President Clinton's Radio Address to the Nation: Prevention Resources For America
January 13, 2001
Today in his weekly radio address, President Clinton will announce two new steps the White House Council on Youth Violence is taking to help address the problem of youth violence. The President will launch the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center, a central hub for all Federal information regarding youth violence prevention efforts. The President will also release the youth violence prevention resource Helping Your Children Navigate the Teenage Years: A Guide for Parents to help parents better communicate and understand the developmental stages of their adolescent children.
A CITIZEN'S INFORMATION HUB. Today, the President will launch the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center (NYVPRC) developed by the White House Council on Youth Violence in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other Federal agencies. The Resource Center consists of three components: a toll-free information line, a fax-on-demand system, and an Internet Website. The Center will provide a single point of access to Federal information about youth violence, including suicide, making youth violence information from all Federal agencies available in one place, and providing links to private sector resources. The Resource Center's website is http://www.safeyouth.org, and the toll-free number is 1-866-SAFEYOUTH (1-866-723-3968).
TOOLS FOR PARENTS. The President will release a resource for parents of teens, Helping Your Children Navigate the Teenage Years: A Guide for Parents. This guide helps parents understand normal adolescent development, identify problem behaviors, improve family communication, and locate outside assistance if additional help is necessary. The guidebook was funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) and will be disseminated on the NYVPRC website, as well as by the Council's participating Departments, and various professional associations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the National Association of School Nurses. It can be ordered through the NYVPRC website or SAMHSA's Knowledge Exchange Network at (800) 789-2647.
BUILDING ON THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION'S COMMITMENT TO PREVENTING YOUTH VIOLENCE. From the beginning, President Clinton has believed that every sector of society has a role to play in the efforts to reduce and prevent youth violence, and the Clinton-Gore Administration has worked with both federal and private entities to approach the issues of youth violence. This comprehensive strategy has shown encouraging results. Between 1993 and 1998, the rate of serious violent crime victimization of youth, aged
12-17, declined by 43 percent, while homicide rates for youth aged 15-24 decreased by 37 percent and by 43 percent for teenagers aged 15-19. The youth suicide rate has dropped 18 percent between 1993 and 1998 for young people aged 15-24. President Clinton has made youth violence prevention a priority for this Administration and has implemented a broad range of programs and initiatives across the Federal departments.
- White House Council on Youth Violence: Following tthe tragedy in Littleton, CO, the President established the White House Council on Youth Violence in October 1999 to coordinate the anti-violence efforts of all federal agencies. The Council members include Secretaries Donna E. Shalala (HHS), Richard Riley (DoEd), Larry Summers (Treasury), Andrew Cuomo (HUD), and Attorney General Janet Reno (DOJ). The President's Domestic Policy Adviser Bruce Reed chairs the Council, the Director is Sonia Chessen, and U.S. Assistant Surgeon General Susan Blumenthal, M.D., is the Council's Senior Public Health Advisor who directed the development of the NYVPRC.
- Federal Youth Violence Prevention Initiatives: The Federal agencies have partnered to establish innovative programs including the Safe Schools / Healthy Students initiative and the 21st Century Learning Centers, which have provided hundreds of communities with funding for activities that foster the safety and healthy development of our students. The Clinton-Gore Administration has also developed guide books, such as the Early Warning Guide, the Blue Prints Initiative and Best Practices of Youth Violence Prevention to help communities better understand the precursors to violence and the solutions found to be most effective. The Administration has strengthened partnerships between law enforcement and schools through the COPS in schools program, as well as the critical need to restrict access to guns by strengthening the laws that keep guns out of schools and out of the hand of juveniles (Gun-Free Schools Act and Youth Handgun Safety Act).
- Media and Youth Violence: The Clinton-Gore Administration has also worked on minimizing the role violent media may play in youth violence and aggressive behavior. In 1996, the President and Vice President fought for legislation that gave parents the V-chip, a new tool to help screen out television programs that are not fit for kids. More recently the President asked the FTC to conduct a study to determine whether the entertainment industry was marketing violent material to children. This report found that the entertainment industry was doing little to restrict children's access to violent media rated for adults. The President, the Vice President and the First Lady called for an immediate ceasefire of marketing violence to young people.
