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WEDNESDAY, MAY 6, 1998202/307-0703


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- To help initiate community-based prevention and early intervention efforts, the Justice Department's Executive Office for Weed and Seed (EOWS), in partnership with the National Guard Bureau, today broadcast a national satellite teleconference to over 150 downlink sites.

The broadcast featured a discussion of a 1997 study by the Child Welfare League of America indicating that an effective early intervention program can save taxpayers more than $400,000 per child in out-of-home placement, law enforcement and incarceration costs.

"We know that prevention and early intervention programs can save money and, more importantly, save lives," said EOWS Director Stephen Rickman. "These efforts are a critical part of reducing crime and revitalizing neighborhoods."

The broadcast examined the link between child maltreatment, substance abuse and juvenile crime. It also featured anti-drug education programs, truancy prevention and intervention efforts, positive life choices programs, and juvenile justice alternatives for youth involved in substance abuse.

Featured programs included the Illinois National Guard's Operation First Choice, a drug demand reduction program that serves at-risk youth in Chicago, Springfield and Peoria. As a part of this program, National Guardsmen mentor and counsel third and fourth graders at one local elementary school. Since the pilot program began, suspension rates within the school have fallen by 55 percent, while truancy rates declined by 45 percent.

Today's broadcast also spotlighted two Florida programs. The Escambia County Juvenile Drug Court Treatment Program, funded by the Justice Department's Drug Court Program Office, is an alternative to incarceration for nonviolent substance-abusing juvenile offenders. The program includes substance abuse treatment, drug testing and counseling. The West Palm Beach Police Department's Truancy Interdiction Program identifies truant youth and provides counseling for the youth and their families to prevent future truancy.

The teleconference reached law enforcement officials, juvenile court officials, substance abuse treatment providers, school leaders and U.S. Attorneys and was also broadcast live on the Law Enforcement Television Network.

To learn more about the other Weed and Seed conferences and programs, visit the EOWS web site at

Information about other OJP bureaus and program offices is available at Media should contact OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.

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EOWS 98124

After hours contact: Adam Spector, 202/516-6800