 60 percent live in urban communities.
  • The states with the largest proportion of AI/ANs include Alaska with nearly 15 percent of the state population,4 California with 14 percent, and Oklahoma with nearly 10 percent.5

There are 566 federally-recognized tribes in 35 states in the United States.6 Each tribe is distinct, with its own form of self-governance, culture, traditions, language, and community infrastructure. In the state of Alaska there are 229 federally-recognized tribes.7

Sovereignty is a legal word for the authority to self-govern and to protect and foster the health, safety, and welfare of AI/AN peoples within tribal territory. Essentially, tribal sovereignty refers to tribes’ inherent rights to manage their own affairs and to exist as nations. Currently, the 566 sovereign tribal nations (variously called tribes, nations, bands, pueblos, communities, and Native villages) have a political government-to-government relationship with the U.S. government.

Tribal governments exercise jurisdiction over 100 million acres of land, that would make Indian Country the fourth largest state in the nation.8 Tribal governments are an important and unique member of the American family of governments, which includes tribal governments, the U.S. federal government, and the U.S. states. The U.S. Constitution recognizes that tribal nations are sovereign governments.

As members of tribes, AI/AN people have both an ethnic and political status. As governments, tribes exercise substantial governing powers within their territory, including regulating research. Similar to federal and state governments, tribes have sovereign power over their lands, citizens, and related affairs.

As a result of the government-to-government relationship between tribes and the federal government, the federal government is obligated by a responsibility relationship to protect tribal resources. Federal policies are designed to further the trust relationship including offering certain social services such as education and health, and support for tribal services provision. Previous federal policies of forced removal of AI/AN tribes from their traditional homelands, and forced assimilation of AI/AN people into mainstream America have exacerbated some of the social service needs of AI/AN youth.

Although tribes and their governments vary widely, to be a member of a tribe means to share a common bond that may include ancestry, kinship, language, culture, ceremonies, and political authority with other members. AI/AN tribes are working diligently to reverse the negative impacts of poverty, historical and intergenerational trauma, health, education, and justice disparities to ensure the future, health, and well-being of their members.

Resources

Native American Youth 101: Information on the Historical Context and Current Status of Indian Country and Native American Youth (PDF, 10 pages)
This resource provides information on the historical context and current status of Indian country and Native American youth.

The Center for Native American Youth
The Center for Native American Youth was developed to improve the health, safety, and overall well-being of Native American youth through communication, policy development, and advocacy.

The National Congress of American Indians
The National Congress of American Indians provides several channels to support Native youth, including the NCAI Youth Commission, the National Native Youth Cabinet, NDN Spark, and internships and fellowships. In 2011 and 2012 NCAI collaborated with the Department of Justice to host the National Indian Youth Summit.

References

1 American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes in the United States and Puerto Rico: 2010, 2011
2 Native American Youth 101, n.d.
3 Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives: 2008
4 U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, race counted as ‘Native American and Alaska Native alone’
5 U.S. Census Bureau, 2012, race counted as ‘Native American and Alaska Native alone or in combination’
6 Bureau of Indian Affairs, 2014
7 U.S. Department of the Interior, Indian Affairs, 2016
8 National Congress of American Indians, n.d.

HHS and DOJ host listening session with youth who have an incarcerated parent

The effects of incarceration are felt far beyond prison walls: children, families, and communities also experience the consequences of incarceration.

City of Seattle's Youth Violence Prevention Plan

Background

The Seattle Youth Opportunity Initiative represents a comprehensive approach to ensuring all youth transition successfully to adulthood, healthy and violence free. In Seattle, the injury or death of even one young person is too many.

In April 2015, the Community Planning Committee designed and held the Mayor’s Youth Opportunity Summit, which was designed to gather information directly from the participants to identify strengths of current efforts, gaps in those efforts, and recommendations for action. More than 400 participants attended the Summit and provided valuable ideas that have strongly informed this plan.

Since taking office in 2014, Mayor Ed Murray has prioritized young people, especially youth of color and the city’s most vulnerable populations. The Seattle Youth Opportunity Initiative is a Mayoral priority, and will use a citywide approach to focus on those neighborhoods and communities most affected by violence and inequitable access to resources.