- Private Sector Partnerships: Finally, the President believes that the private sector has a significant contribution to make in the effort to prevent youth violence. In 1999, the President launched the National Campaign Against Youth Violence to engage the private sector in innovative local solutions for preventing youth violence and supporting the healthy development of our Nation's young people.
- Surgeon General's Report on Youth Violence: Next week, Surgeon General David Satcher will release the first Surgeon General's Report on Youth Violence. Compiled in response to a Presidential directive, this report provides a comprehensive review of what we know about youth violence from a public health perspective and identifies science-based strategies that can be implemented by parents, schools, and communities to decrease the risk of youth violence.
TAKING ACTION AGAINST YOUTH VIOLENCE: CLINTON-GORE ADMINISTRATION ACCOMPLISHMENTS
January 13, 2001
REDUCING YOUTH VIOLENCE – ENCOURAGING TRENDS
- Between 1993 and 1998, there was a 43% decline in the rate of serious violent crime victimization of youth, aged 12 - 17.
- Between 1993 and 1998, there was a 48% decline in the rate of serious violent crime perpetration by youth, aged 12 - 17.
- Since 1992, the number of non-fatal crimes in schools is down by more than 21 percent.
- Between 1993 and 1998, homicide rates for youth aged 15-24 decreased by 37% and by 43% for teenagers aged 15-19.
- Violent deaths at school are extremely rare. Thirty-four violent deaths were reported in 1998-99, compared to the high of 49 deaths reported in 1995-96, a 30% decrease.
- Between 1992 and 1997, the number of students who report carrying a weapon to school decreased by 25%.
- Youth suicide rates for youth aged 15-24 dropped 18% between 1993 and 1998.
COORDINATING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSE TO YOUTH VIOLENCE:
White House Council on Youth Violence. Following the tragedy in Littleton, CO, the President established the White House Council on Youth Violence in October 1999 to coordinate the anti-violence efforts of all federal agencies. The Council members include Secretaries Donna E. Shalala (HHS), Richard Riley (DoEd), Larry Summers (Treasury), Andrew Cuomo (HUD), and Attorney General Janet Reno (DOJ). The President's Domestic Policy Adviser Bruce Reed chairs the Council, the Director is Sonia Chessen, and U.S. Assistant Surgeon General Susan Blumenthal, M.D., is the Council's Senior Public Health Advisor who directed the development of the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center (NYVPRC).
Providing a Citizen's Information Hub. The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center (NYVPRC) was developed by the White House Council on Youth Violence in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other Federal agencies. The Resource Center consists of three components: a toll-free information line, a fax-on-demand system, and an Internet Website. The Center provides a single point of access to Federal information about youth violence, including suicide, making youth violence information from all Federal agencies available in one place. The Center provides links to private sector resources as well. The Resource Center's website is http://www.safeyouth.org, and the toll-free number is 1-866-SAFEYOUTH (1-866-723-3968).
MAKING SCHOOLS SAFER
Supporting a Community-Wide Response to School Safety and Youth Violence. To help communities throughout the country promote a coordinated, comprehensive response to school safety, the President launched the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative (SS/HS) in 1999. The SS/HS Initiative is an unprecedented national effort to provide students, schools and communities the benefit of enhanced comprehensive educational, mental health, social service, and law enforcement services. It is based on evidence that a comprehensive, integrated community-wide approach is an effective way to promote healthy childhood and youth development and address the problems of school violence and alcohol and other drug abuse. The Initiative has provided $147 million to 77 local education authorities that have established formal partnerships with local mental health and law enforcement agencies. The grants support coordinated and comprehensive school safety plans that include anti-truancy initiatives, mentoring, mental health services, conflict resolution programs, school resource officers, and more – helping to promote healthy youth development and to prevent violence before it occurs.
Responding to the Early Warning Signs of Troubled Youth. President Clinton directed the Secretary of Education and the Attorney General to develop a guide to help teachers and principals identify and respond to the early warning signs of troubled youth that can lead to school violence. In August 1998, the Departments of Justice and Education released Early Warning, Timely Response: A Guide to Safe Schools. This guide provides schools and communities with information on how to identify the early warning signs and take action steps to prevent and respond to school violence. More than 400,000 copies of the guide have been distributed to every school in the country and to youth organizations throughout, and additional copies may be obtained through the websites of the Departments of Education and Justice. In April, 1999, the Departments of Education and Justice once again teamed to produce a follow-up publication: Safeguarding Our Children: An Action Guide, which emphasizes early intervention and prevention, and the importance of teamwork among educators, mental health professionals, parents, and students.
