WASHINGTON – At the direction of President Obama, the Departments of Justice and Education officially launched the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention (the forum) along with participating localities and other federal agencies. The administration created the forum as a context for participating localities to share challenges and promising strategies with each other and to explore how federal agencies can better support local efforts.
At a working session on Monday and Tuesday, teams from the cities of Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Tenn., Salinas, Calif. and San Jose, Calif., met with federal agencies and each other to share information and experience about what works in preventing youth and gang violence. Participating cities have pledged to develop or enhance comprehensive plans to prevent youth and gang violence in their city, using multi-disciplinary partnerships, balanced approaches and data-driven strategies. The cities’ comprehensive plans will be presented at a Youth Violence Summit to be held in Washington, D.C., next spring. These plans will aim to reduce violence, improve opportunities for youth, and encourage innovation at the local and federal levels.
"Our effort to combat youth violence isn’t about federally-imposed fixes, it’s about changing the way we do business on this critical public safety issue," said Attorney General Eric Holder, who met with the forum today. "We must come together to share knowledge and experience about what works, creating networks of local law enforcement agencies, educators, public health providers, community and faith-based organizations, parents and kids to stand together in the fight against youth and gang violence. This administration will continue to do what it takes to reclaim our communities and our youth from crime and violence. The lives of our nation’s children are at stake."
"We know that if children aren’t safe, then they can’t learn," said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who met with the forum on Monday. "We all have a stake in public safety and a responsibility to keep our children out of harm’s way. This administration is committed to working with community and school leaders to identify core causes of crime and violence in and around our schools and to build the most effective solutions. This forum is an opportunity to better learn how we can provide the tools and resources that communities, administrators, teachers, parents and students need to keep our children safe."
"This forum provides not only an occasion for the federal government to assist cities, but also a platform for the cities to learn from one another," said White House Domestic Policy Advisor Melody Barnes. "The agencies’ efforts here illustrate the administration’s commitment to address the complex and urgent problem of youth violence with innovation, coordination, and hands-on hard work."
Participating cities were selected on the basis of need, geographic diversity, and willingness and capacity to engage. Along with Justice and Education, participating federal agencies include the Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Labor and the Office of National Drug Control Policy.