Responding to Gang, Crew and Youth Violence in the District of Columbia

dizzyluv25

Responding to Gang, Crew and Youth Violence in the District of Columbia

March 20, 2009HFTCCOLLABORATIVECOUNCILHealthy FamiliesThriving Communities1112 11th Street, NW, Suite BWashington, DC 20001www.hftcc.org202.299.0900 PHONE202.299.0901FAXJacquelyn Henry, Ed.D.Executive DirectorCOUNCIL MEMBERS:Columbia Heights/Shaw Family SupportCollaborativeEast River Family StrengtheningCollaborativeEdgewood/Brookland Family SupportCollaborativeFar Southeast Family StrengtheningCollaborativeGeorgia Avenue/Rock Creek EastFamily Support CollaborativeNorth Capitol Collaborative, Inc.South Washington/West of the River FamilyStrengthening CollaborativeASSOCIATE MEMBERS:DC Action for ChildrenCenter for the Study of Social PolicyDC Children’s Trust FundConsortium for Child WelfareCathy L. LanierChief of PoliceMetropolitan Police Department300 Indiana Avenue NWWashington, DC 20001Dear Chief Lanier:We are pleased to transmit to you this report on gang, crew and youth violence in theDistrict, which was prepared under a grant from MPD.While there are many components to violence prevention, this report focuses on thosestrategies that engage the community and attempt to address some of the causes of violence.However, from our experience over the past eleven years serving thousands offamilies through our Healthy Families/Thriving Communities Collaborative network,we recognize that poverty is the single greatest stressor for all too many District familiesand increases the likelihood of poor outcomes for children and youth. So until wesucceed at lifting all our neighbors to economic self-sufficiency, we will constantly beputting out the brush fires that poverty feeds.We know that this is a city with great assets, determined political leadership and citizenseager to strengthen our neighborhoods so that all children can thrive. Over thepast decade, many of the components of the national violence prevention models havebeen tested in the District. We’ve had numerous high quality reports that have identifiedthe issues and proposed solutions to youth violence. It is our hope that this reportwill build off these experiences and drive both short and long term actions that will besustained over time. Given the current fiscal climate, we appreciate the challenges thecity will face in identifying the resources necessary to implement this report. We urgethe Administration to direct as much of the federal Recovery Act funds to this missionas possible.Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this important work. We look forward toworking with you, Mayor Fenty, the City Council and all our community partners to assurethat the recommendations presented in this document are aggressively pursued.Sincerely,Dr. Jacquelyn HenryExecutive DirectorEugene Kinlow, ChairHFTC Collaborative Council


LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURESTable 1. Characteristics of Gangs and Crews...............................................................................................................3Table 2. Frequency Distribution of Juvenile Arrests for Violent Crimes, DC 2008 ....................................................5Table 3. Timeline of Significant Reports ...................................................................................................................15Table 4. Youth Violence Risk and Protective Factors................................................................................................27Table 5: Warning Signs of Youth Violence ...............................................................................................................28Table 6. Prevention Strategies ....................................................................................................................................38Figure 1. Juvenile Arrests for Violent Crimes: 2004 to 2008......................................................................................6Figure 2. Breakdown of Juveniles and Adults Arrested for Top 5 Arrest Categories in 2008.....................................6Figure 3. MPD Map of DC Violent Crime Locations: 1/1/08 to 1/31/09 ....................................................................7Figure 4. MPD Map of DC Homicide Locations: 1/1/08 to 1/31/09.............................................................................8Figure 5. Distribution of Juvenile Violent Crime Arrests: 2008 ...................................................................................9Figure 6. Gangs and Crews by Ward.............................................................................................................................9Figure 7. Crew Loctions - Ward 7..............................................................................................................................10Figure 8. Crew Locations - Ward 8 ...........................................................................................................................11Figure 9. Use of Best Practice or Evidence-Based Model..........................................................................................42Figure 10. Best Practices/Evidence-Based Practices Used by Respondents ...............................................................42iv


A BLUEPRINT FOR ACTIONEXECUTIVE SUMMARYChargeThis Blueprint for Action was commissioned by Councilmember Jim Graham and the Council of the District of Columbiato provide a framework for developing a comprehensive, community-based strategy to prevent youth involvementin violence, particularly gang and crew activity, and address its root causes. The research and writing was completedby staff of the Healthy Families Thriving Communities Collaborative Council and informed by the input of communitystakeholders, research contractors and consultants.ContentChapter 1 examines the state of youth violence in the District of Columbia, particularly the incidence of violent crimescommitted by juveniles and the infiltration of gangs and crews into community life. The chapter also discusses broadlythe impact of violence on young people. Chapter 2 explores a history of community responses to youth violence by highlightingsignificant reports and program initiatives over the last several decades. Chapter 3 offers a summative set offindings that follow from the first two chapters. Chapter 4 explores the complex causes of youth violence and relevanttheories developed to explain them. Chapter 5 studies emerging state and local efforts to prevent youth violence throughoutthe country. Finally, Chapter 6 provides recommendations to the Council of the District of Columbia in support ofits desire to bring a comprehensive approach to the District’s efforts.MethodMany primary and secondary data sources are integrated into this document. These include publicly available data fromthe District and national sources; results of confidential interviews with government, nonprofit and philanthropic stakeholdersthroughout the District; and survey results from two studies assessing perspectives on youth violence and youthviolence work among young people and program providers. These data supplement a comprehensive review of priorstudies, reports and initiatives aimed at improving outcomes for youth and increasing public safety in the District of Columbiaand a thorough analysis of national best practices and model programs.FindingsThis report finds that several key elements characterize effective youth violence response practice in the District:• Strong, consistent and trusting community/police partnerships are essential for the work to be successful.• Intensive targeted street level outreach is necessary to identify and engage gang and crew involved young people.• Outreach work requires passion, commitment and compassion.• Outreach workers need solid supervision, training and support.• Mediation between feuding groups requires multi-layered approaches and solutions.• Many neighborhood “beefs” have become generational and require multi-generational interventions.• Evidence-based approaches including Family Group Conferencing and Solution Focused Therapy are frequent componentsof successful intervention plans.Regarding the local response to youth violence, this report finds:• Many critical components of a citywide violence prevention strategy have already been proposed and tested in theDistrict but little has been done to learn from these efforts.• There is little publicly available data relating to crews and gangs in the District.• Support for community-based services has too often been driven by crisis or political considerations and has notbeen sustained over time.• The violence intervention and prevention programs that are currently funded are disjointed and not part of a broadercitywide strategy.• The bifurcation of the juvenile justice system in the District creates unique and difficult challenges in developing anintegrated approach to youth violence prevention.• The organization of the adult criminal justice system is a deterrent to coordinated services for offenders and ex-offenders.• School culture, truancy and dropout are major factors in the continuation of youth violence in the District.• Mental health services for the District’s highest risk youth are inadequate in availability and design.v


• Job readiness and employment supports for out-of-school youth are in short supply.• There is a significant lack of program accountability by both public and private funders.• Information sharing across agencies and with community partners is hampered by a lack of connected data bases.• Confusion over confidentiality laws as well as the laws themselves restrict coordination of services and limit theability to track high-risk youth.• Youth violence prevention efforts under way at the MPD Division level are poorly publicized and not utilized todevelop a broader citywide strategy.With regard to the state of the art nationally, this report finds:• Gang assessments are necessary to determine the scale of the problem.• Community input and ownership are essential to effective programs.• Suppression efforts alone do not reduce youth violence.• Youth violence is not an isolated phenomenon, but is rooted in the socioeconomic conditions of a community.• Successful violence prevention efforts focus on evidence-based, best or promising strategies to strengthen theprotective factors in the life of a youth.• Successful violence prevention models have strong and consistent support from both political and communityleaders.• Successful models are both community-based and community-driven.• Programs and supports are most successful when they are strengths-based, youth-driven and family-centered.• Successful models place heavy emphasis on partner development, community capacity building and networkdevelopment.• Funding must be sufficient to meet the need, invested in a clearly defined strategy, encourage models of best practiceand be sustained over the long run.• New mechanisms for managing community-based efforts are necessary to allow for flexibility, accountability topartners and funders, and responsiveness to the changing needs of the population of focus.• Clearly defined systems of accountability driven by an outcomes focus are essential and must be reflected in contracts,data collection and reporting.RecommendationsFinally, the Blueprint details 12 distinct recommendations. The first four are focused on short-term actions that willstrengthen and better coordinate existing gang and crew intervention activities. Recommendations 5 through 12 relateto the development of a longer-term strategy to plan for and implement a comprehensive gang, crew and violence preventionstrategy for the District.Phase One Recommendations1. Create a joint working group of the CCCYVP and the core Focused Improvement Area (FIA) team (including MPD,the City Administrator’s Office, and other agencies as identified by the Mayor’s Office) to develop a coordinated responseto high profile youth violence.2. Expand capacity of Critical Incident and Targeted Youth Outreach Teams.3. Support the Citywide Coordinating Council for Youth Violence Prevention (CCCYVP) in its role to coordinate andstrengthen the work of its partners and grantees.4. Resource and implement place-based strategies for safety and de-escalation, particularly in schools and publichousing sites.Long-Term Recommendations5. Establish a citywide, multidisciplinary, multi-agency Commission tasked with advising the City regarding coordinatingand streamlining resources dedicated to gang, crew and other youth violence intervention and prevention efforts.vi


6. Within 120 days of establishing the Commission, develop a comprehensive citywide violence prevention plan in responseto the Blueprint for Action.7. Program interventions should be outcomes driven, have clearly defined goals and measurements of success and reflectbest and evidence based programs and proven strategies.8. The District should develop a data tracking system to ensure that the disparate data collection systems of public andprivate agencies are aligned and document progress. This action will support data driven decisions and facilitate servicesto youth.9. Build the capacity for program evaluation.A BLUEPRINT FOR ACTION10. Develop a funding mechanism for sustainability that maximizes current expenditures and includes new fundingstreams to support the comprehensive plan.11. Assure that the client serving components of the District’s Criminal and Juvenile Justice System are aligned withthe violence prevention plan.12. Bolster public supports in key areas (education, workforce development and health) to create a basic safety net forfamilies affected by violence and reduce the underlying conditions that inculcate violent behaviors. Couple these effortswith awareness-raising activities to make such supports accessible.vii


IntroductionThis Blueprint for Action was commissioned by CouncilmemberJim Graham and the Council of the District ofColumbia to provide a framework for developing a comprehensive,community-based strategy to prevent youthinvolvement in violence, particularly gang and crew activity,and address its root causes. The Blueprint is dividedinto six chapters. Chapter 1 examines the state of youthviolence in the District of Columbia, particularly the incidenceof violent crimes committed by juveniles and theinfiltration of gangs and crews into community life. Thechapter also discusses broadly the impact of violence onyoung people. Chapter 2 explores a history of communityresponses to youth violence by highlighting significant reportsand program initiatives over the last several decades.Chapter 3 offers a summative set of findings that followfrom the first two chapters. Chapter 4 explores the complexcauses of youth violence and relevant theories developedto explain them. Chapter 5 studies emerging stateand local efforts to prevent youth violence throughout thecountry. Finally, Chapter 6 provides recommendations tothe Council of the District of Columbia in support of itsdesire to bring a comprehensive approach to the District’sefforts.While identifying the factors that predispose young peopleto involvement in violence, the report attempts to expressthe overriding sentiment of the youth violence preventionfield: it is not enough to target the individual and familialfactors that lead to violence, but rather a successful, sustainedapproach must also address the environmental andstructural factors that are equally implicated in producingbad outcomes for residents. The report seeks to provide acogent case for pairing strategies to prevent violence withthose designed to develop healthy communities. Ultimately,the goal of this report is to engage community actorsat all levels to participate in the formation andimplementation of a dramatic response to youth violence.Gang and crew violence is perceived by the public asamong the most challenging and serious social problemsfacing the District, both because of its deleterious impacton the lives of young people and because it signals a breakdownin a society’s ability to appropriately develop itsyouth. The District government has long invested in effortsto support the healthy development of its young peopleliving in stressful environments. Such investmentsBACKGROUNDA BLUEPRINT FOR ACTIONhave included those involving positive youth development,employment training, and the reform of key publicsystems including education, juvenile justice and childwelfare, designed to support young people. The Districthas also benefited from the work of community-based organizationsand networks that have sought to intervene insituations in which youth have been involved in violence.These include, but are not limited to: Peaceoholics, Eastof the River Clergy-Police Community Partnership,Covenant House, Sasha Bruce, Latin American YouthCenter, Alliance of Concerned Men, Reaching Out to OthersTogether (ROOT), the Young Women’s Project, theGang Intervention Partnership (GIP), and many others.Despite these good efforts, necessary progress has notbeen made in preventing violence before it occurs.Too often, violence prevention in the District has been theobjective of organizations, agencies and individual familiesworking in relative isolation, not collaboration. 1 Ittends to focus exclusively on individual change, ratherthan on the comprehensive spectrum of supports at the individual,community and structural levels necessary to sustainchange. To approach success in preventing violence,government and law enforcement, community organizationsand the private sector must work together. This workmust be intensive and address the systemic and structuralfactors that cause violent environments while engagingcommunity members in the neighborhoods most directlyaffected by violence.AssumptionsFour practice-based assumptions serve as the foundationfor this Blueprint:• Violence is preventable and prevention is sustained bythe development of strong communities.• Youth violence is not an isolated phenomenon, but is aresult of flawed government, community and family efforts.Effective prevention recognizes youth violence asan expression of broader family, community, social, culturaland political dynamics requiring comprehensive,multi-dimensional and long term responses.• A range of actors is needed to prevent youth violence,including young people themselves, and the public and privatesectors have equal responsibility for this work.• Preventing youth violence requires a long-term commitmentto address the individual, familial, environmentaland structural factors that place young people at risk for involvementin violence.1 Government and program stakeholders, Mosaica interview, September 2008.1


BACKGROUNDMethodologyThis Blueprint was prepared through a study of the followingresources:• Publicly available data from District and nationalsources;• A review of prior studies, reports and initiatives aimedat improving outcomes for youth and increasing publicsafety in the District of Columbia;• A comprehensive scan of national best practices andmodel programs;• Confidential interviews of stakeholders representinggovernment, nonprofits, juvenile justice experts and funderscommissioned by the Collaborative Council and completedunder contract with Mosaica; 2• An online survey of nonprofit providers conducted bythe Collaborative Council; and• A survey of youth conducted by Reaching Out to OthersTogether (ROOT) and Howard University.For purposes of this Blueprint, youth are defined as ages14 to 24. While this goes beyond the legal definition ofyouth, it reflects a widely held understanding that manyyoung adults have not matured emotionally, and have notdeveloped age-appropriate social and anger managementskills. Of the District’s approximately 590,000 residents,123,000 (20 percent) meet this definition of youth. We usethe definition of violence established by the World HealthOrganization and widely accepted by those who work toprevent violence: “The intentional use of physical force orpower, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person,or against a group or community, that either results inor has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychologicalharm, maldevelopment or deprivation.” 3Voices from the DistrictThroughout this report will be quotes from interviews ofrepresentatives of nonprofits, the juvenile justice system,government and funders. The interviews werecommissioned by the Collaborative Council and conductedunder contract with Mosaica.2 For a full list of interview prompts, see Appendix 1. For a summary of interview findings, see Appendix 2.3 World Report on Violence and Health (Geneva: World Health Organization, 2002).2


A BLUEPRINT FOR ACTIONFigure 3. MPD map of DC Violent Crime Locations: 1/1/08 to 1/31/097


A BLUEPRINT FOR ACTIONFigure 8. Crew Locations in Ward 811


A BLUEPRINT FOR ACTIONTattoos: While generally associated with gangs, tattoosare increasingly becoming a common identifier for crewmembers who are adopting symbols or designs that identifytheir group. For those wishing to discontinue involvementin gangs or crews, the presence of tattoosbecomes a real barrier. Rival groups continue to harassand target these individuals simply due to their tattoos.There are long term impacts on those with tattoos includingadditional challenges in finding employment and beingstereotyped by others. Tattoo removal is both painful andexpensive, and there are few resources available to assistwith the costs of tattoo removal.Colors and clothing: The use of specific colors and clothingto demonstrate membership in and allegiance to agroup is primarily a function of gangs. For example, redis the predominant Bloods color and it is sported on theright. Often, gang members will wear sport team clothingconsistent with their identifying color. Other identifiersinclude the use of bandanas and beads worn around theneck, wrist or ankle.Hand signs: Unique hand signs are used frequently toidentify other gang members, show allegiance and communicatewith other gang members.Violence Impacts Youth’s Safety andOpportunityNot all of the city’s gangs and crews are actively involvedin violent behavior, but all are at high risk of committingor being victimized by acts of violence. Youth involvementin violence is not only about perpetration; many Districtyouth are direct or indirect victims of violence. It isestimated that between 50% and 80% of the District’syoung people are affected in some way by violence. 24 Severalstriking findings were detailed in a recent survey ofnearly 400 DC students conducted jointly by Reaching Outto Others Together (ROOTS) and the Howard UniversityDepartment of Psychiatry:• A large proportion of respondents had been “highly exposed”to violence (80%), defined by contact with gunfireor the experience of a family member or friend havingbeen killed by gunfire.• Over two thirds of respondents reported they did not receiveany type of services following such exposure.• While the most violence was experienced by older respondents,this group was the least likely to have receivedservices related to violence. 25Safety: School is Not Safe for all Young PeopleAdditional individual-level surveys of District youthfound: 26• Twenty-one percent of students grades 9 through 12 carrieda weapon (gun, knife or club) at least one day in the30 days prior to the survey as compared with 18 percentnationally;• Forty-three percent were in one or more physical fightswithin the 12 months before the survey as compared with35.5 percent nationwide;• Fourteen percent of students reported that they had beentruant in the last 30 days because they felt unsafe on theirway to and from school or in school as compared to 5.5percent nationally; and• Twelve percent attempted suicide during the 12 monthsbefore the survey as compared to 6.9 percent nationwide.Dropout and Truancy:Disconnection from School is DangerousThe District has one ofthe highest dropoutrates in the county witha graduation rate ofonly 43%. DC schoolchildrenconvey a highlevel of disaffectionwith school; truancyand dropout are markersof disaffection. 27Those at great risk oftruancy and droppingout can be identifiedearly. Sixth graderswho attend school lessVoices from the DistrictThe schools are the nexus“where all of these kids interact,meet, coalesce at somepoint in their lives. The degreeto which schools do not checkthe culture of the school anddo not create schools as asafe space where kids want tobe encourages youth to gravitateto gangs and crews for asense of belonging andbeing wanted.”than 80 percent of the time display poor and disruptive behaviorand are failing either math or English, and are athigh risk of truancy and dropping out in high school. 28 Byeighth grade, the pattern is even clearer. A pattern of truancyalmost always precedes dropping out. Typically, studentswith poor behavior have only a 20% chance of24 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, District of Columbia subsample, Centers for Disease Control, 2007.25 Analysis of survey data compiled by ROOTS and Howard University, “Exposure to Violence Among African American Youths in Washington, DC”, 2008.26 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, District of Columbia subsample, Centers for Disease Control, 2007.27 Adam Kernan-Schloss and Bill Potapchuk, “Double the Numbers for College Success: A Call to Action for the District of Columbia” (Washington: Doublethe Numbers Coalition, 2006).28 Ibid.13


