National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention Communities: Seattle
The Seattle Youth Opportunity Initiative represents a comprehensive approach to ensuring all youth transition successfully to adulthood, healthy and violence free. In Seattle, the injury or death of even one young person is too many.
In April 2015, the Community Planning Committee designed and held the Mayor’s Youth Opportunity Summit, which was designed to gather information directly from the participants to identify strengths of current efforts, gaps in those efforts, and recommendations for action. More than 400 participants attended the Summit and provided valuable ideas that have strongly informed this plan.
Since taking office in 2014, Mayor Ed Murray has prioritized young people, especially youth of color and the city’s most vulnerable populations. The Seattle Youth Opportunity Initiative is a Mayoral priority, and will use a citywide approach to focus on those neighborhoods and communities most affected by violence and inequitable access to resources.
The initiative leverages the current Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, providing a framework for alignment of resources in the City’s Human Services Department as well as future alignment with resources in other City departments such as Libraries, Parks, and Police.
Race and Social Justice: Violence does not affect all Seattle communities equally. The City’s efforts will address the social inequities that make violence more likely in certain communities and/or groups of people.
Community Engagement: It takes a community to care for its youth, and the success of a community depends on including those most affected by violence in defining the problem and shaping priorities.
Shared Leadership: Community leadership ensures that violence prevention strategies fit with local culture, history, and context.
Multi-Sector Collaboration: The value that more can be achieved together than alone is reflected in this plan, along with the expertise and wisdom of more than 20 city, county, and state agencies and numerous community stakeholders.
An Integrated Approach: Seattle’s commitment to preventing violence and creating opportunities for youth and young adults of color is supported by three national initiatives: My Brother’s Keeper, Cities United, and the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention.
Efforts Across the Prevention Continuum: Through the Seattle Youth Opportunity Initiative, the City of Seattle is committed to ensuring that our strategies to support youth and young adults’ successful transition to adulthood cover the continuum of prevention, intervention, enforcement and reentry.
Goals & Objectives
The Seattle Youth Opportunity Initiative strategic plan lays out five primary goals:
- Youth and young adults transition to adulthood.
- Youth and young adults achieve academic success.
- Youth and young adults are safe from violence and free from justice system involvement.
- Youth and young adults are healthy, physically, socially, and emotionally.
- The Seattle Community is mobilized in support of these goals.
No single factor causes or prevents violence, so the goals and strategies presented in this plan address the priority risk and resilience factors in Seattle’s most affected communities.
The governance structure for the Seattle Youth Opportunity Initiative includes participation from community, City and County representatives who are most relevant to the specific function of each committee, and subject matter experts. The structure is designed to ensure multi-sector engagement, access to best practices and published research, and to enable decision-making through shared leadership.