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Letter to the Attorney General on a Program To Combat Juvenile Delinquency in the District of Columbia.

August 22, 1964

[ Released August 22, 1964. Dated August 18, 1964 ]

Dear Mr. Attorney General:

Thank you for your letter on behalf of the Committee on Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Crime and the program proposed by Washington Action for Youth for an attack on juvenile delinquency in the District of Columbia.

I am pleased to know that the program prepared by the citizens of the District and approved by the Committee will attack the underlying causes of delinquency as well as try to improve the methods of dealing with children already in trouble with the law. I am also pleased that the program is designed to stimulate all parts of the community to join in this battle, for it cannot be won unless the total community is willing and enabled to help. In addition, I believe it makes sense to coordinate the juvenile delinquency program through the United Planning Organization with the work already being done in the Washington area by the Ford Foundation and the work which can be undertaken here to attack poverty under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.

The Federal Government has properly been concerned, through your Committee, with the preparation of this program. It must be no less concerned that it cooperate fully in implementing it. To this end, I request that you, together with the Secretaries of Commerce, Labor, and Health, Education, and Welfare, and the Administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Agency, each appoint one or two persons from your respective staffs to a group that will see to it that every possible Federal aid is given to the Washington program. I have asked Mr. Charles Horsky, my Advisor for National Capital Affairs, to serve as chairman of the group, and to keep me personally advised as to the progress of the program.

May I take this occasion to extend my gratitude to the members of the Committee on Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Crime, and to all who are working for and with the Committee, for the efforts you have made in this vital area.



[Honorable Robert F. Kennedy, The Attorney General, Washington, D.C.]

Note: The Attorney General's letter, also made public, stated that the program was prepared by District of Columbia citizens and officials under a planning grant from the President's Committee on Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Grime, and that the program had been approved by the Committee.

The letter further stated that the Committee believed that the Nation's capital could and should be a leader in demonstrating that juvenile delinquency is not an incurable social cancer. "To this end," the letter continued, "we have taken steps to insure that the experience already available from demonstration programs in other cities has been fully exploited in the preparation of this . . . program for the District. We are encouraged to know that the Congress shares our view, and has authorized an appropriation of $5,000,000 to carry out the District program."

The letter concluded by stating that the program was designed for a target area, the Cardozo area, in the inner city, and that it would form a vital part of a larger program financed under the poverty bill and a grant from the Ford Foundation which would extend throughout the entire metropolitan area.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Letter to the Attorney General on a Program To Combat Juvenile Delinquency in the District of Columbia. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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