CHAPTER 1: THE STATE OF YOUTH VIOLENCEgraduating. 29 Students who are disaffected are most likelyto join gangs. Indeed, unstructured time provides opportunitiesfor young people to get into serious trouble. 30The correlation between youth crime, violence and schoolattendance is strong. Community stakeholders report thatvirtually all gang- and crew-involved and violent youthare truants or dropouts. 31 Students with more than ninedays of truancy are:• 12 times more likely to be involved in assault crimes;• 22 times more likely to be involved in serious propertycrimes; and• 16 times more likely to use marijuana by age 14. 32Mental Health: Violence Disrupts Healthy MentalDevelopmentAn extensive body of research indicates that high-qualitymental health services for juveniles can have long-lasting,positive effects on emotional dysfunctions and are likely topromote positive academic, social and behavioral outcomes.33 Thus, targeted mental health services are a criticalcomponent of the array of interventions communitiesneed to adopt to combat delinquency and youth violence.National experts estimate that 20 percent of children andadolescents have diagnosable mental health problems. Tenpercent of 12- to 17-year-olds have mental health problemsserious enough to cause impairment at home, inschool or in the community. Yet, nationwide, less than 20percent of children in need of mental health service receiveit. Most mental health services for children are deliveredin schools, and those children who receive help at schoolare more likely to keep appointments and complete theircare. 34 They are also less likely to engage in fights, to besuspended or to leave school prior to graduation. 35Youth living in low income communities in the District ofColumbia experience mental health problems at far higherlevels than the national average. Based on data from charterschools, (which serve similar populations as DCPS butbenefit from research under the Safe Schools/Healthy Studentgrants) it is estimated that 75% of DC low-incomemiddle school students experience two signs of depression.Twenty percent of DC public and charter high schoolstudents reported feelings of intense sadness and hopelessnessin the preceding 30 days. Depression levels wereso high that 14 percent of high school students attendingDC Public Schools and charters reported seriously consideringsuicide, with almost 12 percent admitting to havingmade a suicide plan. 36Low levels of violence such as intimidation and bullyingshould not be dismissed, as bullying has been linked witha number of mental health issues including anxiety, depressionand anger, and can lead to retribution. 37 Unfortunately,bullying occurs at exceptionally high levels inDC schools. For example, approximately 30 percent ofDC public charter middle school students report some typeof bullying weekly. 38 More than one in four middle schoolstudents are threatened with injury weekly, more than halfare mocked or taunted monthly, and over one-third do notfeel safe at school, generally. 39 Bullying victims are 50percent more likely to skip classes and 60 percent morelikely to be truant than non-victims. 4029 Robert Balfanz, Liza Herzog and Douglas MacIver, “Preventing Student Disengagement and Keeping Students on the Graduation Path in Urban Middle-Grades Schools: Early Identification and Effective Interventions,” Educational Psychologist, 42.4 (2007).30 Ibid.31 Funder stakeholders, Mosaica interview, September 2008.32 Kimberly Henry and David Huizinga, “Truancy’s Effect on the Onset of Drug Use among Urban Adolescents Placed at Risk,” Journal of Adolescent Health,40.4 (2007).33 For an introduction to this literature, see Kimberly Hoagwood, Barbara Burns, Laurel Kiser, Heather Ringeisen and Sonja Schoenwald, “Evidence-BasedPractice in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services”, Psychiatric Services, 52.9 (2001): 1179-1189.34 United States, Department of Health and Human Services, Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General (Rockville, MD: Department of Health andHuman Services, 1999).35 Comprehensive youth violence prevention and intervention components should include: afterschool programs and recreation, mentoring, behavioral and mentalhealth treatment, family therapy, parenting education, drug and alcohol resistance skills and therapy, academic support and skills building, youth employment,intensive supervision and wrap around supports.36 “Key Findings from the Survey of Middle School Students Grades 5 through 8,” The Informer 1.4 (2006).37 Marcel van der Wal, Cees AM de Wit and Remy A Hirasing, “Psychosocial Health Among Young Victims and Offenders of Direct and Indirect Bullying”,Pediatrics 111.6 (2003): 1312-1317.38 “Key Findings from the Survey of Middle School Students Grades 5 through 8,” The Informer 1.4 (2006).39 Ibid.40 Ibid.14


CHAPTER 2:YOUTH VIOLENCE PREVENTION EFFORTS IN THE DISTRICTMixed Results among Local Efforts toQuell ViolenceSignificant ReportsOver the past 15 years, numerous plans, reports and proposalsaddressing youth violence prevention in the Districthave been prepared by both public and private agencies.Unfortunately, of those recommendations funded and implemented,most have been short lived due to budgetaryconstraints or diminished political support.Table 3. Timeline of Significant ReportsThe sense of disillusion is growing and we need to“find answers – short term and long term – to the crisis.Efforts have been made to effect a change, buttraditional avenues of outreach are not adequate.Support has been piece meal and lost its powerbecause it has not been holistic in nature. It is time totake a new approach to reaching and supporting theseyoung people and their families. We must meet themon their terms and find what works for them.”1993 Chavous Plan for Saving Our Youth 411993: Healthy, Housed and Safe: A Progress Report on the District’s Children• Developed by the District of Columbia Office of the Children’s Defense Fund, this report summarized the status of children’s health andsafety. It offered a series of recommendations including a number of supporting violence prevention programs.1993: The Chavous Plan for Saving Our Youth: Our Children and Youth in Harm’s Way• Designed to make strategic investments in a range of services in Wards 7 and 8 to affect infant mortality, child poverty and youth crime.1996: DC Safe Kids/Safe Streets Collaborative Proposal• Developed by DC Agenda and submitted to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; a plan to reduce delinquency andchild abuse and neglect. (Not funded)2001: Blue Ribbon Commission on Youth Safety and Juvenile Justice Reform in the District of Columbia• The Commission was composed of key leaders from government, the courts, the legal community, and funders, among others. While focusingmainly on the Oakhill detention facility and laws governing the juvenile justice system, the report also offered a wide range of recommendationsincluding the establishment of a permanent Youth Services Coordinating Commission, strengthening of government/communitypartnerships to better serve at-risk youth, and expansion of more comprehensive community-based investments that prevent youth from enteringthe juvenile justice system.2002: Safe Passages: District of Columbia FY2002 Children and Youth Action Plan• Under the lead of the Office of Policy and Evaluation, this report was a comprehensive overview of the status of children’s services acrosscity agencies, presenting over 70 specific recommendations for legislative, budget and administrative action along with the establishment ofmeasureable outcomes. The initiative specifically addresses youth on youth violence, and calls for greater coordination of services betweenthe city’s juvenile justice, law enforcement and educational agencies.2005: Effective Youth Development: A Strategy to Ensure District Youth Grow Up Problem-Free, Fully Prepared and Fully Engaged• Findings and operational recommendations developed by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Children, Youth, Families and Elders in collaborationwith District government stakeholder agencies, youth and family services providers, youth and family advocates and District youth.2005: Homicide Reduction Strategy for the District of Columbia• A comprehensive strategy developed by law enforcement partners including MPD, the US Attorney’s Office, Office of the Attorney General,FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, CSOSA and the US Marshals Service. The effort had five components: suppression, deterrence, intervention,investigation and prosecution.2008 Comprehensive Homicide Elimination Task Force Report• Prepared by an eleven member task force composed of public agency representatives and community based organizations, with staff supportprovided by the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, the Report offers a wide range of recommendations in eight areas: familystrengthening, education and training, neighborhood and community care, mental health and substance abuse, community services, law enforcement,witness protection and victim services.41 http://www.dccouncil.dc.us./CHAVOUS/content/hpart_03.shtmlA BLUEPRINT FOR ACTION15


CHAPTER 2: YOUTH VIOLENCE PREVENTION EFFORTS IN THE DISTRICTGIP met other key goals: decreasing gang membership;reducing the number of gang-related suspensions in targetedschools; increasing the involvement of at-risk youthin recreational and other productive activities; and buildingcommunity capacity and consciousness about gangs.The intensive partnership created through GIP came to anend in 2007 when Chief Lanier disbanded the Gang IntelligencePartnership Unit and created the Intelligence FusionDivision. Sworn personnel in this new unit were notassigned to a particular police district or neighborhood butrather responded as needed across the city.Violence Intervention Partnership (VIP): Operating inWards 7 and 8 between 2005 and 2008, VIP focused onsystemic issues relating to violence including crew andgangs, truancy, delinquency and recidivism, by coordinatingenforcement efforts, and integrating programs andservices. Conflict resolution was merged with street-leveloutreach, and buttressed with mentoring services and activitiesthat enforced life skills to create a solid supportsystem for high-risk and at-risk youth. The model provideda full network of comprehensive wrap-around servicesto address problems at their roots, while leveragingpublic and private resources. The core partners were thePeaceoholics, DC Parks and Recreation/Roving Leaders,East of the River Clergy Police Community Partnership,East River Family Strengthening Collaborative, Far SouthEast Family Strengthening Collaborative, MetropolitanPolice Department and the US Attorney’s Office (USAO).The VIP target population included high-risk youth andyoung adults ranging in age from 13 to 26 years old, whowere actively involved in a gang or crew, closely affiliatedwith someone actively involved in a gang or crew,charged with a violent or dangerous crime; and/or on probationor parole following a delinquency adjudication oradult conviction involving a violent or dangerous crime.VIP ended in September 2008 when funding ceased.Weed and Seed: In 2000, the Columbia Heights/ShawFamily Support Collaborative (CH/SFSC) became the firstDepartment of Justice-funded Weed and Seed site in theDistrict. The purpose of the Weed and Seed strategy is to,within a designated area, address the social and crime issuesplaguing the community. The Weed side, which consistsof law enforcement entities, comes in initially toaddress the immediate crime needs through a variety ofcrime suppression or “weeding” tactics. Once this taskhas been started, it then becomes the job of the Seed side,which consists of the community policing aspect of lawenforcement, community-based organizations, governmentalagencies, and last but not least, community residentswho develop ways to plant or “seed” resources andservices back into the community. Over the past eightyears this NW W&S effort has been reauthorized eachyear. The focus of W&S has nurtured developing partnershipsbetween police and community groups. As “seeding”began to succeed and initial target neighborhoodsbecame safe again, the W&S area has shifted East. For2008, the work has continued in police service areas(PSAs) 302 and 404 (in Wards 1 and 4 respectively).In the summer of 2005, The East of the River Clergy, Police,Community, Partnership, Inc. (ERCPCP) establishedthe Frederick Douglass Memorial Weed and Seed Site.Within this site the primary focus is residents of Ward 8who live in PSA 701, specifically Pitts Pl; PSA 702,specifically Woodland Terrace; and PSA 704, specificallythe Villages of Parkland. The Weed and Seed strategyprovides programming that targets residents of all ages andneeds. The services currently offered include a tutorialprogram for elementary-aged youth in PSA 701, violenceintervention programs for high-school aged youth andyoung adults, and lastly, parenting workshops and trainingsin PSA 704.Each DC Weed & Seed site is governed by a NeighborhoodAdvisory Board (NAB). These boards are composedof the site coordinator, community residents, representative(s)from the USAO, representative(s) from the MetropolitanPolice Department (MPD), representative(s) fromthe Executive Office of the Mayor, representative(s) fromthe Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency(CSOSA), and individuals who have been previously involvedwith Weed and Seed. The NAB makes resource allocationdecisions, which are informed by crime and arreststatistics for their site, through monthly meetings.Second Responder: The Second Responder program is anotherexample of the city’s more recent and unconventionalapproaches to address youth violence at thecommunity level. Implemented in 2007, the program targetedyouth living in Wards 7 and 8 of DC who were participatingin, at risk of participating in, or victims ofviolent behaviors. These youth and their families receivedan array of short-term (3-4 months) and intensive socialservices. Unlike other programs that may simply haveworked to provide alternative outlets for youth, the programconcentrated on resolving the underlying familial issuesthat later manifest in violent behavior.Individual/family therapy, parent coaching, solution-focusedcase management, and family meetings were com-18


A BLUEPRINT FOR ACTIONbined into the program’s core intervention strategy and allowedall parties, particularly the youth, to assume the collectiveresponsibility of reducing violent behaviors.Evaluating the extent to which participating youth demonstratedreductions in violent behaviors rested in the use oftwo standardized assessment instruments. The Home andCommunity Behavior Scale (HCBS) 44 is a 64-item instrumentmeasuring antisocial behavior, social competence,and behavioral patterns within the home and community.The HCBS was selected based on its comprehensive approachto children’s behavior, ability to identify the areawhere youth needed the most support, and reliability intracking behavioral change. The Child-Parent RelationshipScale 45 is a 15-item instrument that allowed each parentto assess the strength of the relationship with his or herchild. These assessments were administered both prior tothe delivery of any case management service(s) and whenservices were terminated.School-Based Initiatives: In the past decade, spurred byFederal grants to charter schools under the comprehensiveSafe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative (SS/HS) the Districtof Columbia has begun to implement a spectrum ofevidence-based practices serving at-risk youth in both publicand charter schools. School-based mental health serviceshave also been established under the leadership of theDepartment of Mental Health. These efforts have been elevatedwith the creation, by Mayor Fenty, of the Mayor’sInteragency Collaboration and Service Integration Commission(ICSIC) managed by the deputy mayor for education.ICSIC has adopted six citywide goals for the District’schildren:• Goal 1: Children are ready for school ;• Goal 2: Children and youth succeed in school ;• Goal 3: Children and youth practice healthy behaviors;• Goal 4: Children and youth engage in meaningful activities;• Goal 5: Children and youth live in healthy, stable andsupportive families; and• Goal 6: All youth make a successful transition toadulthood.Over the past two years, ICSIC introduced evidence-basedcurriculum, a treatment oriented model for mental healthservices and improved school policing practices to DC publicschools, all aimed at producing better outcomes for childrenand youth. Some of the programs undertaken havealready proven effective in DCPS and have been introducedinto charter schools.The combined efforts of the SS/HS grants, DMH andICSIC include:• School mental health services in 82 schools;• Second Step violence prevention curriculum in 20 charterand 16 DCPS schools;• Life Skills Training for substance abuse prevention in30 DCPS schools;• Focused use of an evidence-based prevention programin 12 DCPS and 12 charter schools; and• Training of all School Resource Officers.The work of the SS/HS is being closely monitored andevaluated as part of DC school reform and is expected tolead to reductions in bullying and violence in DC publicschools. Those programs funded by ICSIC are being evaluatedby an independent evaluator.Focused Improvement Area Initiative (FIA): Launchedby Mayor Adrian Fenty in October 2007 to address increasedcrime in three targeted neighborhoods, the FIA isdesigned to leverage existing public and private resourcesto reduce criminal activity and increase quality of life. Itsfocus is improved response to quality-of-life issues such asvacant properties and trash combined with communitypolicingefforts and the delivery of human services. TheFIA is managed by MPD and reports to the Mayor throughthe CapStat process.Preliminary data indicate that the MPD suppression effortsinitiated under the FIA have reduced crime. The Departmentof Transportation and the Department of PublicWorks, supported by the Mayor’s Office of CommunityRelations and Services and neighborhood residents, havebrought new life to the target areas by improving lighting,cleaning alleys and removing abandoned vehicles. However,in the absence of consistent staffing and new supportsfor community-based organizations, FIA has limitedability to address the broader human service needs of theresidents, especially those at highest risk of being involvedin criminal activity.43 Government stakeholders, Mosaica interview, September 2008.44 Kenneth W. Merrell and Paul Caldarella, “Home and Community Social Behavior Scales,” 2008, Paul H. Brookes Publishing Company, 10 Mar 2009.45 Robert C. Pianta, “Child-parent relationship scale,” 1992, University of Virginia, 10 Mar. 2009.19


CHAPTER 2: YOUTH VIOLENCE PREVENTION EFFORTS IN THE DISTRICTIn an effort to build greater community capacity to supportthe FIA, the Mayor’s Office created the Community-Based Violence Reduction Fund (CBVRF) in 2008. Thislocally funded initiative, to be administered by the JusticeGrants Administration, was expected to provide fundingfor community-led approaches to violence reduction inhigh-risk District communities in FY2009 and beyond. ARequest for Proposals to reduce violence by encouragingcollaborative efforts between communities and law enforcement,prosecution, judiciary, and private, nonprofitvictim services agencies to address violence in at-riskcommunities was issued in October 2008. It was expectedthat the RFP would result in the funding of two consortiums(one each in the Trinidad and Washington Highlandsneighborhoods) each composed of at least three community-basedorganizations.The outcome goals presented for these consortiums included:1. Reducing incidences of Part I offenses and Part I recidivismin target communities;2. Ending violent activity between pre-identified crews orsets;3. Referring members of target communities to FocusedImprovement Area (FIA) teams at the Department ofHuman Services;4. Increasing the number of guns turned in to MPD; and5. Increasing the number of GEDs completed by membersof the target communities.While there were a number of applications submitted forthis initiative, the funding to support it ($475,000) waseliminated from the District budget by the City Council asa part of its efforts to address an anticipated budget deficit.Citywide Coordinating Council on Youth Violence Prevention(CCCYVP): The Citywide Coordinating Councilon Youth Violence Prevention was created by the Councilof the District of Columbia in 2008 with the leadership ofWard One Councilmember Jim Graham. The ExecutiveCommittee of the Coordinating Council is composed ofthe East of the River Clergy Police Community Partnership,Peaceoholics, and the Columbia Heights/Shaw FamilySupport Collaborative, (which is also managing theinitiative.) The purpose of the Coordinating Council is todevelop a citywide youth violence prevention and interventionmovement from the ground up. Specifically, theCoordinating Council strives to implement the followingstrategies:• Strengthen and Align the Work: To create a unified andstrategic citywide effort to reduce and ultimately eradicateyouth violence;• Ensure Effective Crisis Response: To expand and ensureeffective coverage, response, and follow-up togang/crew youth violence incidents; and• Expand Leadership: To cultivate leadership citywide.In June 2008 the Coordinating Council issued a Requestfor Proposals to fund programs for the summer of 2008designed to intervene with young people (DC residents,aged 14-24) who are at risk of being violent or who are alreadyinvolved with gangs/crews and/or violence. Programsto be funded were expected to:• Reduce youth/gang violence.• Create safe and supportive opportunities for youth andtheir families who want to escape violence; and• Target the six identified Focused Improvement Areas(FIAs), and neighborhoods outside these FIAs affected bygangs/crews within these designated geographic areas.In July 2008, the Coordinating Council made 23 awards tocommunity and faith-based organizations ranging from$500 to $20,000 totaling $200,000 for activities to be conductedbetween July 15 and September 30. During thisperiod the Council also paid stipends to youth outreachworkers that totaled $53,000. Efforts funded through thegrantees included one-time events, trainings, outreach andcase management. During the course of the summer, thegrantees met regularly to build a community-based networkof supports for youth. Existing Critical Incidents(CI) teams already established by the three ExecutiveCommittee organizations were expanded. These CI teamsform within 24 hours of a violent gang/crew related incident.They create a vital opportunity to share informationbetween parties and to make immediate plans for the careof the victim, perpetrator and their families. Though difficultto prove, it is believed these CI teams have preventednumerous retaliatory attacks. The Coordinating Councilalso provided six mandatory training sessions in the firstfunding cycle to build the capacity and cohesiveness ofthe grantees.With an additional FY2009 appropriation, the CoordinatingCouncil awarded 24 new grants to 17 communitybasedorganizations in February 2009. These grants, alongwith flex funds for client support and stipends for youthoutreach workers total $665,000 for programs to be operatedthrough the end of the fiscal year.The Executive Committee has met since April 2008 tooversee the operations of grantees and other citywide efforts.In February 2009, the Advisory Committee of theCCCYVP began meeting regularly. These committeesoversee the daily and weekly efforts of the three communityoutreach/support workers as well as the activities of20