Helping to Make All Schools Safe, Disciplined and Drug-Free. In 1994, President Clinton expanded the Drug-Free Schools Act into the Safe and Drug-Free Schools Act, making violence prevention a key part of this program. Safe and Drug-Free Schools currently provides support for violence and drug prevention programs to 97 percent of the nation's school districts.
Promoting Collaborations Between Schools and Law Enforcement. Under the School-Based Partnerships grant program, the Clinton Administration has provided $30 million to 275 policing agencies to work with schools and community-based organizations to address crime at and around schools. The grants help forge or strengthen partnerships between local law enforcement and schools to focus on school crime, drug use and discipline problems. In addition, the COPS in Schools initiative hires and trains school resource officers using the community policing strategies that have made neighborhoods safer all over America. Under the COPS in Schools initiative, the Clinton-Gore Administration has provided $252 million for 1,060 communities to hire 2,250 police officers to work in schools, engaging students in problem solving and mediation, collaborating in safe school planning efforts, coaching sports and acting as mentors for children and teenagers.
Issuing the First Annual Reports on School Safety. In December 1997, President Clinton called for the first Annual Report on School Safety. Issued every year since, these reports describe the nature and scope of school violence and steps that communities can take to develop a comprehensive school safety plan. The reports highlight what schools, students, parents, police, businesses, and elected officials can do to create safe learning environments and describe schools and communities doing an exemplary job of creating and maintaining safe school environments. The reports also list resources for information on school safety and crime prevention issues.
Hosting White House Conferences on School Safety. In October 1998, President and Mrs. Clinton hosted the first-ever conference on school safety to provide an opportunity for Americans to learn more about how they can make their own schools and communities safer. Students, parents, teachers, principals, law enforcement, ministers, and other experts from across the country participated in the Conference, and hundreds of communities and schools were linked by satellite. In May 1999, after the Littleton tragedy, President Clinton and the First Lady held another meeting to discuss the problem of youth violence and develop a strategy for a national campaign to address this problem. The meeting included a broad cross section of Americans, including parents and children, teachers and religious leaders, law enforcement and government officials, gun manufacturers and sportsmen, and representatives of the entertainment industry.
FOCUSING ON PREVENTION
Developing Guides for Best Practices to Prevent Youth Violence. Recognizing that youth violence prevention must start at the community level, the Clinton-Gore Administration has researched the most effective and successful approaches to prevention and published them in guides for community leaders, school officials, law enforcement, health professionals and others. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, with the support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed the Blueprints Initiative which identifies ten successful youth violence prevention programs in such areas as mentoring, bullying, family therapy and foster care. OJJDP also released Promising Strategies To Reduce Gun Violence with practical information on a range of effective strategies for local officials. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Best Practices of Youth Violence Prevention: A Sourcebook for Community Action provides step-by-step guidance for implementing proven youth violence prevention initiatives.
Encouraging Conflict Resolution. The Departments of Education and Justice have developed and distributed 40,000 conflict resolution guides to schools and community organizations, providing guidance on how to develop effective conflict resolution programs. In addition, the departments are training community officials and educators on these conflict resolution measures.
Establishing National Centers of Excellence for Youth Violence Prevention. The Department of Health and Human Services, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is supporting ten Centers of Excellence to serve as national models for the prevention of youth violence. The Centers foster a multi-disciplinary approach that includes communities in collaborative efforts. This approach allows non-traditional partners (people and entities not normally included in research and information-sharing) to become involved in the research and intervention process to learn how to obtain information and apply it to resolve youth violence problems within their communities.
Creating Internet Web Sites to Provide Resources to Prevent Youth Violence. The Clinton-Gore Administration has established many informational web sites, including: http://www.afterschool.gov/ , which contains a compendium of federal resources that support children and youth during out-of-school hours, and includes information about government guides, reports, and research, as well as information about successful community programs and available funding sources; http://www.americasteens.gov , which contains information for teens on college opportunities and funding, community service, jobs, volunteering, and teen health issues, including substance abuse; http://www.parentingresources.ncjrs.org/ that provides helpful information for families to meet the formidable challenges of raising a child today by addressing topics such as school violence, child development, home schooling, organized sports, child abuse, and the juvenile justice system.