The initiative leverages the current Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, providing a framework for alignment of resources in the City’s Human Services Department as well as future alignment with resources in other City departments such as Libraries, Parks, and Police.

Principles

Race and Social Justice: Violence does not affect all Seattle communities equally. The City’s efforts will address the social inequities that make violence more likely in certain communities and/or groups of people.

Community Engagement: It takes a community to care for its youth, and the success of a community depends on including those most affected by violence in defining the problem and shaping priorities.

Shared Leadership: Community leadership ensures that violence prevention strategies fit with local culture, history, and context.

Multi-Sector Collaboration: The value that more can be achieved together than alone is reflected in this plan, along with the expertise and wisdom of more than 20 city, county, and state agencies and numerous community stakeholders.

An Integrated Approach: Seattle’s commitment to preventing violence and creating opportunities for youth and young adults of color is supported by three national initiatives: My Brother’s Keeper, Cities United, and the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention.

Efforts Across the Prevention Continuum: Through the Seattle Youth Opportunity Initiative, the City of Seattle is committed to ensuring that our strategies to support youth and young adults’ successful transition to adulthood cover the continuum of prevention, intervention, enforcement and reentry.

Goals & Objectives

The Seattle Youth Opportunity Initiative strategic plan lays out five primary goals:

  1. Youth and young adults transition to adulthood.
  2. Youth and young adults achieve academic success.
  3. Youth and young adults are safe from violence and free from justice system involvement.
  4. Youth and young adults are healthy, physically, socially, and emotionally.
  5. The Seattle Community is mobilized in support of these goals.

No single factor causes or prevents violence, so the goals and strategies presented in this plan address the priority risk and resilience factors in Seattle’s most affected communities.

Governance

The governance structure for the Seattle Youth Opportunity Initiative includes participation from community, City and County representatives who are most relevant to the specific function of each committee, and subject matter experts. The structure is designed to ensure multi-sector engagement, access to best practices and published research, and to enable decision-making through shared leadership.

National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention Communities: Seattle

The Seattle Youth Opportunity Initiative represents a comprehensive approach to ensuring all youth transition successfully to adulthood, healthy and violence free. In Seattle, the injury or death of even one young person is too many.

The initiative leverages the current Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, providing a framework for alignment of resources in the City’s Human Services Department as well as future alignment with resources in other City departments such as Libraries, Parks, and Police.

Point of Contact:

Tara T. James, Ed.M.
Strategic Advisor, Youth and Family Empowerment
Seattle Human Services Department
(206) 233-7915
tara.james@seattle.gov

Resources

City of Louisville's Youth Violence Prevention Plan

Background

The One Love Louisville — Youth Edition plan puts forth five goals aimed at reducing youth involvement, exposure and impact of homicides, shootings, and aggravated assaults using the balanced and coordinated PIER (prevention, intervention, enforcement and re-entry) approach.

The initiative is led by Louisville’s Mayor Greg Fischer and his Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods (OSHN). The Center for Disease Control’s Public Health Approach to youth violence is utilized and the goals focus on increasing positive outcomes and coordinating efforts in five systemic areas.

One Love Louisville — Youth Edition serves as an addition to the strategic plan currently in progress and focuses on increasing positive outcomes for youth (0 to 24 years of age) who reside in Louisville Metro Police Department divisions 1, 2, and 4.

Local data illustrates that young adults (ages 18 to 30 years of age) lose their lives as a result of homicide more often than any other age group. If efforts are focused on youth 24 years of age and under, there is potential to reduce the number of youth who are exposed to violence, become victims of violence, or perpetuate violence.

Vision

A city of safe neighborhoods where all citizens feel secure, supported, and prepared for lifelong success.

Principles

Emphasis on Effectiveness and Efficiency: We can reduce violence by increasing and systematizing coordination and collaboration by forging new partnerships and combining resources.

Results Orientation: We commit to common results and indicators for the city as a whole, and the development of a schedule and method to track progress.

Target Resources: Resources will be found to fund OSHN projects and they will be directed to areas most affected by violence.

Representation: Everyone will have a role and a voice—increase resident and neighborhood engagement and build positive connections.

Engage Leadership: Champions from all of Louisville’s communities will be called to participate, influence, and impact the work.