CHAPTER 2: YOUTH VIOLENCE PREVENTION EFFORTS IN THE DISTRICTIn response to these access barriers, COSIG has allowedAPRA and DMH to partner in creating a substanceabusedelivery system that is eligible to bill Medicaid for itsservices. This is a significant change for DC and makessubstance abuse services considerably more available foryouth than they have been in many years. Four establishedcommunity substance abuse treatment providers areexpected to begin offering Medicaid eligible services inMarch 2009.Police Service Area Initiatives: There are a number oftargeted efforts under way at the Police Service Area(PSA) level to address juvenile crime. (There are a totalof 46 PSAs in the seven MPD Districts.) A complete inventoryof such efforts is not available. One such exampleis the Juvenile Response Unit Pilot Project operating inPSA 104 (Ward 6). Created in November 2008, this efforthas already resulted in a dramatic reduction of juvenilecrime in the target neighborhoods. Under the initiative,officers establish a “beat book” on juvenile offenders andassociates, assist with truancy efforts, liaison betweenSchool Resource Officers, PSA officers and DC HousingAuthority police, and respond to crimes involving juveniles(both suspects and victims). 4646 David Kamperin, “MPD-1D Juvenile Projects,” presented to the Ward 6 Juvenile Justice Task Force, City Hall, Washington, 12 January 2009.22


O bom conflito✗✗✗✗Focalizar os interesses e não as posições (o que aspessoas dizem que querem, e isso é negociável).Transformar adversários em aliados (“sócios doproblema”).Concentrar-se em criar alternativas (opções).Construir o acordo.O importante é perceber que, por mais que o relacionamentoesteja complicado, é essencial que os adversáriosencarem o problema como uma tarefa a ser enfrentadaem conjunto.E o que de melhor pode acontecer comRegina e Marcelo, Leonardo e seus pais,Luiz Carlos e Jerônimo?No “circuito interativo”, o que um faz influencia oque o outro faz e vice-versa: quanto mais Regina se responsabilizapelas contas, mais Marcelo se sente livre paragastar no que lhe dá prazer. Desse modo, estabelecem umcírculo vicioso, em que o problema se cristaliza nas brigasintermináveis. Talvez essas brigas estejam preenchendooutras necessidades que não estão muito aparentes (umjogo de mãe e filho ou o medo de ter uma relação afetivamais íntima); mas, se não for o caso, outros tipos deacordo poderão ser mais eficientes, como, por exemplo, ocompromisso de colocar parte do dinheiro de ambos num“caixa único” destinado a pagar os gastos fixos, progra-40


CHAPTER 3: LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE DISTRICT EXPERIENCEand tools to change their lives; and give them incrementalsteps to make those changes.Findings from the District Scan1. Many critical components of a citywide violence preventionstrategy have already been proposed and tested in theDistrict but little has been done to learn from these efforts.Over the past two decades, numerous plans and reports onyouth violence prevention in the District have been preparedby both public and private agencies. A number ofprograms resulting from this body of work were implementedand have been recognized as national models andmany more have been considered successful by communitystakeholders interviewed for this report. However,there has been almost no investment in evaluation, and forprograms that were discontinued, closeout reports havenever been prepared. Therefore, despite the investment ofmillions of dollars over the years, there is no cumulativebody of lessons learned from which to guide future work.2. There is little publicly available data relating to crewsand gangs in the District.While MPD adult arrestforms have a placeto identify a crime thatis gang related, the juvenilearrest forms arenot designed to collectcomparable information.There is no citywideeffort throughwhich MPD, theschools and communityorganizationsshare intelligenceabout crews and gangs,gang and crew relatedtattoos and graffiti,jointly identify thoseVoices from the DistrictWe learned that there“weren’t many organizationsthat could go out there,engage and retain theindividuals that were involvedin the most risky behaviorsand risky activities. I thinkthere is some disconnect.It’s challenging work. It’s ahigh poverty area, but you canstill get the best of the highpoverty area pretty easily.It’s hard to get the worstof the worst.”groups that are engaged in violent behavior or at high riskof doing so or identify victims as being gang or crew involved.3. Support for community-based services has too oftenbeen driven by crisis or political considerations and hasnot been sustained over time.Funding for even the most successful of the District’s violenceprevention efforts has seldom been sustained overthe long haul. Programs are funded as a crisis response,and then lose support over time. Providers report that thelack of certainty of funding creates barriers for those interestedin serving the most at-risk population. Worse, allowingwell functioning services to be discontinued breakstrust with and feeds the disenfranchisement of the youthand neighborhoods they were designed to support.4. Those violence intervention and prevention programsthat are currently funded are disjointed and not part ofa broader citywide strategy.There are currently multiple funding streams for programsserving at-risk youth, each with different target populations,program goals, outcome measures, reporting requirementsand service delivery strategies. The design ofthe funding and the implementation of these programs donot incorporate existing programs and therefore communicationand collaboration do not occur.5. The bifurcation of the juvenile justice system in the Districtcreates unique and difficult challenges in developingan integrated approach to youth violence prevention.The District has two distinct systems serving juvenile offenders;Court Social Services (CSS), funded by the federalgovernment and managed by DC Superior Court, andthe Department of Youth Rehabilitative Services (DYRS).CSS is responsible for all juveniles from their point of arrestto sentencing, and provides ongoing services to youthfor whom criminal involvement has been determined. Thenumber of youth currently being monitored by CSS isroughly 1,700. These youth can live at home or in a varietyof community settings. Youth considered unsuccessfulin the community (often re-offending) or thought to be avery serious safety risk are committed to the custody ofDYRS. Approximately 20% of youth offenders get committedto the District in this way. These youth can live athome, in community settings including foster care andgroup homes, secure detention and residential placementfacilities.This separation in care and planning for DC youth offenderscreates many structural barriers to good, comprehensiveplanning and results in unnecessary threats to theyouth and community due to a lack of good communityplans:• Due to its federal funding and structure, CSS often operatesin isolation from other child/youth serving entitiesin the city; as a result CSS staff (probation officers) areoften not knowledgeable about services, supports, programsor activities available in the community.• Youth on probation most often only get access to servicesspecifically designed and funded by CSS though intruth they are eligible for a wide array of community basedand Medicaid funded supports.24


A BLUEPRINT FOR ACTION• Youth can be detained at the Youth Service Center forweeks pre adjudication. The facility is run by DYRS butall youth detained there are under the monitoring of CSS.However, coordination between the entities is poor – thereis no centralized information sharing system between theagencies.• These youth, though securely detained, are not assigneda DYRS case manager until after their commitment. However,DYRS spends considerable time and funds attemptingto plan for the youth’s return to the community, CSSdoes not drive this process.• This structure creates counter-incentives for diligent,creative work by CSS staff with youth under their care.Unsuccessful probation merely ends with commitment toDYRS and the challenging youth is no longer under CSSmonitoring.• District youth who commit serious and/or violent crimesare often charged as adults and therefore subject to thecomplications of the adult justice system.6. The organization of the adult criminal justice systemis a deterrent to coordinated services for offenders andex-offenders.The adult criminal justice system in the District is composedof three distinct service components, each under differentfunding streams and management. The Departmentof Corrections operates the DC jail and serves offenderswith sentences of less than one year. The Federal Bureauof Prisons houses all felons with commitments of one yearor longer, and Court Services and Offender SupportAgency (CSOSA) funded by the Department of Justice,monitors and supports offenders on probation or parole.Currently there are over 15,000 offenders under the supervisionof CSOSA and an estimated 60,000 ex-offendersresiding in the District.The coordination between these agencies is generallythought to be inconsistent and weak. Young people withhistories of gang and crew involvement are not consistentlyidentified as they travel between these systems. Dischargeplanning from residential or detention facilitiesdoes not generally include mechanisms for engaging communitypartners to support gang or crew involved youngpeople.7. School culture, truancy and dropout are major factorsin the continuation of youth violence in the District.There is agreement among key stakeholders that the vastmajority of youth engaging in violent behavior have notsucceeded in school. Dropouts and truants are significantlymore likely to be involved in assault and seriousproperty crimes. In short, unstructured time provides opportunitiesfor young people to get into serious trouble andprovides fertile ground for gang involvement.While recent efforts by the Office of State Superintendentof Education (OSSE) to revise truancy regulations are astep in the right direction, the city continues to lack a continuumof community-based resources to support truantsand their families. A number of small but successful truancyintervention programs operating over the past threeyears have recently lost funding. While some new fundingfor truancy programs was recently made available bythe Children’s Youth Investment Trust, the level of financialsupport will only allow services to a small portion oftruants, and will be targeted to high school youth. Manystakeholders expressed urgency for addressing truancy inboth elementary and middle schools, as that is where patternsof behavior are more likely to be changed. Importantto note is that, of the many reasons that a youth stops attendingschool, lack of an engaged, caring school cultureis one factor squarely in the hands of professionals runningthe school. There have been inadequate efforts byDCPS to shift school culture into one that accepts responsibilityfor the success and wellbeing of every student.8. Mental health services for the District’s highest riskyouth are inadequate in availability and design.The current children’s mental health system is ill-equippedto serve large numbers of those not in schools; the disconnecteddrop-outs, push outs and chronically truant aremost at risk of joining gangs and crews and to engage inviolent acts. Providers have few incentives to expandservices when the reimbursement system remains in disarrayand the rate structure fails to cover costs of deliveringservices. Those youth who do not meet the criterion(diagnosable mental illness) for service by Core ServiceAgencies funded by the Department of Mental Health areeven less likely to access the services they need, such asthose addressing trauma, grief and loss. When they doqualify for care, CSA culture, including mandatory intakesessions in clinic settings; poor cultural and communitycompetence and a lack of true responsiveness to crises furtheralienate youth and their use of these services. Thefederal Medicaid program continues to be underutilized,requiring unnecessary expenditure of general purpose revenueson core services.New leadership in the Department of Mental Health Children’sDivision and the creation of the Department ofHealth Care Financing provide reasons for optimism. Importantstrides have been made in expanding school-basedservices and piloting a number of evidence-based modelswithin the schools. A small inter-agency pilot wrap-25


CHAPTER 3: LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE DISTRICT EXPERIENCEaround project is attempting to divert multi-system involvedyouth from out-of-state residential placements.Addressing unmet mental health needs of children andyouth must be recognized as a core element of youth violenceprevention and the existing gaps in services shouldbe acknowledged for the public health crisis that they are.9. Job readiness and employment supports for out-ofschoolyouth are in short supply.While there are no published data on the number of out-ofschoolyouth served by various programs funded by theDepartment of Employment Services, community leadersknowledgeable in this field estimate that it is less than 600youth annually. Over the past two years, the District’s emphasishas been almost entirely on the summer youth employmentprogram. However, there has been nocommensurate increase in funding for year-round out-ofschoolyouth programs. Services lacking include pre-employmenttraining, job placement, coaching and retentionsupports, and subsidized employment.In addition, the District’s capacity to re-engage youth byproviding GED classes is inadequate. In 2006, accordingto the American Council of Education, there were only 524District residents of all ages who passed the GED.sharing system across human services agencies has recentlybeen discontinued. Due to this lack of access toshared data, youth and families who are involved in multiplesystems are very likely to have multiple and inconsistentcase plans and little continuity of services.Stakeholders acknowledged that as a result, too manyyouth fall between the cracks.12. Confusion over confidentiality laws as well as thelaws themselves restrict coordination of services andlimit the ability to track high-risk youth.While much information can be shared if parents orguardians sign a waiver of confidentiality, there are stilllimitations. Stakeholders acknowledge the privacy rightsof children, but express frustration that confidentiality restrictsthe ability to best serve them.13. Youth violence prevention efforts under way at theMPD Division level are poorly publicized and not utilizedto develop a broader citywide strategy.There are a number of creative, strengths-based and family-focusedyouth violence prevention activities under wayat the PSA level. However, little information about theseefforts is available to the public, the work is not being uniformlyevaluated, and the lessons learned are not informingdecision-making across District government.10. There is a significant lack of program accountabilityby both public and private funders.There is a consensus of opinion that the city and otherfunders have far to go toward establishing measureableoutcomes for programs. They have failed to: invest adequatelyin evaluation, require quality data collection and toweigh prior performance consistently when making fundingdecisions. 47 The outcomes regularly tracked by programsare process focused or are limited to numbers ofunits of service, not improvements in outcomes for participants.As a result, there is often weak confidence inthe effectiveness of current efforts, even those that arewell-funded.11. Information sharing across agencies and with communitypartners is hampered by a lack of connected databases.Following nearly ten years of effort, the District’s plan todevelop the Safe Passages Information System (SPIS) data47 Funding stakeholders, Mosaica interview, September 200826


CHAPTER 4:THE CAUSES AND COMBATANTS OF YOUTH VIOLENCEA BLUEPRINT FOR ACTIONChildren and Youth Face Risks onMany LevelsTable 4. Risk and Protective FactorsResearch stemming from youth violence prevention theorieshas significantly increased our understanding of the factorsthat make some populations more vulnerable to violence. Researchershave identified a number of factors that put childrenand youth at risk of violent behavior, and others thatseem to protect them from the effects of risk. Youth Violence,A Report to the Surgeon General, identified a risk factor as“anything that increases the probability that a person will sufferharm,” and a protective factor as “something that decreasesthe potential harmful effect of a risk factor.” To createeffective policies and programs, it is necessary to better un-Early Onset Risk Factors(age 6-11)General offensesSubstance useBeing maleAggressionPsychological conditionHyperactivityProblem (antisocial) behaviorExposure to television violenceMedical, physicalLow IQAntisocial attitudes, beliefsDishonestyLow socioeconomic status/povertyAntisocial parentsPoor parent-child relationsHarsh, lax or inconsistent disciplineBroken homeSeparation from parentsOther conditionsAbusive parentsNeglectPoor attitude, performanceWeak social tiesAntisocial peersLate Onset Risk Factors(age 12-14)INDIVIDUALGeneral offensesPsychological conditionRestlessnessDifficult concentratingRisk takingAggressionBeing malePhysical violenceAntisocial attitudes, beliefsCrimes against personsProblems (antisocial) behaviorLow IQSubstance useFAMILYPoor parent-child relationsHarsh, lax, discipline; poor monitoring,supervisionLow parental involvementAntisocial parentsBroken homeLow socioeconomicStatus/povertyAbusive parentsOther conditionsFamily conflictSCHOOLPoor attitude, performanceAcademic failurePEER GROUPWeak social tiesAntisocial, delinquent peersGang membershipCOMMUNITYNeighborhood crime, drugsNeighborhood disorganizationProtective FactorsIntolerant attitudestoward devianceHigh IQBeing femalePositive social orientationPerceived sanctions fortransgressionsWarm, supportive relationship with parentor other adultsParent’s positive evaluation of peersParental monitoringCommitment to schoolRecognition for involvement in conventionalactivitiesFriends who engage inconventional behavior27


