Representatives from Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Salinas, and San Jose gathered in Washington, DC on April 2 and 3, 2012 for the second Summit on Preventing Youth Violence. The National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention (Forum) is a network of communities and federal agencies that work together, share information and build local capacity to prevent and reduce youth violence. The Summit brought together a diverse group of participants, including youth and adults involved in violence prevention efforts, federal staff, researchers, and other experts.
Highlights from the meeting
Representation from the White House, Cabinet members, the Congress, and Mayors:
Attorney General Eric Holder, along with Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Director Gil Kerlikowske of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs Mary Lou Leary, Department of Labor’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of Employment and Training Administration Roberta Gassman, Congressman Robert C. Scott (D-VA), and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, delivered remarks, signaling the high-level and diverse commitments to preventing youth violence in our country.
The Forum city teams provided presentations on the implementation of their comprehensive plans to prevent and reduce youth violence. The comprehensive plans blend prevention, intervention, enforcement, and reentry and focus on multi-disciplinary partnerships, balanced approaches, and data-driven strategies to ensure that cities address the wide range of factors associated with youth violence.
See the PowerPoint presentations for the cities:
During the Summit, the Forum unveiled a new online toolkit, which provides technical assistance to cities across the country who want to adopt the Forum’s comprehensive approach, even if they are not formal members of the Forum. The toolkit makes it possible for communities around the country to develop comprehensive plans for youth violence prevention.
Researchers from John Jay College and Temple University released the first interim report on their independent assessment of the Forum and presented findings at the Summit. Initial results include improved perceptions of public safety and violence, better collaboration and organizational cooperation, and increased support for violence prevention among local officials in Forum cities. A full online report detailing the findings, which also includes video of interviews with Forum stakeholders from the six cities, can be found here.
Champions of Change:
On April 4th, the White House honored two leaders from each of the six cities currently participating in the Forum network who are working to make their communities safer. The Youth Violence Prevention “Champions of Change” event was part of President Obama’s “Winning the Future” initiative, which recognizes individuals, businesses, or organizations who embody “Innovate, Educate, and Build.” Different groups are highlighted each week ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community activists. To celebrate the accomplishments of the individuals who make up the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, the White House honored individuals committed to preventing youth violence. Biographies of the Youth Violence Prevention Champions can be found here.
AmeriCorps Commits to Fighting Youth Violence:
During the April 4 Champions of Change event, a representative from the Corporation for National and Community Service announced that AmeriCorps VISTA, a volunteer program designed to fight poverty, will be expanding in order to support the work of the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention. Through this expansion, AmeriCorps will make it possible for each of the six Forum cities (including Detroit, which has already piloted the expansion) to sponsor up to two AmeriCorps VISTA members in their communities. The VISTAs who come on board in Forum cities will devote their energies to cities’ plans to prevent youth violence by recruiting and training volunteers, building partnerships, and conducting outreach. The full press release announcing this expansion can be found here.
Capacity Building Grants Announced for Forum Cities:
The purpose of the Forum Capacity-Building Grants will be to foster the implementation and/or enhancement of local Youth Violence Prevention Plans in the existing six (6) sites that have been participating in the Forum initiative and have completed plans. Uses of these funds may be for one or more of the following purpose areas: Staff Coordination and Support; Management Information System Development or Enhancements; Development or Enhancements of Plan Monitoring; and Process Evaluation, and Outcome or Performance Evaluation. It is believed that the capacity-building grants in the amount of $125,000 for a two year project period will enable the Forum cities to continue their exemplary, yet on-going, efforts to address their unique youth violence issues and will continue to allow the Department of Justice to raise awareness and elevate the issue of youth and gang violence to one of national significance. This grant funding will also provide jurisdictions with completed youth violence plans the ability to leverage and match with other funds or in-kind contributions.
At the 2012 Summit, the Attorney General made an exciting announcement: with support from the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Forum has made preliminary plans to expand its network to four additional cities through a competitive application process. As a result of this expansion, these new communities will become part of the Forum network, will develop comprehensive approaches to preventing youth violence, and will expand the reach of the Forum’s efforts as well as the network of individuals and communities bringing expertise to the Forum’s efforts.
William Bell, President and CEO of Casey Family Programs, and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter spoke about the necessity of strong leadership in local comprehensive efforts to address youth and gang violence. Bryan Samuels, Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provided remarks on the role of supportive relationships in building social competencies and resilience in the lives of youth who have been exposed to violence. A panel of youth, comprised of individuals from each of the Forum cities, offered inspiring stories of hope and resilience. Additional panels explored issues like developing and sustaining effective private sector partnerships, faith, fatherhood, and family, and employment and training strategies for disconnected youth. A series of small group sessions provided participants with an opportunity to engage with experts and share information. Jack Calhoun, Senior Consultant to the Forum and former Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families served as the closing keynote speaker, summarizing salient conference themes and honoring the attendees who work tirelessly to protect young people and build neighborhoods that nurture.
|Presentation||Presenters and Panelists|
|Young People Who Experience Trauma: Identifying Strategies to Promote Resilience and Reduce Future Perpetration of Violence||Dr. Sarah Oberlander, Dr. Bradley C. Stolbach, Eric Lulow, Julia Silva|
|Leveraging Public-Private Partnerships to Support Safe Communities||Alicia Jolla|
|Above the Influence: Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign||Aya Collins|
|Employment Training Strategies for Disconnected Youth||Roberta Gassman, Edna Primrose, David Roberts, Jacqueline Freeman, Anthony Day|
|The Impact of Maltreatment on Relationships||Bryan Samuels|
|Strategic Directions in Funding Innovation||Maria-Lana Queen, David Carradini, Dennis Mondoro, Stewart Sarkozy-Banoczy|
|Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS)||Cynthia Pappas, Tawana Waugh, Larry Martinez, Brian Lumpkin|
Assistant Attorney General Mary Lou Leary wrote a blog post following the Summit. To learn more about the Summit, view the agenda. Learn more about the Forum by visiting their website or reading their collaboration profile.