NCCD Now: Defending Childhood

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NCCD Now: Defending Childhood

Erin Hanusa, Senior Communications Manager, NCCD

America is searching for answers on how to protect children from violence. And though we must work diligently to fill the gaps in our knowledge, we in fact already know a lot. Late last year, a group of national experts provided a blueprint for all of us on how to keep our children safe and help them heal when violence occurs.

On December 12 in Washington, DC, the Attorney General’s Defending Childhood Task Force presented its recommendations on preventing and reducing children’s exposure to violence to Attorney General Eric Holder. The task force was commissioned last year by the Attorney General as part of his Defending Childhood Initiative.

As the task force’s technical assistance provider, NCCD convened four national hearings and three listening sessions. These gatherings gave the task force the opportunity to hear moving and important testimony from experts and community members in Baltimore, Albuquerque, Miami, Detroit, Oakland, Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, and Anchorage. You can watch videos of all four hearings on our website.

The task force’s report synthesizes testimony, research, and best practices from the field. It contains a full slate of recommendations for practitioners, policymakers, and community members, and emphasizes that each of us has a role to play in protecting children from exposure to violence. 

Co-chairs Joe Torre and Bob Listenbee, along with their fellow task force members, presented and discussed the recommendations with the Attorney General and members of the Federal Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice, which includes representatives from nine federal agencies as well as juvenile justice practitioners.

“Some of our children may grow up in safety and stability, but when millions do not, our entire society suffers,” noted Torre and Listenbee in their remarks to the Attorney General. “We pay astronomical costs to the health care, child welfare, justice, and other systems because we have not yet done what we know works to prevent and treat childhood exposure to violence.”

Though the task force’s work has come to a close, the work of preventing, reducing, and treating children’s exposure to violence remains an urgent priority. NCCD continues to work in the areas of child welfare, juvenile justice, LGBT youth, and education to ensure that children have safe, stable homes and communities.

In the coming weeks, we’ll feature blog posts from Defending Childhood Task Force members, witnesses who provided testimony at the task force hearings, NCCD staff, and more. Visit the blog frequently to learn more about what works to protect children and what you can do to help.

For more information on the Defending Childhood Task Force, contact Erin Hanusa at (800) 306-6223.

Pictured above: Joe Torre, Co-Chair of the Defending Childhood Task Force and Chairman of the Joe Torre Safe At Home® Foundation; Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.; and Robert L. Listenbee, Jr., Co-Chair of the Defending Childhood Task Force, Chief of the Juvenile Unit of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, and Incoming Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)

This project was supported by Grant No. 2011-DD-BX-K037 awarded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice.

Photo: Office of Justice Programs

Erin Hanusa is the Senior Communications Manager at NCCD.

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