Dept of Justice
Defending Childhood Initiative
|| DOJ Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence - 56 Recommendations
After working a year, was anything learned? .. will anything be done?
by Bill Murray - OPINION
Dec 12, 2012
It took more than a year to complete, involved four community meetings in Baltimore, Albuquerque, N.M., Miami and Detroit, and resulted in a 162 page report. But was anything learned? And will anything be done?
The DOJ task force report includes 56 recommendations that highlight the importance of identifying children who are victims or witnesses of violence and providing support and services to help them heal.
Woah !!! Really ?? How much time / money have we wasted to come up with THAT conclusion?
To be perfectly clear, I'm less than impressed if this is the best we can do as a nation to come up with a plan of action for helping curb the epidemic of childhood violence and traumas in America. I'm disappointed in our inability to stop talking about the problem and start DOING something about it.
I hope you'll take a look at the full report (www.justice.gov/defendingchildhood/cev-rpt-full.pdf) and its recommendations. But if you do nothing else, please read the CONCLUSION I've reprinted for you below (and the article below that).
Look at it carefully. See how often it says things like, "We can protect and heal our children from exposure to violence by mobilizing resources that
currently exist but are not sufficiently organized and accessible," and, "We can and must use our resources more wisely to produce better outcomes and to
defend children against exposure to violence."
The problem, the report concludes, is a matter of our National will.
I couldn't agree more ..
Every day in this country millions of children’s lives are scarred by violence. Not hundreds, or
thousands — millions. Every one of these children is precious and irreplaceable; they are our
treasure and our country’s future. When even one child has their childhood stolen by violence,
the loss is incalculable. The wounds our children endure from exposure to violence must be
healed. There is no more time to waste — we can no longer wait. Decisive action is required,
This report guides the way forward. The actions we must take are clearly stated in each of our
recommendations. Change can — and must — begin immediately, at every level of government
and in every community.
Ultimately, every family must be empowered to join this effort, and every community must rise
up to protect and heal children who are exposed to violence and ensuing psychological trauma.
We all know that children should be protected and kept safe from violence. Yet we have not, as
a nation, firmly repudiated all forms of violence that harm our children. We must now commit,
unreservedly, to sustained efforts at protecting our children from violence.
We can protect and heal our children from exposure to violence by mobilizing resources that
currently exist but are not sufficiently organized and accessible. Steps must be taken nationally,
regionally, and locally to inform and support every teacher, healthcare professional, police
officer, judge, attorney, social worker, clergyperson, therapist, advocate, and paraprofessional
who serves and guides children and their families to implement effective policies, practices, and
procedures to protect and heal children exposed to violence.
Children and families in tribal communities, and others in rural or urban settings who live with
poverty or discrimination because of their race, culture or language, sexual orientation, or
mental or physical disabilities, have experienced decades and generations of exposure to
violence and extreme psychological trauma. They require special attention, and they must
receive it. We must take steps politically, economically, and socially to restore these
communities and their children and families from the chronic and debilitating exposure to
violence they face every day.
Although this is a hard time for countless families in our country who are struggling financially,
and for all parts of government facing immense economic challenges, we must not let these
realities diminish our resolve to face and address the ongoing epidemic of children exposed to
violence. We must continue to identify opportunities for the federal, state, tribal, and local
governments to redirect the funds currently available and to achieve new efficiencies with this
funding. We can and must use our resources more wisely to produce better outcomes and to
defend children against exposure to violence.
We must actively engage youth, their families, and local leaders in urban, suburban, rural, and
tribal communities to drastically reduce children’s exposure to violence.
This report is a call to action for every person in America to rise up to defend our children! We
must dedicate ourselves to creating safe places and healthy relationships in which every one of
our children can grow, succeed, and carry forward the blessings of liberty, fraternity, and
When we dedicate ourselves as a country to defending our children from violence, we will
provide hope and a way forward for every person in America to thrive, because we will have
made our country safe for all.
From the Department of Justice
Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence Presents Final Findings
Recommendations to Attorney General
Attorney General Eric Holder's Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence today presented its final report and policy recommendations gathered from public hearings held across the country over the past year.
The task force report includes 56 recommendations and highlights the importance of identifying children who are victims or witnesses of violence and providing support and services to help them heal. It focuses on developing programs to help children access supportive and non-violent relationships with trusted adults in their homes and communities. The task force also calls for all children who enter the juvenile justice system to be screened for exposure to violence.
“I want to thank the task force for their diligent work on this important effort. This report will be carefully considered and used as the basis for action – and as a blueprint for strengthening our robust efforts to protect young people from exposure to violence,” said Attorney General Holder. “The findings of this task force will ensure that policymakers, criminal justice professionals, social service providers, and members of the public continue to regard preventing and remedying children's exposure to violence as far more than a professional obligation – but as a moral calling.”
As a key part of Attorney General Holder's Defending Childhood initiative to address children's exposure to violence, the task force is comprised of 13 leading experts, including practitioners, child and family advocates, academicians and licensed clinicians.
“Every child we help recover from the impact of abuse is an investment in our nation's future,” said task force co-chair Joe Torre, executive vice president of Major League Baseball and founder of the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation. “Our report calls for renewed and expanded efforts to protect our children from violence and psychological trauma, to heal families and communities, and to empower children to claim safe and productive futures. The time for action is now.”
During four hearings held in Baltimore, Albuquerque, N.M., Miami and Detroit from November 2011 to April 2012, the task force heard from people of all ages residing in 27 states and the District of Columbia, including survivors of violence, researchers, practitioners, advocates and community residents. These testimonials, along with additional research, provided the foundation for the report and recommendations.
“We have the power to end the damage to children from violence and abuse,” said task force co-chair Robert Listenbee, Jr., Chief of the Juvenile Unit of the Defender Association of Philadelphia. “We must mobilize resources on national and local levels to support teachers, health care professionals, police officers, juvenile justice professionals and others who work with children and their families. Our recommendations provide a path for effectively implementing policies, practices and procedures to keep kids safe from violence.”
The task force presented their recommendations today during a public meeting of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The council, whose membership includes the cabinet officials and heads of 12 federal agencies and nine practitioners, coordinates federal programs for delinquency prevention, detention or care for unaccompanied juveniles, and missing and exploited children.
To view the task force's report, please visit: www.justice.gov/defendingchildhood/cev-rpt-full.pdf
For more information about the task force and Attorney General Holder's Defending Childhood Initiative, please visit: www.justice.gov/defendingchildhood
The Defending Childhood Initiative is supported by the Office of Justice Programs (OJP). OJP is headed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary Lou Leary and provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administers justice and assists 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. More information about OJP can be found at www.ojp.gov