Minneapolis selected to join national forum on youth violence prevention
Building on its local success in youth violence prevention, the City of Minneapolis is one of four new cities in 2012 that have been selected to become a member of a federal-level initiative to address youth violence – the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention.
Under President Obama, the National Department of Justice and Education created the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention to spark a heightened awareness and communication on youth and gang violence. The forum is a new model for federal and local collaboration that encourages members to change their approach through increased communication and coordinated action. The Forum is an Administration-led effort involving agencies from across the federal government, corporate partners, non-profit groups, neighborhood and faith-based organizations, and youth representatives. It also complements the Attorney General’s Defending Childhood Initiative, a Department of Justice-wide effort designed to prevent and reduce the damage caused by children’s exposure to violence.
Youth violence is the second leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control. As part of its youth violence prevention efforts, in 2006, the City declared youth violence to be a public health concern and formally launched the "Blueprint for Action" in 2008 with these four goals: connect every youth with a trusted adult; intervene at the first sign that youth are at risk for violence; restore youth who have gone down the wrong path; and, unlearn the culture of violence in our community.
Since 2006, the City of Minneapolis has seen some successes in reducing youth violence in the city. For example:
The number of juveniles involved in violent crime is down 59 percent
Violent crime arrests for juveniles have been reduced by nearly 44 percent
Incidents involving guns and juveniles are down nearly 66 percent
*Source: Results Minneapolis, Youth Violence Prevention, May 22, 2012
In addition to these measured successes, the Blueprint has served as a platform for significant systems change and resource allocation in a coordinated manner. Among the achievements:
SPEAK UP Tip Line – Launched confidential tip line for Minneapolis youth and young adults to call or text in the threat of weapons in the community.
StreetReach – Engaged youth who exhibited signs of at-risk behavior for violence and other negative situations. Services included mentoring, and providing resources, recreational activities and other positive adult connections during summer months.
Expanded summer hours at parks – Helped leverage resources to expand hours at parks in 9 neighborhoods that were prone to greater levels of violence.
Leveraged resources – In 2008 & 2009 leveraged $514,000 of Empowerment Zone funds to 9 community organizations to support several youth development initiatives including employment opportunities for youth, parent support programs, Youth are Here Buses, and teen pregnancy prevention programs.
Hospital protocol – Launched a protocol with two Trauma 1-level hospitals to intervene and provide psycho-social assessments within 24 hours to every youth aged 10-24 presenting a violent injury to the emergency room. Patients are then connected with appropriate community-based organizations.
North4 – Launched a pilot employment program for gang affiliated youth who had trouble gaining employment due to their criminal background. Program helps employ and rehabilitate former offenders interested in making a change in their life.
Engagement Zones and Center of Excellence – Partnered with the University of Minnesota to leverage assets at the University for the establishment of a Center and to help implement the Blueprint in target neighborhood.
Youth Violence Prevention Act of 2009 – Successfully lobbied for the passage of state legislation which declared youth violence a public health issue statewide and created 3 additional pilot sites in Minnesota to be modeled after the Blueprint.
Gang Assessment Report – Conducted an assessment of the capacity of organizations to engage and address gang-affiliated youth in four neighborhoods that had the highest rates of violent and gang crime.
B.U.I.L.D. – Gang prevention and healthy youth development curriculum that is intended to increase street-based outreach focusing on specific high-risk neighborhoods
Summer 612: An innovative microgrant and campaign program that engages over 1000 youth in the summer to create messages using the arts to address the culture of violence.
As part of this national forum, the Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support will use a four-step process to develop a strategic plan that will serve youth from the ages of 8-24 who reside in Minneapolis. The process will build upon the City’s current plan, Blueprint of Action: Preventing Youth Violence. Joining this national forum will provide the City with more opportunities for training and technical assistance in completing its strategic planning process, and coordination with other member communities in preventing youth violence.
Published Sep. 19, 2012