CHAPTER 4: THE CAUSES AND COMBATANTS OF YOUTH VIOLENCEderstand these risk and protective factors at work behindyouth violence and to know what interventions are morelikely to be successful at different stages of a child’s development.There are four widely recognized domains of risk and protectivefactors: 1) individual; 2) family; 3) peer group/school;and, 4) community. Risk and protective factors manifestthemselves at different developmental stages. That is to say,factors that are important during early childhood become lessinfluential in mid-to late adolescence. For example, as a childages, peer influences increasingly outweigh family influence.48 The primary risk factors and the corollary protectivefactors follow in Table 4.Societal or Structural Risk Factors• Presence of policies and laws that causegeographic and psychic isolation from broadercommunity• Lack of public space• Lack of public services• Poor economic infrastructure• Poor educational infrastructure• Non-responsive systems and services• Limited political agency• Presence of restrictive policies for socialcontrolTable 5. Warning Signs of Youth Violence• High exposure toenvironmental riskfactors• Poor publiccommunity imageVoices from the DistrictYou can actually gauge“the depression of a communityby the number of smilesyou see.”Research is also indicativeof the fact that there is significant overlap among thevictims and perpetrators of violence. Furthermore, it is apparentwithin the literature that violence does not occur randomly;rather it is the result of a combination of inter-reliantfactors. Risk factors increase the likelihood that a personwill become violent; however, risk factors are not directcauses of youth violence. Protective factors reduce the likelihoodof a person becoming violent.Researchers have found that most youth violence startslate (between the ages of 15 and 16). However, those childrenwho display violent behaviors when very young(early onset) are most likely to show a pattern of seriousand continually violent behavior which escalates into adolescenceand beyond.Risk Factors Confronting Youthin the DistrictAs in most other urban cities throughout the country, manychildren and youth in the District grow up in homes and• Frequent loss of temper• Frequent physical fighting• Significant vandalism or property damage• Making serious threats• Extreme impulsiveness• Alcohol and drug abuse• Easily frustrated• Hurting animals• Preoccupation with violent or morbid themes orfantasies in schoolwork, at home, or choice ofentertainment• Carrying a weapon• Name calling, abusive language• Bullying or being bullied• Truancy• Excessive feelings of rejection, isolation, orpersecution• Depression, despairWarning Signs of Youth Violence 49• Low self-esteem• Threatening or attempting suicide• Extreme mood swings• Deteriorating school performance• Being witness to or subject of domestic abuse• Setting fires• Preoccupation with weapons and explosives• History of discipline problems• Social withdrawal• Blaming others for difficulties and problemsNote: These indicators are not necessarily reliable precursors or predictorsof violent or delinquent behavior. They must be interpretedcarefully and cautiously to avoid the risk of unfairly labeling and stigmatizingan individual. Just as important as responding to early warningsigns is not over-reaching; in what US Secretary of EducationRichard W. Riley called “mechanical profiling of students.” Stereotypingand labeling can have devastating and indelible effects. .48 United States, Department of Health and Human Services, Youth Violence: A Report of the Surgeon General, (Rockville: Department of Health and HumanServices, 2001).49 Youth & Violence — Medicine, Nursing and Public Health: Connecting the Dots to Prevent Violence; Commission for the Prevention of Violence, Dec. 200028


environments that putthem at higher risk thanthere counterparts insuburban neighborhoods.Risks relatingto exposure to violence,low performingschools and a weakmental health systemwere addressed inChapter 1.Voices from the DistrictThe level of disconnection,“level of trust and confidence inthe future, lack of affordablehousing, growing numbersof kids becoming disconnectedfrom their families andschools and well-paying jobs –it’s all fuel for what we’re seeingon the streets .”A BLUEPRINT FOR ACTIONWarning Signs of Youth ViolenceMany children and youth who behave violently have along history of emotional and behavior problems. Symptomsoften exist for years, and are not isolated behaviorsor single emotional outbursts. In an effort to assist parents,educators and service providers identify children andyouth who are exhibiting behaviors that may lead to violence,researchers suggest the following signs. It is especiallyimportant to consult with a mental healthprofessional when a child exhibits multiple signs simultaneously:Following are some of the most significant additional factorsthat impact the likelihood District youth will be involvedwith violence:• Over 108,000 District residents live in poverty;• 32% of all children live in poverty;• 54 % of children live in single parent and father-absenthouseholds;• 36% of District residents are functionally illiterate;• One in ten children is born to a teenage mother; 50According to the Substance Abuse and Mental HealthServices Administration, “An accumulation of risk factorsis more important in predicting violent behaviorsthan is the presence of any single factor. The more riskfactors a child or young person is exposed to, the greaterthe likelihood that he or she will become violent.” 51Therefore, it is even more troubling that the highest ratesof poverty, single parent headed households, child abuseand neglect, teen pregnancy, unemployment and illiteracyare concentrated in certain neighborhoods in the District,especially those in Wards 7 and 8. It is no surprisethen that these neighborhoods also experience the highestcrime.In summary, as stated in Youth Violence: Report to theSurgeon General:“Violence prevention and intervention efforts hinge onidentifying risk and protective factors and determiningwhen they emerge. To be effective, such efforts must beappropriate to a youth’s stage of development. Moreover,the factors targeted by violence prevention programs maybe different from those targeted by intervention programs…”Patterns of Adolescent Violence 52Researchers have delineatedfour distincttypes of adolescent violence.Voices from the DistrictOften, young people are not“fully conscious of theirbehavior – it’s called ‘poorimpulse control’ in the jargon –they become instinctual ratherthan intellectual.”SituationalThis pattern is responsiveto catalysts, suchas street tension, frustrations,events, poverty and oppression, as well as availabilityof weapons, alcohol or drugs. It accounts for about25 percent of adolescent violence.RelationalViolence can arise from interpersonal disputes, generallybetween family members or friends. It includes dating violence,and often is the result of differing interpretations ofactions and meaning such as experiences of being “disrespected.”About 25 percent of adolescent violence fallsinto this category.PredatoryThis is the violence of crews and gangs, typically includingmuggings, robbery and even random shootings. Researchershave found it is often a pattern of serious chronicantisocial behavior. While generally 5 to 8 percent of violence,it is estimated that as many as 20 percent of teensare involved in some incidents of this type.PathologicalGenerally a byproduct of serious mental illness, it is rare,causing about 1 percent of violence. But because it maybe caused by psychopathological behaviors, it can be particularlyviolent.50 Every KID COUNTS in the District of Columbia: 15th Annual Fact Book 2008 Survey; DC Children’s Trust Fund.51 (http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/publications/allpubs/SVP-0054/pathways.asp#five)52 United States, Department of Health and Human Services, Understanding Youth Violence: The CMHS Approach to Enhancing Youth Resilience and PreventionYouth Violence in Schools and Communities (Washington: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2001).29


CHAPTER 4: THE CAUSES AND COMBATANTS OF YOUTH VIOLENCENo Single Theory Explains YouthViolenceAlthough no single theory has been able to explain the multifacetedcomponents of the social, psychological, and biophysicalfacets that appear to be intertwined within violentbehaviors, some theories are better suited than others tounderstand and prevent youth violence. From these researchtraditions, various philosophies developed to informthe practice of reducing youth violence. Suchapproaches include the public health, ecological, publicsafety, community peace, resiliency and positive youth developmenttheories. These approaches are not mutuallyexclusive.Public Health ApproachThe study of violence prevention and intervention, combinedwith the practical medical demands of addressingthe results of violence has led to the creation of a “publichealth” approach to youth and other kinds of violence.The public health approach is a holistic, comprehensiveand preventive approach that is implemented on a larger,population-wide scale than is the law enforcement approach,for example. According to the Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention (CDC), the public healthapproach to violence prevention is a four-step process,which involves defining the problem, identifying risk andprotective factors, developing and testing preventionstrategies, and assuring widespread adoption:1. The first step in preventing violence is to grasp themagnitude of the problem: analyzing data such as thenumber of violence-related behaviors, injuries, anddeaths. Data can demonstrate how frequently violenceoccurs, where it is occurs, trends, and who the victimsand perpetrators are. Data are gathered from widerangingsources including, police reports, medical examinerfiles, vital records, hospital charts, registriesand population-based surveys.2. Determining the key cause(s)/risk factors associatedwith the problem; in this case, identifying risk and protectivefactors help identify where prevention effortsneed to be focused.3. Developing an action plan to tackle the problembased on the identified cause(s)/risk factors; researchdata and findings from needs assessments, communitysurveys, stakeholder interviews, and focus groups areuseful for designing prevention programs. Using thesedata and findings is known as an evidence-based approachto program planning. Once programs are implemented,they are evaluated rigorously to determinetheir effectiveness.4. Implementing policies and procedures within thedefined population. Once prevention programs havebeen proven effective, they must be disseminated.Communities are encouraged to adapt programs tomeet their own needs and to evaluate the program’ssuccess. Dissemination techniques to promote widespreadadoption include training, networking, technicalassistance, and process evaluation. 53The public health approach to any problem is interdisciplinaryand science-based, meaning that it draws frommany disciplines including medicine, psychology, sociology,criminology, epidemiology, education and economics.54 This combination of knowledge and practice fromsuch diverse disciplines defines the innovation and successof the public health field. The public health approachalso emphasizes collective action in preventing any healthproblem. “Each sector has an important role to play in addressingthe problem of violence and collectively the approachestaken by each have the potential to produceimportant reductions in violence.” 55The public health approach believes that youth violence isa preventable epidemic. It focuses on understanding howrisk factors are related to violence and how protective factorscan aid in developing effective prevention, interventionand suppression initiatives. The public health modelcan significantly reduce the number of injuries and deathscaused by violence by identifying the problem and developingsolutions for the defined population. Additionally,the public health approach aims to disseminate successfulmodels as part of a coordinated effort to educate and reachout to the public.Ecological PerspectiveDue to the fact that there are numerous recurring determinantsof violence it is important to adopt an ecological perspectivein order to tackle the youth violence epidemiceffectively. The Ecological Model explores the relationshipbetween individual and contextual factors and considersviolence as the product of multiple levels ofinfluence on behavior. 56 The ecological perspective high-53 (http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/dvp/PublicHealthApproachTo_ViolencePrevention.htm).54 JA Mercy, ML Rosenberg, KE Powell, CV Broome and WL Roper, “Public Health Policy for Preventing Violence,” Health Affairs, 12.4 (1993).55 World Report on Violence and Health (Geneva: World Health Organization, 2002).30


A BLUEPRINT FOR ACTIONlights the multiple and complex causes of violence and theinteraction of risk factors operating within family, community,social, cultural, and economic contexts. Thismodel also adopts a developmental perspective of how violencemay be linked to different factors at different stagesof one’s life.Public Safety ApproachHistorically, most jurisdictions sought to solve youthdelinquency and violencewith a law and Voices from the DistrictDC does not always“embrace its youth in apositive light. We demonizeour youth so much. We rarelyfocus on the good stuff. I thinkthat we have encouraged aculture of fear of youth in thiscity. I don’t think it’s that hardto fix, but we have to becommitted to fixing it. I justthink that a part of gangviolence prevention, a criticalpiece has to be, to embraceour youth as an importantasset and to embrace ouryouth in a loving way;letting them know that theyare significant.”order, or public safetyapproach. This approachfocuses on suppressingviolent andsocially-unacceptablebehavior. Five basicstrategies have evolvedin dealing with youthgangs: (1) neighborhoodmobilization; (2)social intervention, especiallyyouth outreachand work with streetgangs; (3) provision forsocial and economicopportunities, such asspecial school and jobprograms; (4) gangsuppression and incarceration;(5) an organizational development strategy, suchas specialized police and probation gang units.Increasingly, gang and youth violence have been viewedless as social problems and more as criminal and pathologicaldisorders, accordingly the call for ramped up lawenforcement has increased. Unlike in other public safetydiscussions, the “law enforcement approach” deemed necessaryto combat youth and gang violence is often suppressionand not community policing. Key componentsof suppression are surveillance, stakeouts, aggressive patrolsand arrests, curfews, zero tolerance policies/practicesand intelligence gathering. 57Community Peace ApproachIn response to the national concern about youth violence inthe 1990s, the Institute for Community Peace (ICP) wasformed to bring a primary prevention focus to communitybasedviolence problems. The community peace model isa comprehensive, research-basedpracticemodel that combinesthe other approachesand includes thosemost directly affected–community residents,including young people– as the drivers forchange. Essential tothis model are:• Building capacity tocollaborate across disciplineand sector;• Broad-based residentengagement;• A focus on rootcauseanalysis of violence;• The implementationof a comprehensive,evidence-based action plan;Voices from the DistrictMost community based organizationsknow their neigh-“borhoods, they’re on theground, and are familiar withthe people in the neighborhoods.But sometimes it’s achallenge to overcome inertia;recognizing when somethingisn’t working as good as itcould, taking new informationand integrating that into yourapproach; working with evaluationsand looking at differentmodels to integrate. Theredoes tend to be a lot of resistance– like ‘We’ve been doingthis for a long time.’”• Consistent reflection and revision of the plan;• Attention to preventing violence and buildingcommunity; and• A focus on sustainability.The community peace model differs from the other approachesin that it challenges community and collaborativepartners to create a safe environment and to buildcommunity that is resistant to violence. An evolutionaryframework, developed by ICP, assists in understanding theevolutionary process in which communities move fromcrisis and inaction over violence to sustained peace.Called the developmental stages, this framework providesa guide to effective resource distribution and targeting effortsover the life of a community’s work to develop andsustain peace.Resiliency TheoryFor the past 30 years researchers have been trying to determinethe answers to the following questions: Why dosome children from very adverse circumstances grow up tobe productive, responsible adults while others do not?Why are some children “resilient” in the face of seriousrisks, and others are not? What can we do to increase thechances of successful outcomes? The outgrowth of thesequestions and research related to them is known as resiliencytheory, a major theoretical approach to delin-56 U Bronfenbrenner, “Ecological Systems Theory”, Annals of Child Development (1989).57 Ibid.31


CHAPTER 4: THE CAUSES AND COMBATANTS OF YOUTH VIOLENCEquency, youth violence reduction, and the reduction ofother risky behaviors such as substance abuse, child abuseand neglect, teen pregnancy, school failure, drop-out andtruancy. Resiliency theory defines the protective factors infamilies, schools, and communities that exist in the lives ofsuccessful children and youth and compares these to factorsmissing from the lives of children and youth who aretroubled. Researchers found that students who are intelligent,are good students, and have supportive loving relationshipswith parents or other adults, are more likely toavoid negative outcomes. These elements form “protectivefactors” which help children in adverse situations,overcome risks. 58 Such children have been found to havesocial competence, problem-solving skills, autonomy anda sense of purpose and future. 59 Furthermore, resiliencytheory proposes that most people have some of each ofthese attributes, but that those protective factors can bebolstered in families, schools, and communities throughcareful adoption of evidence-based programs.Voices from the DistrictThe difference is how you think of youth work, how“you get them and keep them. Adolescents are cominginto their own power, looking for ways to express themselves;you’re beginning to do that separation thing,from mommy, you’re becoming grown; as the old folksused to say ‘you’re smelling yourself’. So I think whatyouth need is a sense of control of their own destiny.The bottom line is we know it is very difficult to getyoung people to sign up and to stay in services. If youlook around DC, the programs that seem to do bestwith older youth are those that areengaging people—like Young Women’s Project, YouthEducation Alliance, Metro Teen AIDS; where youtharen’t coming to receive services; they’re there to dosomething to exercise their power and make somethinghappen.”Positive Youth DevelopmentResearch shows that youth who feel safe, valued and connectedto caring adults are more likely to be positive aboutlife, school and are generally emotionally healthy and lesslikely to participate in violent behavior. 60 The field of positiveyouth development (PYD) is based on developingmulti-faceted programs that help kids grow into matureand successful adults. 61 Programs rooted in the field ofpositive youth development emphasize youth’s strengths;provide opportunities to learn healthy behaviors; connectyouth with caring adults, promote positive relationshipswith peers; empower youth to assume leadership roles;challenge youth in ways that build their competence andprovide youth with opportunities to learn healthy behaviors.6258 Bonnie Benard, “Fostering Resiliency in Kids: Protective Factors in the Family, School and Community” (Helena: Montana Office of Public Instruction,1991).59 Ibid.60 Ibid.61 Karen Pittman, “Changing the Odds”, Youth Today, 4.2 (1995).62 Ibid.32


CHAPTER 5: LESSONS FROM THE FIELDA BLUEPRINT FOR ACTIONReview of Select Cities’ StrategiesVarious violence-prevention initiatives from cities acrossthe United States were examined as part of the initial researchphase of this report. Plans and programs were reviewedacross five metrics: structure, approach and goals,program components, services and activities, and results,if known. By studying the key components of these initiatives,we are better able to recommend a plan for theDistrict that appreciates the lessons learned from these extantefforts.The following programs, city plans, and references are asample of the plans and programs reviewed:• Blueprint for Action: Preventing Youth Violence inMinneapolis (Minneapolis, Minnesota);• The San Diego Gang Prevention Strategic Action Plan(San Diego, California);• A Guide for Understanding Effective Community-BasedGang Intervention (Los Angeles, California);• Baltimore City Gang Reduction Plan (Baltimore,Maryland);• Reaching Through the Cracks: A Guide toImplementing the Youth Violence ReductionPartnership (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania);• Juvenile Crime Prevention Program (Oregon);• Chicago CeaseFire;• The Boston Ten Point Coalition; and• A Best practice manual: Preventing Violencein Richmond, CaliforniaStructureThe initiatives studied had various catalysts leading totheir creation. In some cities (Minneapolis, San Diego andLos Angeles), elected officials such as members of the citycouncil or the city’s mayor convened stakeholders and createdcommittees or commissions to examine youth violenceissues and propose solutions. These commissionswere often created or supported by legislation. Beyondcity officials, other municipal and state government authoritiesoften got involved; for example, Baltimore’s planwas proposed by the state’s Governor, Oregon’s plan isstatewide and overseen by the state’s Commission on Childrenand Families, and Philadelphia’s effort began with acollaboration of city agency administrators. In Boston andChicago, the efforts examined were created and monitoredby civil society entities, like institutions of higher educationand the faith community. Most cities designed plansthat had prevention/interventions that were communitybasedand community-driven with strong support fromboth public and private agencies.Approach and GoalsIn terms of approach, these initiatives were both horizontallyand vertically complex. They sought to bring togethervarious sectors of the community – governmental,private and nonprofit – and work across a continuum includingprevention, intervention and suppression (horizontalintegration). They established goals at varying unitsof focus, from individuals to communities (vertical integration).Most efforts set broad goals and priorities, targetages for youth and explicit timelines. All efforts centeredaround promoting protective factors and reducing risk factorsand most referred to the importance of neutral conveners,credible and well-trained youth workers, targetedapproaches to neighborhoods and youth, and the importanceof collecting and disseminating data. Some plansalso acknowledged key working assumptions. For example,Philadelphia’s plan emphasizes that youth are assets tothe process of violence reduction and stresses the importanceof nonprofits to the effort. Using staff that would becredible messengers (similar experiences of the participants)was a strategic decision made by several sites. Minneapolis,Baltimore and Chicago CeaseFire emphasize thattheir efforts are grounded in a public health approach. Thepublic health approach coupled with community buildingand within the context of positive youth development wasshown to be successful.Los Angeles used an integrated community approach withfour levels of service goals: (1) violent crisis and life savingefforts; (2) establishing and maintaining communitypeace; (3) factors causing violence toward self and others;and (4) building an environment of nonviolence. Level oneand two goals are prong one services (hardcore, specialized,street and detention/prison-based services and levelthree and four are prong two services (gangresponsive/specific individual and family services. Baltimoreadhered to the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Modelintegrating Public Health and Law enforcement.Program Components, Servicesand ActivitiesThe core components of each plan are varied. In Minneapolis,law enforcement plays a large role in diversifyingits police force, expanding its juvenile crime unit,33


