Washington, DC - The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Friday announced that it has awarded $261 million in grant awards to support mentoring services for youth and to protect children from abuse, exploitation and threats such as sex trafficking. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan made the announcement at an event with leaders and representatives of the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and local chapters of the Police Athletic League, along with local police chiefs.
“Young people in America face an array of challenges, from social and academic pressures to dangerous predators and lethal drugs. They are better equipped to meet those challenges with a model of care and compassion to guide them along,” said Sullivan. “These awards will support outstanding youth-serving organizations like the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Clubs and their local affiliates across the country as they help youth discover their talents, find their purpose and realize their full potential. We are incredibly grateful to our mentorship programs, both nationally and locally. Badges in Blue and Badges for Baseball are great examples of successful community partnerships through law enforcement and mentoring.”
Grants from OJP’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) will allow national, state and local organizations to provide mentoring to youth who are at risk of juvenile delinquency, victimization and juvenile justice system involvement. Funds also support the National Mentoring Resource Center, which last year provided training and other support to 362 school-, community- and faith-based mentoring programs that served more than 79,000 youth nationwide.
“We can take no greater step toward securing the future health and prosperity of our nation than by investing now in the physical safety and emotional resilience of our children,” said OJJDP Administrator Caren Harp. “These grants will give law enforcement officials, service providers and children’s advocates the resources they need to fight off predators, take kids out of harm’s way and help children overcome the effects of trauma.”
Mentoring programs supported by OJJDP help youth make connections with leaders and respected members of their communities, including law enforcement officers. Police and sheriffs’ departments have formed close and lasting bonds with young citizens, leading to greater trust and respect between law enforcement professionals and community members. Grants also address the impact of the addiction crisis on children and teens. Funds support mentoring in rural and other underserved communities hit hard by the opioid epidemic.
In addition, more than 100 sites are receiving grants from OJJDP and OJP’s Office for Victims of Crime to help find missing children, investigate and prosecute child exploitation cases, serve abused and neglected children, and assist minor victims of human trafficking.
Sullivan was joined today by Steve Salem, President and CEO of the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation; V. Glenn Fueston Jr. of the Maryland Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth and Victim Services; Sergeant Kweise Dadzie from the Prince George’s Police Athletic League Badges for Baseball mentorship program; U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rob K. Hur; and representatives of the Boys and Girls Club of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, where the event was held.
The Office of Justice Programs, directed by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan, provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, assist victims and enhance the rule of law by strengthening the criminal and juvenile justice systems.