Engaging the Private Sector in Youth Violence Prevention: President Clinton launched the National Campaign Against Youth Violence, an independent national nonprofit organization to engage the private sector in addressing the problem of youth violence on a national scale. The Campaign has developed anti-violence activities including a major media campaign, concerts, town hall meetings, and in-school and after-school programs. The Campaign also highlights effective youth violence initiatives in cities across the country.
Youth Violence Prevention in Public Housing. The Clinton-Gore Administration has taken steps to reduce youth violence in public housing. Working together, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed the youth violence prevention program resource handbook that identifies current practices and model programs for youth violence prevention programming in community settings. HUD also provides training and technical assistance to local communities through the Youth Violence Prevention in Public Housing Program.
ADDRESSING FACTORS THAT PUT YOUTH AT RISK FOR VIOLENCE
Cracking Down on Truancy. Truancy prevention initiatives have been shown to keep more children in school and dramatically reduce daytime crime. The Education Department issued a guidebook to the 15,000 school districts nationwide that outlines the central characteristics of a comprehensive truancy prevention policy and highlights model initiatives in cities and towns across the country. Since then, the Education Department has provided grants to local school districts to develop innovative truancy prevention programs of the kind described in the guidebook.
Developing a Comprehensive Anti-Gang Strategy. President Clinton has proposed a comprehensive strategy to target gangs and violent youths by hiring new prosecutors and probation officers, expanding anti-gang task forces and by using racketeering statutes (i.e., RICO) for gang-related offenses. Recent studies indicate that as much as 50% to 70% of violent crime in certain areas may be perpetrated by gang members, so that targeting gangs may have a significant impact on reducing violent crime.
Developing a Comprehensive Anti-Drug Strategy Including a $195 Million National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. The President appointed Barry McCaffrey, a four-star general, to lead the Clinton-Gore Administration's anti-drug strategy as the nation's Drug Czar. In July 1998, President Clinton launched the national expansion of the Anti-Drug Media Campaign first proposed in 1997. The 5-year, $2 billion campaign (which includes private sector matching contributions) is designed to let teens know -- when they turn on the television, listen to the radio, or surf the Internet -- that drugs are dangerous, wrong and can kill you.
Encouraging Schools to Adopt School Uniform Policies. School uniforms have been found to help reduce violence by promoting discipline and respect in school. Because of this, the Clinton Administration has encouraged schools to consider adopting school uniform policies by sharing with every school district a school uniforms manual prepared by the Department of Education in consultation with local communities and the Department of Justice. Since the President highlighted school uniforms, a growing number of schools have adopted these policies including: New York City, Dade County, Florida, San Antonio, Houston, Chicago and Boston.
Supporting Curfews at the Local Level. Community curfews are designed to help keep children out of harm's way and enhance community safety. Because of their success, President Clinton has encouraged communities to adopt curfew policies. A 1997 survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors has shown that 276 of 347 cities surveyed – or 80 percent – had youth curfew laws, up from 70 percent in 1995.
PROMOTING POSITIVE YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Providing Safe After-School Opportunities for 850,000 Students Each Year. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program has provided enriching after-school and summer school opportunities for 850,000 school-age children in rural and urban communities last year. Extended learning time has not only been shown to increase achievement in reading and math, but to decrease youth violence and drug use. Funding for this program more than doubled over the past year. The Education Department released a report in June 1998, titled Safe and Smart: Making the After-School Hours Work for Kids. This report shows that after-school programs can lower juvenile crime and improve academic performance. Safe and Smart was sent to every school district in the country.
Establishing the GEAR-UP Mentoring Program for Middle School Children. President Clinton and Vice President Gore created and expanded GEAR-UP, a nationwide mentoring initiative, to help over 750,000 low-income middle school children finish school and prepare for college. In 2001, 1.2 million children will be served by this program.
Supporting Civic, Community and Faith-Based Organizations. Recognizing the important role that civic, community and faith-based organizations can play in reducing crime, the Administration launched a new Values-Based Violence Prevention Initiative to make $2.2 million in grants available to 16 community-based collaboratives, including religiously-affiliated organizations, that target youth violence, gangs, truancy, and other juvenile problems by promoting common-sense values and responsibility.