CHAPTER 5: LESSONS FROM THE FIELDintegrating publicsafety technology into Voices from the Districtthe work and fighting The whole concept of collaborationand coordination iscrime at the precinct “level. Other activities way easier said than done,in Minneapolis includedmentoring, job CBO community as well, butand this is likely true within thecreation, teen pregnancyprevention, par-definitely within government;There’s a lot of entrenchedviews within government inent and publicdifferent agencies. MPD thinkseducation, and mentalthis way, and DHS thinks anotherway. There’s also a lothealth and substanceabuse services. San out of our control in terms ofDiego’s plan attempted what agencies have to focusto saturate high-risk on. Many of our human servicesagencies are in courtcommunities with increasedpolice presence cases. So to tear down silosand community services,including mentor-and get people to collaborateis tricky and sometimes takesway more than expected.ing and tutoring, Safe”Passages programs,and employment services. The city also placed emphasison building the capacity of city agencies to service youthand families and developing criteria for documentinggangs. Similarly, Los Angeles divided its efforts acrossseveral levels of work, focusing dually on detention- andprison-based services and individual and family services inthe community that were gang-responsive. At the streetlevel,Los Angeles focused on building and maintainingtruces, quelling rumors, and enforcing safety zones. Intensivestreet-level violence intervention efforts were seento break cycles of violence and prevent retribution. Simultaneously,the city sought to increase recreational services,promote arts and culture among youth, reach out tothe lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community andengage youth in job training and employment, amongother things. Sites used multidisciplinary teams meetingweekly to share data and standardize protocols. Sharing of“street intelligence” across youth serving and law enforcementagencies and organizations was critical to identificationof the highest-risk youth.Baltimore sought to replicate Boston’s “Street Workers”approach and Chicago’s CeaseFire program, which resultedin the city’s Safe Streets Initiative. The city alsosought to increase opportunities for recreation, afterschoolactivities, and employment, along with strengthening thecapacity of community organizations. Law enforcementagencies standardized practice relating to gangs, and additionalpublic policy measures were proposed, particularlyaround the area of existing confidentialityconcernings surrounding targeted youth. Many programsbegan their work by intervening in areas exhibiting theproblem the most and targeting offenders. Using a parallelstrategy these programs tried to reach fringe membersand younger at-risk youth. There was not a lot of researchin this area. It appeared that short-term efforts should betargeted to those highest-risk youth with a history of involvementin the juvenile and criminal justice systems.Using a parallel strategy helped get to the right participantsinvolved; sometimes the gang leaders had younger membersdoing the serious, horrible crimes to distract fromthemselves. It was indicated that incarcerating gang leaderseventually can lead to the problem getting worse upontheir release. Intensive street-level, violence-interventionefforts were seen to break cycles of violence and preventretribution.Review of related programs and a literature search revealedthat suppression is a popular response to gang violence;but, it is not successful over time. Suppressioncampaigns used during crime surges are usually seen aspolitical strategies. 63 Additionally, police gang units thatdo not incorporatecommunity policingstrategies aren’t integratedinto the department’spatrol andinvestigative functions,and don’t havestrengthened managerialcontrols often becomeineffective. 64Suppression effortsalone cannot deteryouth violence. Targetedlaw enforcementsuppression strategies,balanced with evidence-basedservices,are more successful.Core public agenciesmust with communitybasedagencies to as-Voices from the DistrictWe need to build on the“strengths of young people,their families andcommunities, to build publicsafety; not just extinguish kids’bad behaviors, but help themand their neighborhoods andfamilies flourish.Too often we want to measuresuccess by focusing on theyouth not getting rearrested,not using drugs or notgetting into fights.Problem-free is not fullyprepared. I have a child and Idon’t say ‘It was a good day;you didn’t use drugs orget arrested.’”63 Judith Greene and Kevin Pranis, “Gang Wars: The Failure of Enforcement Tactics and the Need for Effective Public Safety Strategies” (Washington: JusticePolicy Institute, 2007).64 Ibid.65 Balanced approach: Model Operation Ceasefire and the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency (OJJDP) Comprehensive GangModel.34


A BLUEPRINT FOR ACTIONsure key specialized supports; e.g., education, mentalhealth, and substance abuse treatment. 65The Los Angeles model emphasized that a locale implementinga community-based strategy should at a minimuminclude street mediation, truce development, peace agreementmaintenance, crisis intervention, evidence-basedmental health services, job training, development andplacement, removal of gang-related visible tattoos, juvenile/criminaljustice support/alternatives, and educationalsupport and services. Programs that link mental healthservices to an intensive supervisory system are seen tohave more success in reducing recidivism and violencetheir either approach alone.ResultsSome of the plans and programs included some degree ofmeasurement and reporting to support the work proposed.Minneapolis observed reductions in both overall and juvenilecrime by the end of 2007. The city also tracks violentacts committed against or by young people, riskfactors, and additional protective measures related to lowerlikelihoods of violence. Evaluations of Chicago Cease-Fire are mixed, but the program has recorded reductions inthe number of shootings and homicides in the city. 66 LikeLos Angeles, Baltimore outlines a number of measuresand objectives for its plan. In addition to monitoring gunviolence and other indicators of youth crime, the city’splan establishes objectives related to reducing drop outrates, increasing student achievement, providing supportsto youth after incarceration and strengthening communitybasedinterventions. Oregon annually publishes data onprogress toward state goals, including details surroundingcrime and public safety.The Urban Institute conducted an evaluation of the GangReduction Program sponsored by the Office of JuvenileJustice and Delinquency Prevention that included Los Angeles,Milwaukee, North Miami Beach, and Richmond. Atthe time of this preliminary evaluation, Los Angeles wasthe only site that showed a significant reduction in gang relatedincidences and violence. 67 The strategies developedand administered in Los Angeles to combat youth gangproblems were community mobilization, opportunitiesprovision, social intervention, suppression and organizationalchange and development. They were deemed to besuccessful in part due to efforts of city-county governmentleaders, effective development of a steering committee,inter-organizational collaboration and the use of an interdisciplinaryintervention team.SummaryAcross all of the metrics examined, we find that city andstate initiatives employ mixed methods to combat youthviolence. The most robust plans include strategies that extendwell beyond crime reduction and focus on improvingthe social and economic station of high-risk children andfamilies. These plans are accompanied by defined measuresof success and detailed objectives and timelines foraccomplishing this important work. It was evident fromthe research that a comprehensive approach that balancesprevention, intervention, and suppression has the highestpotential of reducing gang/crew violence. The use of evidence-based,best and promising practices to obtain resultswere also indicated.Summative Findings fromthe National ScanThe following summative findings are based on workscited and consulted regarding best practices in youth violenceprevention as well as a review of implementationplans addressing youth violence and gangs developed incities across the country. It is evident that gang/crew violenceis largely preventable.1. Gang assessments are necessary to determine thescale of the problem.Regardless of population size, any community that sensesit is experiencing a youth gang problem needs to undertakea thorough, objective, and comprehensive assessmentprior to considering any type of response. The NationalYouth Gang Center has developed an assessment protocolthat any community can use to assess its gang problem.This assessment guides the development of a comprehensive,communitywide plan of gang prevention, intervention,and suppression. 682. Community input and ownership are essential to effectiveprograms.Given that all communities are unique, each communityneeds to thoroughly assess its problems utilizing the publichealth approach to develop and implement preventionand intervention programs and services suitable to it’s spe-66 Wesley Skogan, Susan Hartnett, Natalie Bump and Jill Dubois, “Executive Summary: Evaluation of CeaseFire-Chicago”, (Chicago: Institute for Policy Research,Northwestern University, 2008).67 “Community Collaboratives Addressing Youth Gangs: Interim Findings from the Gang Reduction Program Research Report” (Washington: Urban InstituteJustice Policy Center, 2008).68 National Youth Gang Center, 2002.35


CHAPTER 5: LESSONS FROM THE FIELDcific community’s needs. Community members includingparents, teachers, policy makers, police, youth advocates,and youth, for example, need to be active in determiningthe source of violence within their area. They need to beinvolved in initiatives that strive to develop and implementpolicies and programs that positively influence the community’sdeficits by focusing on its strengths and values.3. Suppression efforts alone do not reduce youth violence.The research shows that violence-prevention efforts centeredprimarily on suppression are not successful in themid- or long-term, regardless of how much money is spenton them. In fact, some cities that have directed most oftheir resources toward suppression activities, have experiencedan increase in youth violence, as young people becomeeven more alienated and marginalized.4. Youth violence is not an isolated phenomenon, but isrooted in the social/economic conditions of a community.Research shows a correlationbetween arange of risk factorsand the levels of adolescentdelinquency,violence, substanceabuse, teen pregnancyand drop out. The socialroots of violenceare entrenched in individual,family, school,Voices from the DistrictWe need to help youth“develop a blueprint for them tobe successful; we don’t tell theyouth just change yourbehavior, we will work withthem to find successand support their familiesas well.”peer and community conditions associated with poverty,educational underachievement, lack of employability andlife skills among youth, and the cognitive and physical inhibitionscreated by exposure to violence, poor parenting,unresolved mental health problems, and more. Wherethere are large concentrations of youth with high-risk factorsthe likelihood of negative outcomes for youth increases.5. Successful violence prevention efforts focus on evidence-based,best or promising strategies to strengthenthe protective factors in the life of a youth.Protective factors are conditions that either reverse or offsetrisk factors. Many young people who grow up in lowincome households do not engage in violence, as their economicsituation is balanced by such factors as strong parenting,quality schools, positive peer relationships andpro-social programs. Cities that have invested heavily instrengthening the protective factors in the lives of youthhave experienced the greatest reduction in youth violence.6. Successful violence prevention models have strongand consistent support from both political and communityleaders.Mayors and City Council/Assembly officials across thecountry have established task forces or commissions onyouth violence and gang intervention and passed the accompanyinglegislation that mandates the creation of acitywide strategy. These bodies have provided consistencywith direction, policy, data sharing and collection, evaluation,and funding support that make possible the longterm commitment required for a systemic response to increaseresiliency in youth, reduce violence, and ensure sustainabilityof effort. These entities (taskforces/commissions) signal to the public agencies that this workis a priority in their allocation of resources and their provisionof services to the community.San Diego, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis, San José,Phoenix, and Philadelphia are among those cities in whichanti-gang and violence-prevention efforts have been madethe highest priority of government. In addition, these sitesrecognize that law enforcement and public agencies cannot achieve better outcomes for young people without astrong partnership with the community.Consistent across these models are political and communitystakeholders who:• Take shared ownership for violence reduction efforts;• Support efforts to reduce youth violence over anextended period of time;• Realign current efforts into a uniform, coherentstrategy; and• Fight for increased resources to support their efforts.7. Successful models are both community-based andcommunity-driven.Government officialsin the cities studied recognizedthat successfulsolutions must berooted in the communityand owned by residents,neighborhoodleaders, and local serviceproviders. SolutionsVoices from the DistrictSometimes there are beefs“between organizations thatneed to be putting out beefs.They fight for recognition andpublicity while forgetting aboutthe youth.”must be targeted to the strengths and needs of each neighborhood,with public agencies providing flexible supportsand services that are responsive to the unique circumstancesof the community.Community participants must be prepared to work collaborativelyon behalf of concrete and verifiable results, set36


A BLUEPRINT FOR ACTIONaside historic differences, develop new levels of respectand trust, and stay involved over the long run.8. Programs and supports are most successful whenthey are strengths-based, youth-focused and familycentered.A growing body of research affirms that programs andsupports for young people must be fundamentally differentfrom those serving adults. For much of the past fewdecades, youth programs have not been developed, structuredor staffed in ways that were significantly differentfrom adult programs. This has resulted in an inability tomotivate and engage youth. Interventions and services ina continuum of wraparound supports must reflect evidence-basedpractice and be grounded in the principles ofpositive youth development. Common goals of PYD programminginclude:• Promoting positive relationships with peers;• Emphasizing youths’ strengths• Providing opportunities to learn healthy behaviors;• Connecting youth with caring adults;• Empowering youth to assume leadership roles in programs;and• Challenging youth in ways that build their competence.Successful programs begin by engaging high-risk youthwith aggressive and targeted community outreach. Theyare staffed by individuals who truly relate to the youngpeople of focus, often these individuals themselves havepreviously been involved in the juvenile justice system.Focused attention on strengthening the capacity of familiesis a critical element of violence prevention. Young peoplecannot be expected to thrive in unstable and unsupportiveenvironments. Some of the techniques that assist in thiswork are: assessing family risk and family functioning,family group conferencing, case management and parentingeducation.9. Successful models place a heavy emphasis on partnerdevelopment, community capacity building and networkdevelopment.Model community-based, violence-prevention and interventionefforts require a long-term investment in assuringthat a common vocabulary and value set is shared amongpartner agencies, organizations and individuals. This requiredculture of collaboration demands training, coachingand partnering over time and in many differentsettings.Voices from the DistrictThere aren’t that many“organizations that can go outon the streets; engage andretain the individuals that areinvolved in the most riskybehaviors and risky activities.I think there is somedisconnect. It’s challengingwork. Even in a high-povertyarea, you can still cream, gettingthe highest-functioningyouth is pretty easy. It’s hardto get what some consider asthe worst of the worst.”10. Funding must besufficient to meet theneed, invested in aclearly defined strategy,encourage modelsof best practice and besustained over thelong run.While communitybasedorganizationsand partners can domuch to address youthviolence through collaborationand cooperation,contractrestrictions and fundinglimitations often curtail the ability of the nonprofit sectorto redirect significant resources to this work. Existingfunding should be reviewed to assure that it maximizesimpact by requiring collaboration and minimizes redundancy.Additional investments in model site should onlybe made when solid strategies, clearly defined goals andobjectives and strong programmatic oversight have beendeveloped.11. New mechanisms for managing community-basedefforts are necessary to allow for flexibility, accountabilityto partners and funders, and responsiveness to thechanging needs of the population of focus.A neutral convener or coordinating entity (communitybased,public- private, or a private vendor, for example)trusted by all partners is best positioned to successfullymanage the development, implementation and oversightof a citywide violence-prevention initiative. Responsibilitiesfor such a body usually include coordination of technicalassistance, assuring fidelity to the model, mentoringleadership, provision of training, granting funds and developingsystems of accountability among others.12. Clearly defined systems of accountability driven byan outcomes focus are essential and must be reflected incontracts, data collection and reporting.Clear but realistic expectations should be established bythe partnership regarding such outcomes as harm reduction,improved school attendance, reduction of criminalbehavior, participation in job training and employment,and more. Such outcomes should be the primary deliverablesof any contracts awarded by the initiative, technicalassistance should be provided to assure that mechanismsfor data collection are in place and all grant reports shouldreflect progress toward these outcomes.37


CHAPTER 5: LESSONS FROM THE FIELDPrevention and Intervention:Evidence-Based and Best PracticesBased upon the growing understanding of the risk factorsthat lead to violence and other negative outcomes, researchershave worked with practitioners to design targetedand timely interventions for prevention, intervention,and reversing risk processes. The programs that have beenmost carefully researched and have proven effective in increasingprotective processes and/or decreasing risk factorsfor delinquency and other adolescent behaviorproblems are re-tested at additional sites and submitted forreview by one or more nationally designated panel or ratingorganization. Once cleared by such a panel or ratingorganization, these programs become known as Evidence-Based Programs or Practices (EBPs).When the federal government approves programs, it liststhem on one or more of its Web sites and encouragesgrantees, states and communities to consider theirimplementation, often tying approval of grant applicationsto the use of EBPs. EBPs often combinea variety of approaches and activities toaddress multiple risk factors and build resiliencyincluding school-based curricula, parent and family-basedprevention and intervention programs;mental health intervention and treatment programsand youth development-based programs.Despite continuous efforts throughout the yearsto decrease the rates of youth violence, effortshave been generally reactive, meaning that theyinvolved ways of responding after crimes occurrather than approaching the issue utilizing a preventiveapproach as early as the middle schoolage years. “There is more emphasis on reactingto violent offenders after the fact and investing inprisons to remove them from our communitiesrather than on preventing our children from becomingviolent offenders in the first place and retainingthem in our communities as responsible,productive citizens.” 69 Out of home and out ofcommunity placements may be an easy methodof removing troubled youths from society to protectthe public rather than protecting the youthsthemselves. Such programs are also less effectivethan more comprehensive programs focused on ayouth’s family and community.Effective StrategiesThe following operational definitions have been provided asa reference to the reader for the purpose of this section. 70Universal (Primary) PreventionInterventions that are targeted at the general public or to awhole population group that has not been identified on thebasis of increased risk.Selective/Selected (Secondary) PreventionInterventions that target individuals or subgroups of the populationwhose risk of developing a mental disorder is significantlyhigher than average, as evidenced by biological,psychological or social risk factors.Indicated (Tertiary) PreventionInterventions that target high-risk people who are identifiedas having minimal but detectable signs/symptoms foreshadowingmental disorder or biological markers indicating predispositionsfor mental disorder but who do not presentlymeet diagnostic criteria for mental disorder.Primary Prevention: UniversalSkills trainingBehavior monitoring and reinforcementBehavior techniques for classroommanagementBuilding school capacityContinuous progress programsCooperative learningPositive youth development programsSecondary Prevention: SelectedParent TrainingHome visitationCompensatory educationMoral reasoningSocial problem solvingThinking skillsTertiary Prevention: IndicatedSocial perspective taking, role-takingMulti-modal interventionsBehavioral interventionsSkills TrainingMarital and family therapy by clinicalstaffWrap around servicesTable 6: Prevention Strategies 71Ineffective StrategiesPeer Counseling, peer mediationNon-promotion to succeeding gradesGun buyback programsFirearm trainingMandatory gun ownershipRedirecting youth behaviorShifting peer group normsBoot campsResidential programsMilieu treatmentBehavioral token programsSocial caseworkIndividual Counseling69 Mary Ann Pentz, Sharon Mihalic and Jennifer Grotpeter, Blueprints for Violence Prevention: Book One: The Midwestern Prevention Project (Boulder:Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, 1997)70 Adopted from “Prevention of Mental Health Disorders: Effective Interventions and Policy Options” (Geneva: World Health Organization, 2004)71 Adopted from the Commission on Children and Families, available www.oregon.gov/OCCF/38