Balance: We utilize an approach that balances personal accountability and mutual assistance in the following relationships: neighbor-to-neighbor, parent-to-child, government-to-resident, youth-to-community, and community- and faith-based-organization-to-member.

Goals & Objectives

One Love Louisville — Youth Edition highlights five goals that target three police divisions in Louisville: Divisions 1, 2, and 4. The OSHN’s approach to preventing youth violence is not separate to the approach for preventing overall community violence.

The goals and objectives aim to reduce youth violence by focusing on areas that impact the lives of our youth systemically. For Louisville youth, these areas are:

  1. Community Building
  2. Education
  3. Employment and Economic Development
  4. Health and Social Wellness
  5. Juvenile and Criminal Justice

Governance

Under the leadership of Mayor Greg Fischer and Chief of Community Building, the OSHN and the One Love Louisville Youth Implementation Team lead this effort by leveraging its convening power, dedicated staff and resources. The OSHN is currently staffed, full-time with a Director and Program Coordinator and has two unpaid internship opportunities.

The OSHN’s Director works to: bridge the work of violence prevention and response across 37 Metro departments and affiliated agencies; convenes the Advisory Committee; oversees the development of baselines; identifies gaps (and redundancies) in services; identifies best practices; cultivates key partnerships; identifies community and youth leaders; and oversees the communication strategy to accompany its release.

The responsibilities of the Program Coordinator consists of researching strategies and programs; conducting staff and community trainings; tracking reports; overseeing communications (on-line and written); facilitating community and governance structure meetings; and developing and maintaining a data collection system to monitor, evaluate, and report goal and objective progress.

National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention Communities: Louisville

The One Love Louisville — Youth Edition plan puts forth five goals aimed at reducing youth involvement, exposure and impact of homicides, shootings, and aggravated assaults using the balanced and coordinated PIER (prevention, intervention, enforcement and re-entry) approach.

Local data illustrates that young adults (ages 18 to 30 years of age) lose their lives as a result of homicide more often than any other age group. If efforts are focused on youth 24 years of age and under, there is potential to reduce the number of youth who are exposed to violence, become victims of violence, or perpetuate violence.

Point of Contact:

Rashaad Abdur-Rahman, LCSW
Director of Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods
Office of Mayor Greg Fischer
Metro Hall, 527 West Jefferson Street
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 574-2029

Facebook: Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods
Twitter: @SafeHealthyLou
Instagram: @SafeHealthyLou

Resources

City of Long Beach's Youth Violence Prevention Plan

Background

The development of Safe Long Beach was a collaborative effort involving youth, adults, community and faith-based organizations, the school district, law enforcement, and city and county government. Safe Long Beach is a permeable plan owned by all stakeholders and will be updated biannually to stay current with local trends. Safe Long Beach is a plan that examines existing evidence-based prevention strategies and practices. It assesses how the existing citywide resources, services, and programs are being utilized and recommends how to coordinate these services in an effective and efficient manner.

Vision

Long Beach residents live in safe families and communities, attend safe schools, and are contributing citizens connected to their community.

Risk & Protective Factors

Safe Long Beach proposes to build upon protective factors, defined as conditions or attributes in individuals, families, communities, or the larger society that, when present, mitigate or eliminate risk in families and communities. At the same time, Safe Long Beach will work to reduce risk factors, defined as conditions or variables associated with a lower likelihood of positive outcomes and a higher likelihood of negative or socially undesirable outcomes.

Framework

Rooted in the framework of collective action, multi-sector collaboration includes resources, knowledge, and actions that are combined and focused to help achieve the shared goal of violence reduction and increased safety.

Early intervention is also a key aspect of the Safe Long Beach strategy. Early intervention and targeted resources can help strengthen families, improve educational attainment, and increase community involvement, which can have lasting positive effects in reducing acts of violence.