Helping Students Take a Stand Against Violence. In October 1998, the President kicked-off a partnership between the Federal government and MTV to engage youth in preventing violence. The MTV year-long media campaign --"Fight For Your Rights: Take A Stand Against Youth Violence" – is designed to give young adults a voice in the national debate on school and youth violence. In partnership with the Department of Justice and Education, and the National Endowment for the Arts, MTV created and is distributing a Youth Action Guide and CD-ROM that aim to engage youth in mentoring, conflict resolution, and other positive solutions to violence. The guide is available through the Justice Department and through MTV.
RESTRICTING YOUTH ACCESS TO GUNS
Launching the Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative. In 1996, President Clinton launched the Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative (YCGII) in 17 cities to help trace crime guns to their source, as well as identify and arrest the adults who traffic firearms to children. Since then, the President has expanded the YCGII initiative to 37 cities. ATF agents have conducted more than 200,000 crime gun traces for local law enforcement. In 1998 alone, ATF initiated over 300 investigations in these cities, which involved over 3,300 illegally trafficked firearms.
Enforcing Zero Tolerance for Guns and Other Weapons in Schools. In October 1994, President Clinton signed into law the Gun-Free Schools Act, requiring school districts to expel students who bring guns to school. The President issued a Presidential Directive later that month to enforce the "zero tolerance" policy for guns in schools, consistent with the Gun-Free Schools Act. Over the 1996-98 school years, the U.S. Department of Education estimates that, under zero tolerance policies, nearly 10,000 students were expelled from public schools for bringing a firearm to school.
Issuing Directive on Child Safety Locks for Handguns. Child safety locks and other safety devices can reduce the unauthorized use of handguns, by a child at play or a teen looking to commit a crime. Many youth have to look no further than their own home to get their hands on a gun: an estimated one-third of all privately-owned handguns are left both loaded and unlocked. In March 1997, the President signed a directive to every federal agency, requiring child safety locking devices with all handguns issued to federal law enforcement officers. And, in an historic agreement, eight major gun manufacturers followed the President's lead and have voluntarily agreed to provide child safety locking devices with all their handguns.
Signing into Law the Youth Handgun Safety Act. In 1994, President Clinton signed into law the Youth Handgun Safety Act, which generally banned the possession of handguns or handgun ammunition by juveniles under the age of 18, and made it a federal offense for adults to transfer handguns to juveniles, with limited exceptions. In 1997, the President directed the Treasury Department to require that signs be posted on the premises of Federal firearms licensees and that written notification be issued with each handgun sold to non-licensees to help ensure compliance with the Youth Handgun Safety Act.
LIMITING YOUTH EXPOSURE TO MEDIA VIOLENCE
Launching an Investigation Into Marketing of Violence to Children. In June of 1999, the President asked the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice to conduct a joint study of the marketing practices of entertainment industries to determine whether these industries are marketing to children violent (and other) material that is rated for adults. This report, released in September 2000, found that companies in motion picture, music recording and electronic game industries routinely target children under age 17 and that retailers make "little effort" to restrict access to violent material.
Giving Families A New Tool -- A Content-Based Television Ratings System The Vice President garnered a breakthrough agreement from the television industry to create a new content-based voluntary ratings system to protect children from violence and adult content on television. The new system went into effect October 1, 1997, giving parents the information they need to determine if television shows are appropriate for viewing by their children and to identify which programs they may want to block from their homes using screening technology (the V-chip). The voluntary rating system includes age- and content-based ratings.
Helping Parents Control What Comes Into Their Living Room with the V-Chip Under strong leadership from the White House, Congress enacted the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which included V-chip legislation. As of January of this year, all new television sets 13 inches or larger must now contain the V-chip.
Keeping Children Safe on the Internet with the Parents' Protection Page. In the wake of the Columbine Tragedy last year, the Vice President announced the parents' protection page, an important new commitment by the country's premier Internet companies to give parents the resources they need to protect their children from inappropriate material on the Internet. The parents' protection page, now known as GetNetWise.com, provides parents with the tools and knowledge to supervise and guide their children's online activities. In addition to giving parents access to more than 100 blocking, filtering and monitoring tools, this page includes information for parents, teachers and children on how to report crime or other troubling activity online. The parents' protection page also serves as a guide to identify the vast array of high quality educational materials online.