A BLUEPRINT FOR ACTIONIn decreasing the rate of youth violence, it is important to assess,determine and implement evidence-based programslikely to reduce the risk of youth committing violent acts.Universal, selective and/or indicated programs can be implementedseparately or in various combinations to producedesired reductions in youth violent behavior. Table 5 illustratesexamples of effective and ineffective preventionstrategies.Examples of Successful Evidence-Based PracticesThe following section describes some of the evidencebasedpractices proven to be effective in reducing youthviolence. Given the underlying needs that drive gang/crewinvolvement, it is essential that gang/crew intervention andprevention strategies are designed to increase protectivefactors and reduce risk factors by both providing positivealternatives that meet those needs and by addressing thetrauma young people experience when they don’t feel safeor that they belong.School-Based ProgramsUniversal interventions are often conducted within schoolsettings and include childhood behavior management, enhancingsocial skills and involving parents in programs. Aclassroom behavior management program such as theGood Behavior Game uses behavioral reinforcement andcontingency strategies to encourage desirable and appropriatebehavior and discourage inappropriate behavior.Aggressive youths access the fewest alternatives for problemsolving and often use aggression as a problem solvingand self protective mechanism. Thus, including cognitivebehavioral strategies within universal, indicated and/or targetedprograms is a necessary step. In these programs,teachers address skills related to listening, empathy, interpersonalproblem solving, and conflict and anger management.Additionally, parents also participate in parentmanagement training groups; parents and children participatein skills training activities; and families receive regularhome visits and case management assistance.The evidence-based Second Step violence prevention curriculumwhich integrates academics with social and emotionallearning is now in 20 DC charter schools (PreK –8 th grade) and is being introduced in the 2008-09 schoolyear into 16 DCPS schools (PreK-8 th grade) through theOffice of the Deputy Mayor for Education. With a twiceweekly session of about 30 minutes, teachers use thescripted curriculum to help children learn and practice vitalsocial skills, such as empathy, emotion management, problemsolving, and cooperation. These essential life skillshelp students in the classroom, on the playground, and athome. The Second Step program has been shown to reducediscipline referrals, improve school climate by buildingfeelings of inclusiveness and respect, and increase thesense of confidence and responsibility in students.Botvin’s Life Skills Training is a K-12 substance abuseprevention program that develops self esteem, promoteshealthy life choices and techniques in resistingalcohol/drugs and aggressive behaviors and teaches studentto resist social pressures and cope with anxiety. Theheavily researched curriculum, generally included inhealth education is being introduced into 30 DCPS K - 12schools in the 2008-09 school year. The curriculum, startswith 15 sessions and is followed up in later years withbooster sessions.Influencing Parenting PracticesAntisocial behavior and delinquency during childhoodand adolescence often have precursors beginning in achild’s first few years of life. Harmful prenatal and postnatalpractices are among the most important risk factorsthat require intervention to prevent the possibility of associatedviolence. Risk factors associated with the earlydevelopment of antisocial behavior can be modifiedthrough home visitation programs. 72Parents Anonymous ®Parents Anonymous, a family strengthening program dedicatedto preventing child abuse and neglect, has helpedmillions of parents and their children in neighborhoods allacross America to create positive long-term changes intheir lives. Parents Anonymous Groups serve mothers, fathers,grandparents and caregivers in community centers,schools, religious institutions, and childcare centers inpartnership with public and private agencies involvingthousands of volunteers. The Office of Juvenile Justiceand Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice,conducted an independent longitudinal outcome researchstudy to assess the impact of parent mutual support-sharedleadership groups on child maltreatment prevention. Parentswho continued to attend Parents Anonymous Groupsover time showed improvement in child maltreatment out-72 United States, Department of Justice, “Prenatal and early childhood nurse home visitation” (Washington: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention,1998).39


CHAPTER 5: LESSONS FROM THE FIELDcomes, risk and protective factors compared to those whodropped out.Strong evidence suggests that parents benefit andstrengthen their families through Parents Anonymous regardlessof the participant’s race, gender, education or income.73Multisystemic Therapy & MultidimensionalTreatment Foster Care ProgramsMultisystemic Therapy (MST) is one of only three practicesapproved as an evidence-based program for seriousand chronic juvenile offenders. Its use can create majorcost savings by reducing long term arrest rates and out ofhome placement. MST views individuals as part of a complexweb of interconnected systems that encompass individual,family, and extra familial factors. Since behaviorproblems can be developed and strengthened by conflictwithin or between any one or many of these systems, MSTtargets the specific risk factors within each youth’s andhis/her family’s ecology. MST has been successful becauseit focuses on addressing the known causes of delinquency;it builds on the strengths of the youth and those inhis/her social setting. 74 MST also delivers services in theyouth’s natural environment rather than in an institutionalor out-of-home placement, and it ensures that therapistswho provide services strictly adhere to the MST programMultidimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC) is thesecond EBP approved for delinquent and/or violent youth.MTFC places youth in the care of trained and supportedfoster parents who use behavioral parent training techniques.A therapist works with the youth on individual issuesand a different therapist works with the naturalparents on family issues and teaches behavioral parenttraining skills. A case manager is also available 24hours/day, 7 days/week and coordinates service access.Participants assigned to MTFC were less likely to reportserious violent behavior in the year after baseline thanwere participants assigned to services such as generalhome care. 75 The impact of MTFC on violent outcomesover a longer follow up period of 2 years showed that participantswere significantly less likely to commit violentoffenses than youth in care. 768% Early Intervention ProgramThe 8 % Early Intervention Program is a California projectthat serves the demographic of youth ages (12-17) withan emphasis on young offenders under age (15) who aredeemed at risk of becoming chronic, serious, and violentjuvenile offenders. Risk Factors targeted in the programcover substance use, poor parental supervision in families,truancy in schools and association with delinquent peers.This interdisciplinary, graduated sanctions, court monitoredsystem utilizes immediate and intermediate sanctionswith a continuum of treatment programs for those youthconsidered high-risk offenders.Alliance of Concerned Men (ACM)The Alliance of Concerned Men (ACM) is a communitybasedorganization in the District of Columbia that servesmales ages 10-24. The objectives of the program are toaddress risk factors and provide supports to individualswith general delinquency involvement/residence in communitiesclassified as high-crime neighborhoods, peersconsidered to be gang-involved, families with low socioeconomicstatus and schools with continued high academicfailure rates. Services such as outreach, prevention, intervention,social services, cultural enrichment and recreationalactivities help youth circumvent the dangers ofcrime and violence. The Alliance uses a systemic processthat heightens community ownership, partners with privateorganizations and uses of formal authority in supportingtheir agenda.Family Advocacy Network (FAN)The Family AdvocacyNetwork (FAN) is a Voices from the Districtparent involvementprogram designed toserve youth ages 10-17.Two risk factors;(youth with substanceabuse problems andfamilies with poor parent-childrelations)frame the interventionobjectives. The goal ofthe organization is toprovide support to parentsof participants ofBoys and Girls clubs ofIf you look at what’s“identified as evidence-basedpractices, it never says thatone organization is going tobe effective. Like the Bostonmodel, it’s not about theorganizations; it’s about anapproach by a group of peoplewhether they’re in lawenforcement, communitynonprofit, faith-based.All these people break breadtogether. No one toleratesanyone bad-mouthing oneanother; they’re not beingcritical of others.”America’s SMARTMoves Program, whichworks with youth inneed of a drug-prevention program. This interactivemodel strives to strengthen parental-child communication73 Parents Anonymous® Inc.74 Pentz, Mihalic and Grotpeter, 1997.75 Ibid.76 Ibid.40


A BLUEPRINT FOR ACTIONthrough the use of basic support to families, parental support,educational programming and leadership activities inhopes of leading drug free lives.Gang Intervention Through Targeted Outreach(GITTO)The Gang Intervention Through Targeted Outreach(GITTO), established by the Boys and Girls Club ofAmerica (BGCA), is designed to serve youth ages 10-17.This initiative targets risk factors such as persistent lyingby a youth, poor parent-child communication, poor performanceand attitude towards school, community disturbanceand the association with delinquent peers, and led toa community-wide gang-prevention program that attemptsto intervene with youths in the “wannabe” stages and thosealready gang involved. Four core principles make up theobjectives of the program: community mobilization, recruitment,mainstreaming/programming and case management.The services provided by BGCA to support theintervention model include; character and leadership development,education and career development, health andlife skills, the arts, sports, fitness and recreation.Juvenile Drug CourtsThe Juvenile Drug Courts (Family Drug Courts) wereformed to provide intensive judicial intervention and supervisionfor youth ages 10-17. Risk factors targeted inthe program were physical violence by adolescents, historyof criminal behavior in families, suspension historyin schools and association with delinquent peers. The programmodel brings families and youth who struggle withsubstance abuse into immediate and continuous court interventionthat includes participation in treatment, submissionof frequent drug tests, attendance at court statushearings and compliance with overall court conditions.The outcome of such programs despite limited evaluationindicates that drug court models that integrate rehabilitationwith nonresidential drug abuse treatment and controllook promising.Job CorpsThe Job Corps is highly regarded as the nation’s largestand most comprehensive residential, education and jobtraining program for youth ages 16-24. Risk factors consideredfor such an intervention are youth who reside indisadvantaged communities, families with low socioeconomicbackgrounds, academic failure in school and peerswith gang involvement. Job Corps supports disadvantagedadolescents with the integration of academic, vocationaland social skills training. Research has proven that theprogram helps reduce crime rates among youth and increasestheir functional capacity through education andtraining. 77Strengthening Families Program I (SFP-I)The StrengtheningFamilies Program I is Voices from the Districtcentered on familyskills training sessionsfor families and childrenages (6-12). Riskfactors covered in theprevention program areconduct disorders in individuals,antisocialparents, and lowachievement in elementaryschool. Theprogram was originallytested in 1983 withchildren of parents insubstance abuse treatment.After a series ofmodifications, the programis now widelyused with non-substanceabusing parents,faith-based communities,housing communities,mental healthcenters, homeless shelters,protective servicesagencies and social andfamily services agen-The larger organizations“have the capacity to tryevidence-based practice; theyknow how to write proposals,hire consultants and sendtheir people to trainings. Butthey are also at risk of becomingtoo formal; three stepsremoved from the kid on thestreet. It’s those smallerorganizations, with two orthree staff on the streets allthe time, that have no ideawhat results-basedaccountability or evidencebasedpractices are, but arewilling to learn. Most importantthey know the kids that are introuble and need the help.How do we provide themtechnical assistance so theyget the respect of the bigorganizations; provide themcover and allow them to dothat work that only they cando? These organizationsneed help establishingoutcomes, collecting data,and reporting.”cies. This methodologyuses family systems and cognitive-behavioralapproaches to increase resilience and reduce risk factorsfor behavioral, emotional, academic and social problems.Violence Free ZonesThe Violence Free Zones (VFZ) initiative, a grassrootsschool-based intervention for youth and gang related violence,was developed by the National Center for NeighborhoodEnterprise (now known as Center forNeighborhood Enterprise) in Washington, DC. VFZ isunique in that it employs young people from the sameneighborhoods as the high school students needing intervention.These older youth have faced and overcome the77 Institute for Governmental Research: Law Enforcement Training and Research41


CHAPTER 5: LESSONS FROM THE FIELDsame kinds of challenges the teens face and thus havecredibility and rapport with the students that often exceedsthat of teachers, school staff or police. They assist studentsand teachers in the classroom, hallways, at school events,though afterschool and weekend programs and serve aspositive role models. This program targets high risk childrenand youth, particularly those who are struggling withbehavior and academic issues, providing counseling andcharacter building activities. The VFZ approach has beensuccessfully implemented in more than 30 public middleand high schools in six demonstration cities throughoutthe country. 78Local Program Survey of Youth ServingOrganizationsIn an effort to learn more about youth gang/crew violenceprevention and intervention programs in the District, theCollaborative Council asked a wide variety of providersto complete an online questionnaire. Of the 270 respondents,66 answered the question regarding the provisionof “best practices” or “evidence-based practices.” Figure9 shows the majority of these respondents work in youthviolence prevention (26) and intervention (27).Respondents were requested to identify the model used ifimplementing best practices and evidence-based practices.Figure 9. Best Practices or Use ofEvidence-Based ModelFigure 10. Best Practices/Evidence-Based Practices Used by Respondents78 Press release from NCNE dated 6/1/06 titled “Maryland Gang Summit to Hear Report on Unique Approach to Curbing Youth Gang Violence42


A BLUEPRINT FOR ACTIONFigure 10 reveals the results. From the surveys, it is apparentthat programs targeting youth violence are moreaware of the types of practice models used (whether bestpractices or evidence based) than those providinggang/crew related services. What is revealing is that programsproviding services to gang/crews did not use bestpractice- models and/or evidence-based practices.Challenges of Choosing and ImplementingEvidenced-Based Programs at theLocal LevelEvidence-based program implementation is not easy to administer.In general:• Program developers provide the replicating site withtraining and materials;• Developers and sites develop careful monitoring to assurefidelity to the model;• Training is repeated and supported through supervision;• The process of EBP therapeutic training generally takesmore than one year to perfect the high level of skill;• Long term leadership and community funding commitmentis needed to see significant change; and• No one program can, in a vacuum, succeed to cut communityviolence.Developing a Continuum of Evidence-Basedand Promising PracticesEach EBP is targeted to developing and improving skillsand resilience among a targeted population. For example,programs that address gang violence will not be effectiveto reform behaviors of those with pathological violence.Nor can a therapeutic program reputed to be effective withdelinquents be a silver bullet for all delinquent acts such asthose generated by gangs. Intervention focus, intensity andlength of intervention vary with severity. Cost effectivenessof intervention too, should be part of decision making.79Rather than focus on a few EBPs, communities are learningto use research-based approaches to address the complexconstellation of risk factors associated with the youthviolence. Increasingly they are working to develop comprehensive,integrated communitywide approaches to promotehealthy child development and address the pro-blems of community and school violence by engaging mutiplegovernmental and community organizations in carefulplanning across agencies and funding streams.The Challenges of ProgramReplicationThere are many challenges when attempting to replicatesuccessful programs or evidence-based practices. This is,according to Lesbith Schoor, especially true when innovationsbegin to threaten the status quo, long-standing relationshipsor established ways of funding programs.Those programs that are easiest to replicate and scale upoften operate at the margin because they don’t requirechanges in beliefs or values. 79 Even the best models requireadaptation of many components to a new setting orpopulation. However, efforts to replicate programs requirefidelity to key aspects recognized as “core components.” 80There are two types of core components:1. Core intervention components, which are essential tothe success of program, including program philosophy andvalues, structure, duration of service, and protocols; and2. Core implementation components, such as staff selection,supervision, funding and administrative supports.In addition, program replication requires technical assistanceto management and staff, shared ownership for thegoals of the program, an understanding of the discretionaryand adaptable program components which may be customizedto meet the unique needs of their target populationor community and an ongoing evaluation capacity. 81The Partnership for Results identified five obstacles to successfullyimplementing cross-agency reforms and evidence-basedpractice programming:• Agency territoriality reinforced by categorical fundingsteams linked to discrete service modalities;• Disinclination by public authorities to invest inprevention during times of economic retrenchment;• Implementer resistance to change;• The inability of service providers to access critical dataacross agency lines for assessment and treatment; and• Tendency of evidence-based programs to regress to apredictable mean once they have been introduced intothe community.79 Common Purpose: Strengthening Families and Neighborhoods to Build America, Doubleday, September 199780 Child Trends; Research to Results Brief Publication No. 2007-301, October 200781 ibid43


CHAPTER 6: RECOMMENDATIONSOverviewIn the absence of dramatic, citywide action, the District’ssmall-scale, isolated youth violence programs cannot abatethe escalating trend of gang and crew activity. This studyfinds that much of the city’s current youth “violence prevention”and “violence intervention” work is in factgeneric programming for at-risk youth. These programsare not grounded in the best-practice principles of youthdevelopment generally, nor are they reflective of effectiveyouth violence-prevention work. The comprehensivestrategy outlined in this report presents a coherent agendafor moving forward by designing the necessary prevention,intervention, and suppression work needed to meaningfullyreduce youth violence and gang involvement.It is recommended that the vision for the District’s youthviolence prevention, intervention, and suppression strategybe to create a city in which youth violence is a rareanomaly. This absence of violence would be accompaniedby high levels of educational attainment among youthand the accessibility of effective supports, services, andopportunities young people need to make a successfultransition to adulthood. Achieving this vision is within ourcity’s reach. The District has a vibrant nonprofit and philanthropiccommunity dedicated to young people, strongchampions in the mayor and City Council members, effectivepublic agency administrators committed to reform,and a complex and comprehensive educational reformstrategy already in motion. What is missing:• The recognition that youth violence prevention and interventionare part and parcel of all the other investmentswe make in young people;• The capacity to connect all the dots between systemsand programs on behalf of individual young people;• The mandate and the resources to rewire our publicand community support systems around the principles ofcomprehensive violence prevention; and• The discipline, and perhaps the patience, to stay ontask to implement this complex strategy over the longhaul.Even in the midst of the great success of the Gang InterventionPartnership (GIP) and other home-grown youthviolence-prevention programs, such initiatives still need ahigher level of local government and community coordinationacross the city in order to eradicate gang and crewviolence. Looking at successful models across the country,we see that the District would be best served by buildingupon the successful strategies of its own experience. Thisreport recommendsthat any effort initiatedbuild upon thestrengths and lessonslearned by the implementationof the GangIntervention Partnership,the Violence InterventionPartnership(VIP), the CitywideCoordinating Councilfor Youth ViolenceVoices from the DistrictBuilding critical response“capabilities requires analignment of the work; andthat’s really where lawenforcement, social serviceproviders and outreachworkers come together at thesame time, analyzing thesituation and developing ajoint response to it.”Prevention (CCCYVP), the Focus Improvement Areas(FIA), and the Metropolitan Police Department’s FusionUnit.The recommendations in this section were developed aftera careful review of national and local programming. Theseare informed particularly by – and in some cases, followdirectly from – the results of interviews with over 40 citystakeholders from government, the funding communityand program providers. The sooner the District acts, themore young people can be redirected from violence to positivepursuits and communities will be safer for all residents.Overarching GoalsThe following recommendations are centered on two essentialgoals that must receive the highest commitment ofpolitical support, appropriate levels of funding, and focusedattention over a sustained period of time to achievethe desired vision of creating a city whose youth are resilientand reach adulthood free of involvement in violence:Goal 1: Create safety in the District by concentrating effortson dramatically reducing violent incidents involvinggangs and crews.Goal 2: Build community by addressing the structural andenvironmental, individual and community factors that giverise to violence.A philosophy that includes a public health approach integratedwith positive youth development, workforce development,law enforcement, and communitydevelopment should be the underpinning of the strategyutilized by the District for the prevention of violence.44