Theory of Change

Safe Long Beach is based on a theory of change to reduce violence with three pillars grounded in nationally recognized best and promising practices:

  • Strengthen families
  • Build positive youth development
  • Support community leadership

SAFE Families Goals

  • Increase access to violence prevention services
  • Reduce family violence including child abuse, domestic violence, and elder abuse

SAFE Schools Goals

  • Increase the high school graduation rate
  • Increase safety in and around schools

SAFE Communities Goals

  • Increase community resident safety
  • Decrease the unemployment rate
  • Reduce Part 1 crimes1

1 Part 1 offenses are serious crimes that occur regularly in all regions of the country and include offenses such as criminal homicide, robbery, aggravated assault, and burglary; Information retrieved on June 27, 2016, from https://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/about/offense_definitions.html

National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention Communities: Long Beach

The development of Safe Long Beach was a collaborative effort involving youth, adults, community and faith-based organizations, the school district, law enforcement, and city and county government. The plan examines existing evidence-based prevention strategies and practices, and it assesses how the existing citywide resources, services, and programs are being utilized and recommends how to coordinate these services in an effective and efficient manner.

Point of Contact:

Tracy M. Colunga, MSW
Special Projects Officer, Neighborhood Relations Division
Long Beach Development Services I Neighborhood Services Bureau
(562) 570-4413
333 W. Ocean Blvd., 3rd Floor
Long Beach, CA 90802
Tracy.Colunga@longbeach.gov
www.lbvpp.com

Resources

City of Cleveland's Youth Violence Prevention Plan

Background

Earlier iterations of The Cleveland Plan focused more heavily on prevention, intervention, and enforcement. In this version, Cleveland’s Steering Committee broadened its view on the needs of the formerly incarcerated population, and have agreed to partner with the Cuyahoga County Office of Reentry and STANCE on this work (formerly the Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative).

The City of Cleveland has been engaged in community listening sessions since 2014. The meetings were led by the Cleveland Peacemaker’s Alliance, police, and faith and community leaders. Information gathered at these sessions has been integrated along with resident recommendations from other major initiatives, such as the Byrne Criminal Justice Initiative, Healthy Cleveland Initiative and Defending Childhood Initiative, and have provided valuable guidance and insight in the development of this plan.

The Plan also builds on the neighborhood-focused work of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development funded by the Stokes Greater Cleveland Consortium for Youth Violence Prevention, a community-based participatory research model initiated in 2007. The Cleveland Plan draws on previous local successes, emanating from the ongoing Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative (started in 2006), which is now named Stand Against Neighborhood Crime Everyday, operating under the umbrella of the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

Core Principles & Plan Development

We believe the youth violence prevention programs currently being implemented have aided in the overall reduction of youth arrests seen over the past five years and will be key to regaining significant declines. However, youth violence prevention must be viewed through a comprehensive frame, including universal, selected, and targeted approaches cutting across multiple disciplines.

Creation of The Cleveland Plan, and participation in the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, has allowed for a more transparent information sharing process, linking programs into a continuum of service, and incorporating new and innovative strategies to effectively address the youth violence being experienced in our neighborhoods today.

The Cleveland Plan is anchored by three core principles:

  1. A multi-dimensional approach across disciplines, systems and levels (e.g. individual, family, schools, neighborhoods), spanning prevention, intervention and interdiction, and reentry.
  2. Strengthening existing evidence-based programs combined with the implementation of new promising and evidence-based programs that address gaps in services to our target population and support our core objectives.
  3. Support significant neighborhood-based input and data-driven decision-making.

Goals & Objectives

The following goals and objectives represent the core activities and programs of The Cleveland Plan, to provide services for youth ages 15 to 25:

Goal 1: Establish an accountable, transparent, and sustainable governance structure that provides collective decision-making regarding the reduction and prevention of youth violence.
Goal 2: Utilize a public health model to support a data-driven neighborhood-based violence prevention strategy.
Goal 3: Advance community and police relations through community empowerment, community skill building, police training, and proactive use of multi-disciplinary approaches to community problem solving.
Goal 4: Support community engagement with, and delivery of services for underserved and at-risk populations, particularly 15 to 25 year olds.

Governance

The Plan’s Steering Committee is convened by Mayor Frank Jackson. This committee will be housed in the City’s Community Relations Board and comprised of co-conveners from the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County local government; a Cleveland resident; a Juvenile Division judge; the Executive Director of Partnership for a Safer Cleveland; the Chief of the Cleveland Division of Police (CDP); and representatives from the media and corporate leadership.

The Steering Committee will meet quarterly to provide administrative leadership, the opportunity to review The Plan’s progress, and to set strategic assignments and direction.