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Letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives Concerning Measures To Combat Juvenile Delinquency.

May 11, 1961

Dear Mr. Speaker:

I have received reports indicating that there has been an increase in the amount of juvenile delinquency in both urban and rural communities. This delinquency seems to occur most often among school drop-outs and unemployed youth faced with limited opportunities and from broken families.

I view the present trend with serious concern. Juvenile delinquency and youth offenses diminish the strength and the vitality of our Nation; they present serious problems to all the communities affected; and they leave indelible impressions upon the people involved which often cause continuing problems.

Many steps have already been taken to broaden the available opportunities for learning and work and to remove barriers to the full utilization of our young people. I am, today, issuing an Executive Order directing the Attorney General, the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare and the Secretary of Labor to coordinate their efforts in the development of a program of Federal leadership to assist the States and local communities in their efforts to reduce juvenile delinquency. But with our greatly increased teenage population, further measures are necessary. The social, educational, economic, and law enforcement aspects of delinquency must all be considered in any effective program to combat this condition in our society.

In order to accomplish these objectives, I am transmitting herewith legislation to enable the Federal Government to undertake projects designed to demonstrate and evaluate the most effective ways of using our resources to combat juvenile delinquency within local communities. Measures must be taken to reach deeply into the experiences of everyday life in deprived families and local communities. We must undertake a program integrating specific remedies into a total attack upon the prevention and control of youth offenses.

By means of the proposed legislation, the Federal Government will be able to provide assistance to those dedicated persons in local communities throughout the Nation who are striving in many ways to create the social conditions that will ensure the growth of a skilled and resourceful population of young men and women who are firm in character and committed to the development of a democratic way of life.

The enclosed letter from the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare explains in detail the proposed legislation.



Note: The letter was addressed to the Honorable Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Executive Order 10940 "Establishing the President's Committee on Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Crime" is published in the Federal Register (26 F.R. 4136)-Secretary Ribicoff's letter was also released.

John F. Kennedy, Letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives Concerning Measures To Combat Juvenile Delinquency. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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