A BLUEPRINT FOR ACTIONVoices from the DistrictUnfortunately government“agencies are very gang-like,tribalistic and territorial, andpower and territory is thename of the game. I find thatthere is no soul in government.People may put up valuesbut I don’t see them livingthe values they put up. Governmenttends to be a veryplastic kind of environment towork in; it lacks flexibility andtends to be impersonal. Walkinto a government buildingand you see the problems withgovernment. The colors don’tsay anything to you … unlessyou walk into somebody’s office… and that culture isn’tshared. Government has developedsomewhat a robotic,metallic personality; and itmay be good at plantingseeds, but it is not fertileground for seeds to grow.”Operating PrinciplesThere are a number ofprinciples that shouldguide the developmentand implementation ofthis work:• Those most directlyaffected by violence(victims, perpetratorsand witnesses) shouldbe in the forefront ofcity and communitybasedwork to addressgang and crew problemsand to buildhealthy community.• Broad-based collaborationshould be employedas themechanism for developingand implementingstrategies.• Focus on the rootcauses of violence.• Focus on youth developmentas primaryprevention of youth involvementin gangs and crews.• Ensure that efforts are comprehensive in scope and sustainedover the long term.TimeframeRecommendations 1 through 4 are focused on short-termactions to be implemented concurrently as the comprehensivecitywide violence-prevention plan is being developedin response to this Blueprint for Action. Successfulresponses to all recommendations require the cooperationof both public and private agencies and stakeholders.RecommendationsThe review of District programs and interviews with stakeholdersreveal that although the District has experiencedsome success with violence intervention programs, there isa lack of concerted purpose, coordination, collaboration,data collection, and sustained funding to move the Districttoward a seamless response to preventing violence amongthe District’s youth. This effort requires trusted and focusedleadership, clear direction and oversight, and sustainedfunding to increase the District’s capacity to preventgang/crew violence. The District must put forth every effortto create a well integrated response that ensures stronglinks among the elected officials, public agencies, theschool systems (public and charter), MPD, the community,and faith-based and community-based organizations.Phase One RecommendationsRecommendation 1: Create a joint working group ofthe CCCYVP and the core Focused Improvement Area(FIA) team (including MPD, the City Administrator’sOffice, and other agencies as identified by the Mayor’sOffice) to develop a coordinated response to high profileyouth violence:Action Items: Assess Critical Incident (CI) need andcapacity1.1 Identify and map all critical incidents (CI) involvingyouth over the past six months.1.2 Determine what portion of these incidents generateda CI response from CCCYVP partners.1.3 Evaluate the current capacity of community-basedorganizations funded by the District (through both the CC-CYVP and CYIT) for violence intervention to respond toCI.Action Items: Align Existing Resources to Respond toCritical Incidents1.4 Align all currently funded violence interventioninitiatives, regardless of funding source, into a coordinatedCI strategy; modifying contracts as necessary.1.5 Assure that CI resources are targeted to gang andcrew “hot spots” and those neighborhoods experiencingthe highest rates of youth violence.1.6 Clarify the geographic areas that each interventionservice partner is or will be covering.Action Items: Coordinate Existing Resources to Respondto Critical Incidents1.7 Develop protocols for the immediate engagementof intervention partners by MPD when critical incidentsoccur.1.8 Assure that Department of Parks and RecreationRoving Leaders in targeted neighborhoods are a part ofthe CI teams.1.9 Engage staff and School Resource Officers of45


A BLUEPRINT FOR ACTIONimplementation of theagreed to programs andactivities.3.2 Expand thesize of its ExecutiveCommittee to empowermore partners to becomedecision-makers.3.3 Expand its coordinationof neighborhoodbased criticalresponse teams to includethose funded byall District sources.Voices from the DistrictThere are too many kids“who are in that place wherethey’re starting to act out andthere’s no place for them togo; and in DC you have to actout a lot, have to be truant along time. We had a girl that abunch of us were looking at –and she wasn’t crazy enoughto be crazy; DMH sent a teamto her house. She wasn’t neglectedenough to be placed;she wasn’t delinquent. Hermom was working two shifts;dad wasn’t home; nobodycould serve her. This girl endsup getting arrested. Amazing,four departments knew abouther. Her grandmother, shewas furious; she said ‘we weresending up flares.”3.4 Develop bothparticipant and communityoutcomesmeasures for use by allgrantees as appropriateto their work. Suchoutcomes should go beyond process outcomes and include,for example, measureable improvements in youthfunctioning, decreased involvement with the justice system,family relations, and educational achievement.3.5 Establish a web-based data collection system forthe reporting and analysis of program activities.3.6 Formalize a financial management system to coordinategrant and contractual funds.3.7 Develop and implement a comprehensive trainingplan for front line staff and supervisors that addresses suchissues as youth and family engagement, identification ofgang and crew involved youth, assessing the needs andsand strengths of youth, and other modules that will improvethe efficacy of youth violence prevention and interventionwork.3.8 Develop practice protocols that address youth andfamily engagement, use of family team meetings, communicationsagreements, confidentiality, and outreach.3.9 Develop and encourage the use of model positiondescriptions and minimal qualifications for outreach andyouth workers employed by partners and grantees.3.10 Continue its efforts to provide capacity buildingand leadership development to its grantees.3.11 Develop a Web site that brings transparency to thework of the CCCCYVP and provides resources to parents,teachers, residents and community based organizationsaround issues of gangs, crews and youth violence prevention.3.12 Establish a speaker’s bureau with an emphasis onpresentations to schools and community organizations.Recruit and develop the skills of those previously engagedin gangs or crews to be a part of the effort.3.13 Convene a citywide conference on youth violence,gangs and crews.3.14 Develop materials for parents, teachers and otherprofessionals on how to recognize signs of gang and crewinvolvement.Recommendation 4: Resource and implement placebasedstrategies for safety and de-escalation, particularlyin schools and public housing sites.Action Items:4.1 The joint FIA/CCCYVP work group should workwith DCPS and charter schools in the target neighborhoodsto develop school specific safety and de-escalationplans. These plans should identify gang and crew affiliationsand conflicts on campus, address safe passages toand from school, including monitoring of bus routes andMetro stops.4.2 The joint FIA/CCCYVP work group should developand implement safety and de-escalation plans foruse in targeted public housing sites in partnership with thePublic Housing Authority, community partners, and HousingAuthority Police. These plans should include identificationof gang and crew presence on the property, asurvey of taggings, as well as an understanding of the rivalriesand threats to young people living on the propertyfrom outside groups of young people.Phase Two RecommendationsRecommendation 5: Establish a citywide, multidisciplinary,multi-agency commission tasked with advisingthe city regarding coordinating and streamliningresources dedicated to gang, crew and other youth violenceintervention and prevention efforts.47


CHAPTER 6: RECOMMENDATIONSAction Items:5.1 Within 90 days of acceptance of the Blueprint forAction by the City Council, it is recommended that theCity Council pass enabling legislation creating a high-levelGang and Crew Prevention Commission (the Commission)to design the development of a community-based responseto preventing gang and crew violence based onrecommendations from the Blueprint. Members should beselected by the Mayor, Chair of the Council, and leadershipof the CCCYVP. Full-time staff should be detailed tosupport the work of the Commission.5.2 The Mayor should name a citywide Gang andCrew Prevention Coordinator at the level of an agency administrator.This position should:• Act as a government liaison working to ensure publicsectorsupport for all strategies and facilitate the deliveryof government agency services for identified youth;• Manage and monitor the implementation of all youth violence-preventionstrategies and facilitate the coordinationof community-based programs receiving funding for gangandcrew-related work;• Promote and facilitate cross-agency learning;• Convene regular meetings of the Commission; and• Ensure that every public agency builds capacity to supportpositive youth development strategies over the longterm.Recommendation 6: Within 120 days of establishingthe Commission, develop a comprehensive citywide violenceprevention plan in response to the Blueprint forAction. This plan should focus on a community-basedand community-driven strategy to increase the resiliencyof youth and prevent gang and crew violencewith a balance of prevention, intervention, and suppressionactivities. Strategies should include neighborhood-specifictimelines and expected outcomes.Efforts should be made to integrate the work of otherrelevant citywide efforts including the Focused ImprovementArea initiative, the ICSIC, the ReconnectingDisconnected Youth Committee, the HomicideElimination Task Force, the Truancy Committee, theChild Abuse and Neglect Prevention Plan currentlyunder development and the DYRS Service Coalitions.An expert advisory group should be created to assistthe Commission in the development of the plan.The plan should include:• A framework steeped in the principles of positive youthdevelopment and family centered practice;• Interventions that are community based, communitydriven and responsiveto the unique needs ofeach neighborhood;• Recommendationsfor programs and servicesthat are based onbest, promising and evidenced-basedstrategiesthat work toincrease protective factorsand address the fulldevelopmental continuumof youth;• Services that are culturallycompetent andrelevant to the needs ofyouth;• Proposals for longtermfunding that alignpublic and philanthropic funding streams;• Mechanisms for data collection and evaluation;• Identification of gang and crew related training;• Full involvement of youth, especially those who havebeen affected by or involved in gangs or crews; and.• A public education campaign to inform the general publicabout the culture of violence, violence prevention andthe roles residents can play in making their neighborhoodssafe.Action Items: PreventionVoices from the DistrictWe need an Office of Youth“Development; we need tohave somebody whose job itis to deal with kids who arenot caught up in any system;because right now we’ve gotCFSA, DYRS; there are10,000 young people in theDistrict who are neither inschool nor working betweenages 16 and 24. Those yearsweren’t easy to go througheven with two parents, a joband school. I don’t know howyou get through that withoutgetting into trouble. Thesekids need our help.”6.1 Engage community providers and residents in designingthe components of a seamless prevention network.Using this Blueprint, assess what existing programs andservices are working well in the area of violence prevention,document gaps in service delivery and funding, andbuild a system that expands the range and availability ofpositive opportunities for youth.6.2 Provide funding to support the development ofcommunity coalitions as defined by the RFP issued by theJustice Grants Administration last year but not funded.6.3 Establish services based on promising, best, andevidence-based strategies to address gang and crew membershipand violence prevention with a focus on positiveyouth development.6.4 Make decisions that are data-driven.6.5 Set measurable outcomes for all programs, sharedpractice standards and data collection procedures.48


A BLUEPRINT FOR ACTION6.6 Develop atraining curriculum forall providers that participatein the continuumof services ongang and crew violenceprevention.6.7 Design and implementan ongoingpublic education planto build the capacity ofresidents to understand the nature, and dynamics of violenceand what theyyouth development and violence prevention intheir neighborhoods.can do to participate in positive6.8 Maximize neighborhood recreation/communitycenter’s capacity to develop and implement more positiveyouth development activities and to more aggressively engagehigh risk youth.6.9 Support programs that serve girls involved in orat risk of joining gangs and crews.Action Items: InterventionVoices from the DistrictWe need more“accountability from providers.They’re supposed to go outand get new recruits, and thenit’s found that a lot of kids thatthey had “recruited” for specialprograms were individuals thathad been with them formonths.”6.10 Engage organizations that self-identify as gang interventionservices to participate in the development of thecontinuum of services for gang-involved and at-risk youth.6.11 Align youth outreach, community engagement,mediation, and critical incident response efforts aroundcommon protocols grounded in best practice.6.12 Target capacity building for community-basedstaff and Roving Leaders in the areas of critical incidentresponse, anger management and trauma work, crisis intervention,and partnership development.6.13 Develop a Uniform Mediation Protocol that is recognizedby the court system injuvenile justice cases.6.14 Seek the support of the DC Superior Court tobring more transparency to the operation of Court SocialServices, and to integrate the community based programsthat they fund into a comprehensive city-wide continuum.6.15 Modify the Crime Victims Assistance eligibilitycriteria to include families of allvictims.6.16 Develop supports that provide effective and safeexist strategies for gang and crew members, including tattooremoval and relocation assistance.Action Items: Suppression6.17 MPD to expand its efforts in working with communitiesto build their capacity to implement neighborhoodsafety activities.6.18 Train all officers in gang and crew awareness andidentification.6.19 Standardize coding and reporting standards relatingto identification of gang and crew members.6.20 Establish an inventory of all PSA level youth violence-preventionefforts, document their successes andchallenges, and make the information available on theMPD Web site.6.21 Expand the use of community policing with strategicsuppression strategies such as diversion programs.Recommendation 7: Program interventions shouldbe outcomes driven, have clearly defined goals andmeasurements of success and reflect best and evidencebased programs and proven strategies.Action Item: Effective Programming7.1 Adopt citywide goals for violence reduction.7.2 Identify the outcomes all programs should bestriving to achieve, and assure that these expectations,along with the measurements that will be used to determineprogram success, be written into all contracts.7.3 Develop a common vocabulary with clear definitionsof the key terminology used in violence interventionand prevention work.7.4 Expand the use of evidenced-based, promisingand best practices by providing technical assistance, trainingand support to organizations desiring to implementsuch models.Recommendation 8: The District should develop adata-tracking system to ensure that the disparate datacollectionsystems of public and private agencies arealigned and document progress. This action supportdata-driven decisions and facilitate services to youth.49


CHAPTER 6: RECOMMENDATIONSAction Items: Data Collection and Sharing8.1 Obtain and analyze data (demographic, environmentaland other conditions) fromother public agencies in conjunction with violent crimedata that might be helpful in informing the communityabout patterns of violence in their neighborhoods to assistwith strategy formation.8.2 Enhance cooperation and data-sharing amongpublic and private agencies throughthe establishment of data-sharing agreements.8.3 Use and refine the www.cccyvp.org Web site sothat all entities and residents of the District can supportpublic awareness and civic engagement and share informationregarding trends in juvenile crime, levels of gangand crew involvement, and the District’s progress inmeeting defined goals and objectives.Recommendation 9: Build the capacity for programevaluation.Action Items:9.1 Provide technical assistance and training to communitybased organizations on models of self assessment.9.2 Provide a consistent funding source for ongoingindependent program evaluation.9.3 Make results of all program evaluations availableto decision makers and the public. Assure that evaluationsare used to drive future funding decisions,modifications in program design, trainings and technicalassistance.Recommendation 10: Develop a funding mechanismfor sustainability that maximizes current expendituresand includes new funding streams to supportthe comprehensive plan.Action Items: The Commission should:10.1 Review current local and federal dollars in theDistrict that address youth development and youth violenceissues and make substantive recommendations relatedto the refinement and coordination of theseinvestments.10.2 Streamline all public funding through one community-based entity. A single appropriation line shouldbe established for all funding of youth violence and gangprevention activities and the evaluations.10.3 Align funding of public and philanthropic investmentsin youth violence prevention and comprehensiveyouth development with an emphasis onsupporting proven practices.10.4 Channel existing funding to programs that work.10.5 Increase investment in prevention services.10.6 Engage the philanthropic community to fundstrategic initiatives and generate national interest in thiseffort.10.7 Maximize federal grant opportunities, and assurethat all applications from the District government areconsistent with the city’s master plan.Recommendation 11: Assure that the client-servingcomponents of the District’s Criminal and JuvenileJustice System are aligned with the violence-preventionplan.Action Items: Department of Youth RehabilitativeServices11.1 Assure that the Lead Entities to be selected tooperate Service Coalitions for DYRS youth are participantsthe development of the long term plan by the Commission.11.2 Engage in a planning process with CSS to reviewthe operations of the Youth Services Center andclarify the role of both agencies in serving confinedyouth and their families.11.3 Work with the Department of Mental Health toassure that the youth referred to the Service Coalitionshave access to appropriate community based mentalhealth services.Action Items: Court Social Services (CSS)11.4 Encourage the DC Superior Court to provide moretransparency to the operation of CSS through reports onnumber of youth served, length of time under supervision,services contracted for, outcomes for youth, etc.50


A BLUEPRINT FOR ACTION11.5 Encourage the DC Superior Court to share informationabout the performance of CCS contract agencieswith District government.11.5 Provide opportunities for CSS staff to gainknowledge about services, supports, programs and activitiesavailable in the community.11.6 Request the participation of CCS in the Commission.11.7 Request CSS to join DYRS in reviewing and clarifyingtheir respective roles and responsibilities in the operationof the Youth Service Center and developinformation sharing agreements that assures detainedyouth receive timely and appropriate services.Action Items: Court Services and Offender SupervisionAgency11.8 Provide information to MPD on all clients returningor under supervision who have been or are gang involved.11.9 Establish relationships with community based organizationsproviding gang and crew intervention servicesto engage those clients involved with or at risk of beinggang involved.Recommendation 12: Bolster public supports in keyareas (education, workforce development and health)to create a basic safety net for families affected by violenceand reduce the underlying conditions that inculcateviolent behaviors. Couple these efforts withawareness-raising activities to make such supports accessible.Action Items: Education12.1 Establish an alternative suspension program targetedto young people involved in violent or threateningincidents that includes intensive, family-focused interventionand wrap-around educational, psychological and socialsupports.12.2 Ensure that the necessary resources are in place tosupport comprehensive family-focused truancy interventionprogram in all DCPS and charter schools.12.3 Launch an aggressive drop-out recovery programtargeted to youth under the age of 18, integrating outreach,case-management and educational and employment supports.Include ABE/GED completion classes for youngadults up to age 24.12.4 Bring to scale a violence-prevention curriculumwithin DCPS and charter schools.12.5 Make accessible parenting education, parent supportand early childhood programs in neighborhoods withhigh incidence of violence to create a pipeline for healthydevelopment from birth to school.Action Items: Workforce Development12.6 Assure that summer programming, including youthemployment and summer school, provide meaningfullearning experiences for all participants.12.7 Expand the capacity for a full continuum of youthemployment services and supports for out of school youth,including subsidized employment.12.8 Engage the private sector to create entry-level andliving-wage jobs for youth and caregivers.12.9 Remove unnecessary barriers to employment andeducational opportunities for juvenile justice system, gang,and crew involved youth.Action Items: Health12.10 Reactivate Addictions Prevention and RehabilitationAdministration’s Project Threshold with deploymentstrategies that place staff in the community to assurerapid access to substance abuse assessment and treatment.12.11 Ensure all high-incident schools have access to socialworkers or other mental health providers trained incrisis intervention and grief and loss.12.12 Fund Crisis Response Teams through the Departmentof Mental Health to address the needs of victims ofviolence, their families, as well as perpetuators and theirfamilies.12.13 Expand comprehensivementalhealth and substanceabuse services that addressthe needs of thoseyoung people at highestrisk of involvementin violence.Voices from the DistrictChairman Gray’s youth“hearings have provided anoutstanding opportunity foryouth to have a voice.They’re treated with respect,and leave with a sense ofaccomplishment.”51


CHAPTER 6: RECOMMENDATIONS12.14 Expand the capacity to provide specialized mentalhealth services to youth affected by violence includingtreatment for post traumatic stress, loss, and grief.12.15 Expand the wrap-around model to serve additionalmulti-system involved youth.12.16 Implement the recommendations of the BehaviorHealth Association’s recently released report Towards aTrue System of Care, including: (1) pay for quality servicesshown to be effective; (2) strengthen case managementand care coordination; (3) provide a unitarygovernance structure for mental health, by exploring anEPSDT mental health carve-out from the MCOs; and (4)provide a unitary governance structure for prevention.Action Steps: Department of Parks and Recreation12.17 Assure that the agency includes violence preventionin its core mission.12.18 Define the role of Roving Leaders to have a focuson youth violence prevention.12.19 Assign Roving Leaders to targeted neighborhoodsand align their work with local youth violence-preventionpartners.12.20 Assure that Roving Leaders work flexible hoursso that they are in the community during times of high risk.12.21 Provide training to Recreation Center staff on positiveyouth development, crisis response, and how to identifythe signs of gang and crew involvement.52


A BLUEPRINT FOR ACTIONWORKS CITED AND CONSULTED“A Guide to Assessing Your Community’s Youth Gang Problem.”Tallahassee: National Youth Gang Center, 2002.Balfanz, Robert, Liza Herzog and Douglas MacIver. “PreventingStudent Disengagement and Keeping Students on theGraduation Path in Urban Middle-Grades Schools: Early Identificationand Effective Interventions.” Educational Psychologist.42. (2007).Benard, Bonnie. “Fostering Resiliency in Kids: ProtectiveFactors in the Family, School and Community.” Helena: MontanaOffice of Public Instruction, 1991.Borduin, C. M., Mann, B. J., Cone, L. T., Henggeler,S. W.,Fucci, B. R., Blaske, D. M., & Williams, R. A. “Multisystemictreatment of serious juvenile offenders: Long-term preventionof criminality and violence.” Journal of Consulting and ClinicalPsychology. 63. (1995): 569-578.Bronfenbrenner, U. “Ecological Systems Theory.” Annals ofChild Development. (1989).Bronfenbrenner, U. The ecology of human development: experimentsby nature and design. Cambridge: Harvard UniversityPress, 1979.Bureau of Justice Statistics. Department of Justice. 1995.Butts, Jeffrey. Making Communities Safer: Youth Violenceand Gang Interventions that Work. Testimony before HouseSubcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.110th Cong., 1st Sess. 15 February 2007.California. Los Angeles City Council. The Community EngagementAdvisory Committee’s “Community-Based GangIntervention Model: Definition and Structure”. Los Angeles:Los Angeles City Council ad hoc Committee on Gang Violenceand Youth Development, 2008.California. San Diego City Council. The San Diego Gang Preventionand Intervention Strategic Action Plan: The San DiegoInitiative. San Diego: Commission on Gang Prevention andIntervention, 2007.Cohen, Mark and Alex Piquero. “New Evidence on the MonetaryValue of Saving a High Risk Youth.” Working paper.Nashville: Vanderbilt University, 2007.“Community Collaboratives Addressing Youth Gangs: InterimFindings from the Gang Reduction Program Research Report.”Washington: Urban Institute Justice Policy Center,2008.“Creating Safe Environments: Violence Prevention Strategiesand Programs.” Oakland: Prevention Institute, 2006.“Daring to Care: Community-Based Responses to Youth Gangviolence in Central America and Central American ImmigrantCommunities in the United States.” Washington: WashingtonOffice on Latin America, 2008.District of Columbia. Council of the District of Columbia.“Repairing the Safety Net for At-Risk Children and FamiliesReform Plan.” Washington: Committee on Human Services,2008.District of Columbia. Department of Health. Youth ViolencePrevention Resource Directory. Washington: Department ofHealth, 2007.District of Columbia. Metropolitan Police Department. A Reporton Juvenile and Adult Homicide in the District of Columbia.Washington: Metropolitan Police Department, 2006.Eddy, JM, RB Whaley and P Chamberlain. “The prevention ofviolent behavior by chronic and serious male juvenile offenders:a 2 year follow up of a randomized clinical trial.” Journalof Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. 12.1 (2004): 2-8.“Exposure to Violence Among African American Youths inWashington, DC.” Washington: ROOTS and Howard University,2008.Farrington, DP and R Loeber. “Epidemiology of Juvenile Violence.”Child Adolescent Psychiatric Clinical N. AmericanJournal. 9.4 (2000): 733-748.FitzGerald, Marian, Alex Stevens and Chris Hale. “Review ofKnowledge on Juvenile Violence: Trends, Policies and Responsesin Europe.” Kent: Criminal Justice Center, Universityof Kent, 2004.Flay, BR., S Graumlich, E Segawa, JL Burns and MY Holiday.“Effects of 2 prevention programs on high-risk behaviorsamong African American youth.” Archive of Pediatric andAdolescent Medicine. 158. (2004): 377-384.Greene, Judith and Kevin Pranis. “Gang Wars: The Failure ofEnforcement Tactics and the Need for Effective Public SafetyStrategies.” Washington: Justice Policy Institute, 2007.Henggeler, SW. “Treating serious antisocial behavior inyouth: The MST approach.” Juvenile Justice Bulletin. 1997.Henry, Kimberly. “Who’s Skipping School: Characteristics ofTruants in 8th and 10th Grade.” Journal of School Health. 77.1(2006): 29-35.53


WORKS CITED AND CONSULTEDHenry, Kimberly and David Huizinga. “Truancy’s Effect onthe Onset of Drug Use among Urban Adolescents Placed atRisk.” Journal of Adolescent Health. 40.4 (2007).Hoagwood, Kimberly, Barbara Burns, Laurel Kiser, HeatherRingeisen and Sonja Schoenwald. “Evidence-Based Practicein Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.” PsychiatricServices. 52.9 (2001): 1179-1189.Holder, JD, PJ Gruenewald, and WR Ponicki. “Effect of community-basedinterventions on high-risk drinking and alcoholrelatedinjuries.” Journal of the American MedicalAssociation. 284. (2000): 2341-2347.“Homicide Reduction Strategy for the District of Columbia.”Washington: Project Safe Neighborhoods, 2005.Howell, JC and JD Hawkins. “Prevention of Youth Violence.”Youth Violence, Crime and Justice: A review of the research.24. (1998): 263-315.Howell, JC and J Lynch. “Youth Gangs in Schools.” JuvenileJustice Bulletin. 2000.Jucovy, Linda and Wendy McClanahan. “Reaching Throughthe Cracks: A Guide to Implementing the Youth Violence ReductionPartnership”. Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures,2008.Kamperin, David K. “MPD-1D Juvenile Projects.” Presentedto the Ward 6 Juvenile Justice Task Force. City Hall, Washington.12 January 2009.Kernan-Schloss, Adam and Bill Potapchuk. “Double the Numbersfor College Success: A Call to Action for the District ofColumbia.” Washington: Double the Numbers Coalition,2006.“Key Findings from the Survey of Middle School StudentsGrades 5 through 8.” The Informer. 1.4 (2006).Laub, JH and JL Lauritsen. “The Interdependence of SchoolViolence with Neighborhood and Family Conditions.” Violencein American Schools: A New Perspective. ed. DS Elliott,BA Hamburg and KR Williams. Cambridge: CambridgeUP, 1998.Lewis, Chris. “Improving Attendance-Reducing Truancy: ASchool Based Approach.” Educational Psychology in Practice.11.1 (1995): 36-40.Loeber, R and DP Farrington. Serious and violent juvenile offenders:risk factors and successful interventions. ThousandOaks: Sage, 1998.Ludwig J, GJ Duncan and P Hirschfield. “Urban poverty andjuvenile crime: Evidence from a randomized housing mobilityexperiment.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 116.(2001):655-680.Markowitz, FE and RB Felson. “Social Demographic Attitudesand Violence.” Criminology. 36.1 (1998).Maryland. Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention.Baltimore City Gang Violence Reduction Plan. Annapolis:Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, 2006.Meeker, JW, KJB Parsons and BJ Vila. “Developing a GIS-Based Regional Gang Incident Tracking System.” Respondingto Gangs: Evaluation and Research. Ed. W Reed and SDecker. Washington: U.S Department of Justice, National Instituteof Justice, 2002.Mercy, JA, ML Rosenberg, KE Powell, CV Broome and WLRoper. “Public Health Policy for Preventing Violence.” HealthAffairs. 12.4 (1993).Merrell, K and P Caldarella. Home and Community Social BehaviorScales. Baltimore: Paul H. Brooks Publishing, 2008.Messner, SF and R Rosenfield. “Social Structure and Homicide:Theory and Research.” Homicide: A Sourcebook or SocialResearch. Ed. M Dwayne Smith and Margaret A. Zahn.Thousand Oaks: Sage, 1999.Miller, AL, PC Notaro and MA Zimmerman. “Stability andchange in friendship orientation: Associations with multipledomains of urban adolescent functioning.” Journal of Socialand Personal Relationships. 19. (2005): 207-233.Minnesota. City of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Blueprint for Action:Preventing Youth Violence in Minneapolis. Minneapolis:City of Minneapolis, 2008.Nansel, TR, M Overpeck, RS Pilla, WJ Ruan, B Simon-Mortonand P Scheidt. “Bullying behaviors among US youth:prevalence and association with psychosocial adjustment.”Journal of the American Medical Association. 16. (2001):2094-2100.National Outcome Work Group for Children. 25 January2009. .National Violent Death Reporting System. Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, 2005.National Youth Gang Survey. Institute for IntergovernmentalResearch. 2005.National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center. 25 January2009..54


A BLUEPRINT FOR ACTIONOlds, D, P Hill and E Rumsey. “Prenatal and early childhoodnurse home visitation.” Juvenile Justice Bulletin. 1998.Pentz, Mary Ann, Sharon Mihalic and Jennifer Grotpeter.Blueprints for Violence Prevention: Book One: The MidwesternPrevention Project. Boulder: Center for the Study andPrevention of Violence, 1997.Pianta, RC. Child-Parent Relationship Scale. Unpublishedmeasure. University of Virginia, 1992.Pittman, Karen. “Changing the Odds.” Youth Today. 4.2(1995).Pittman, Karen Johnson, Merita Irby, Joel Tolman, NicoleYohalem and Thaddeus Ferber. “Preventing Problems, PromotingDevelopment, Encouraging Engagement: CompetingPriorities or Inseparable Goals?” Washington: The Forum forYouth Investment, 2003.“Prevention of Mental Health Disorders: Effective Interventionsand Policy Options.” Geneva: World Health Organization,2004.Raine, A. The Psychopathology of crime: criminal behavior asa clinical disorder. San Diego: Academic Press, 1993.Randall, J, CC Swenson and SW Henggeler. “Neighborhoodsolutions for neighborhood problems: An empirically basedviolence prevention collaboration.” Health Education and Behavior.26.6 (1999): 806-820.Sampson, RJ, SW Raudenbush, F Earls. “Neighborhoods andviolent crime: A multi-level study of collective efficacy.” Science.277. (1997).Saner, H and P Ellickson. “Concurrent risk factors for adolescentviolence.” Journal of Adolescent Health. 19.2 (1996): 94-103.Sherman, Lawrence, Denise Gottfredson, Doris MacKenzie,John Eck, Peter Reuter and Shawn Bushway. PreventingCrime: What Works, What Doesn’t, What’s Promising. CollegePark: University of Maryland, 1996.Skogan, Wesley, Susan Hartnett, Natalie Bump and JillDubois. “Executive Summary: Evaluation of CeaseFire-Chicago.” Chicago: Institute for Policy Research, NorthwesternUniversity, 2008.Smart Library on Children and Families. 25 January 2009..Spergel, Irving. The Youth Gang Problem. New York: OxfordUniversity Press, 1995.“The 411 on Girl Crews in DC: A Needs Assessment Reporton the Unmet Needs of Girl Crew Members.” Washington:Supporting Our Sisters, 2004.“The Color of Crime: Race, Crime and Justice in America,Second, Expanded Edition” Oakton: New Century Foundation,2005.Tierney, Joseph and Anais Loizillon. “Violence Reduction”.Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures, 1999.“Toward a Brighter Future: An Essential Agenda for America’sYoung People.” Washington: National Collaboration forYouth, 2009.United States. Centers for Disease Control. The Effectivenessof Universal School-Based Programs for the Prevention of Violentand Aggressive Behavior: A Report on Recommendationsof the Task Force on Community Preventive Services.Washington: Centers for Disease Control, 2007.United States. Centers for Disease Control. UnderstandingYouth Violence: Fact Sheet. Washington: Centers for DiseaseControl, 2008.United States. Centers for Disease Control. Youth Violence:Fact Sheet. Washington: National Center for Injury Preventionand Control, 2004.United States. Centers for Disease Control. Youth Violence:Fact Sheet. Washington: National Center for Injury Preventionand Control, 2006.United States. Centers for Disease Control. Youth Violence:Fact Sheet. Washington: National Center for Injury Preventionand Control, 2007.United States. Department of Health and Human Services.Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville:Department of Health and Human Services, 1999.United States. Department of Health and Human Services. UnderstandingYouth Violence: The CMHS Approach to EnhancingYouth Resilience and Prevention Youth Violence inSchools and Communities. Washington: Substance Abuse andMental Health Services Administration, 2001.United States. Department of Health and Human Services.Youth Violence: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville:Department of Health and Human Services, 2001.United States. Department of Justice. Best Practices to AddressCommunity Gang Problems: OJJDP’s ComprehensiveGang Model. Washington: Office of Juvenile Justice andDelinquency Prevention, 2007.55


WORKS CITED AND CONSULTEDUnited States. Department of Justice. Gang Suppression andIntervention: Problem and Response. Washington: Office ofJuvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1994.United States. Department of Justice. National Gang ThreatAssessment. Washington: National Drug Intelligence Center,2009.United States. Department of Justice. National Gang ThreatAssessment. Washington: National Drug Intelligence Center,2005.United States. Department of Justice. Untitled. Washington:National Gang Intelligence Center, forthcoming.United States. Department of Justice. Youth Gangs in Schools.Washington: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention,2000.van der Wal, Marcel, Cees AM de Wit and Remy A Hirasing.“Psychosocial Health Among Young Victims and Offendersof Direct and Indirect Bullying.” Pediatrics. 111.6 (2003):1312-1317.Wadsworth, MEJ. “Delinquency, pulse rates, and early emotionaldeprivation.” British Journal of Criminology. 16.(1976): 245-256.Washington State. Governor’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee.Community-Based Gang Prevention and Intervention.GJJAC Policy Brief. Olympia: Governor’s Juvenile JusticeAdvisory Committee, 2008.World Report on Violence and Health. Geneva: World HealthOrganization, 2002.Yohalem, N and K Pittman. “Powerful Pathways: FramingOptions and Opportunities for Vulnerable Youth.” Discussionpaper of the Youth Transition Funders Group. Takoma Park:The Forum for Youth Investment, 2001.“Youth and Gang/Crew Violence Programming in DC: Surveyof the Community.” Washington: Healthy Families ThrivingCommunities Collaborative Council, 2008.Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, 2007.56


1. What do you see as important trends regarding youth violence,particularly about gangs or crews, here in the city? Doyou see a trend about gender—how much or in what waysgirls are involved in gangs or crews here? Do you see a trendabout domestic violence that relates to youth gangs or crewshere?2. Please describe your program strategies and major activities,the work that you and your [agency][department] do. Areyou providing direct services, funding, or both? What are youdoing on positive youth development? What are you doingspecifically on youth gang violence prevention or intervention?3. With your efforts to prevent or reduce youth gang violence,do you focus on a particular population, such as:- Age group- Race/ethnicity- Neighborhood- Gender- Other characteristics or considerations4. How did you choose or develop the strategies you areusing? Are you using evidence-based practices, and if so, whatis the source of evidence to support your approach?APPENDIX 1:MOSAICA INTERVIEW QUESTIONSA BLUEPRINT FOR ACTION5. What outcomes are you trying to reach? To what extenthave you been successful reaching these outcomes?6. Please describe your evaluation methods, formal or informal.Who does the evaluation? What data do you collect?What have you learned about your impact?7. In your work, are you using innovative practices? What areexamples, and what makes these practices promising?8. How do you find out what young people want and work tocarry that out?9. What are the funding sources for your youth work? Whatrole should funders play, and what should they do differentlyto help ensure gang prevention and reduction efforts succeed?10. What are challenges working with the government to reduceand prevent youth gang violence? What role should governmentplay, and what should they do differently to helpensure that gang prevention and reduction efforts succeed?(Prompt: What role in program funding? What role in its ownprogram work?)APPENDIX 2:MOSAICA PROGRAM INTERVIEW SUMMARIES1. Trends, ObservationsPeople within the community who operate youth programsagreed that:• The number of girls and younger people has increased in recentyears• The pattern continues of violence increasing during summermonths• Most tensions between young people are neighborhoodbased• Crews are more prevalent in DC, with membership typicallybased on where someone lives, but the threat of national gangs(Bloods, Crips, MS-13) coming to DC is real – if they are notalready here• Fear and stereotyping feed into the violence• Some incidents now are provoked by online contact (for instance,on MySpace)2. Program StrategiesLeaders and staff of community-based programs indicated that:• Programs need to address systemic or “root” issues that leadto violence and not just the symptoms or results – the violentbehaviors• Programs need to engage young people in activism as well asresolving conflict between them• Cultural or ritual elements encourage young people toward adifferent mindset• Strong collaboration with other CBOs and government agenciesis crucial to success; asset mapping supports collaborationand service• An essential strategy is to use a wrap-around approach withmultiple services that address youth and their families frommore than one angle (e.g., legal aid, education, employment,housing)• There is a clear distinction between prevention and intervention– both of which are necessary• At the same time that individual support is provided, therealso need to be efforts to build community and systemic capacity– starting with engaging people as citizens and fostering interestin community accountability3. Evidence-Based Practice, InnovationThose who run programs do understand the importance of57


APPENDICESusing evidence-based practices and have tried to implementinnovated strategies. The most common thoughts about usingthese practices include:• Many programs are initiated based on whether or not theyhave been successful in other cities or locations• The city needs to take a broader look at which practices areor are not working and provide additional resources to thosethat are4. Outcomes, Evaluation:Interviewees agreed that:• Prevention is difficult to evaluate, given little exists in harddata that can demonstrate crimes or behaviors prevented• There is a clear understanding of the importance and needfor evaluation, and there is a shift towards collecting moredata for that purpose• Some resistance to evaluation relates to concerns that theprocess may not reflect the community’s experience and understanding5. Youth Voice, ResponsivenessThose interviewed understand the importance of including theyouth voice in their programs. Many programs often include acomponent of youth feedback and voice empowerment, withthe goals of positive youth development. Additional themesthat surfaced include:• We should value young people’s values and opinions• Youth are engaged at different levels including focusgroups, congressional briefings, meeting with decision makers,and town halls6. Working with Government:CBO program staff understand the importance of workingwith government agencies in Washington, DC. Some commonbenefits and challenges include:• Some agencies are focused on law enforcement instead of acomprehensive strategy that encapsulates the entire young person• Agencies and CBOs have different levels of capacity –which needs to be understood by the other groups• Working with government agencies can be difficult givenmany different points of entry7. Collaboration with Other CBOs• Not everyone can put in the same amount of work and commitment,especially given the different levels of funding• Available funding varies depending on the type of youthwork being done• Addressing youth violence takes the entire community, includingCBOs and government agencies8. FundingCBOs agreed that there are several challenges to funding sufficientfunding for the necessary programs. Among the challengesidentified:• Diversifying funding sources is difficult with most fundingsources coming from government or foundations – and individualdonors often don’t set a high priority on youth violenceprevention/intervention• Intervention programs have often been better funded thanprevention programs• Insider politics sometimes determine what groups get governmentfunds and the level• Government funding cycles tend to be seasonal – that is,higher in summer months9. DC History/ContextInterview comments also indicated that:• People differ on whether national gangs (Bloods and Crips)are established in DC• There is inadequate data about girl gang violence and intervention• More attention and resources are needed for youth and families10. Other Comments – CBO PerspectiveInterviewee also shared their perspectives that:• Formerly incarcerated people have a great deal to offer, solong as they are encouraged to see the “shades of gray”58


APPENDIX 3:ROOT AND HOWARD UNIVERSITY QUESTIONNAIREA BLUEPRINT FOR ACTION59


APPENDICES60

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines