The National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention is a network of communities and federal agencies that work together, share information and build local capacity to prevent and reduce youth violence. Established at the direction of President Obama in 2010, the Forum brings together people from diverse professions and perspectives to learn from each other about the crisis of youth and gang violence in the U.S and to build comprehensive solutions on the local and national levels.
Participating Federal agencies include the Departments of Justice, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, and the Office on National Drug Control Policy. The communities participating in the Forum include Boston, Camden, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Salinas, and San Jose.
Other participants include faith and community–based organizations, youth and family groups, and business and philanthropic leaders.
The Forum operates on three key principles:
- Multidisciplinary partnerships are key to tackling this complex issue – police, educators, public health and other service providers, faith and community leaders, parents, and kids, must all be at the table.
- Communities must balance and coordinate their prevention, intervention, enforcement and reentry strategies.
- Data and evidence- driven strategies must inform efforts to reduce youth violence in our country. These three principles are critical to directing and leveraging limited resources in order to make a long standing impact.
The Forum has three goals:
- Elevate youth and gang violence as an issue of national significance.
- Enhance the capacity of participating localities, as well as others across the country, to more effectively prevent youth and gang violence.
- Sustain progress and systems change through engagement, alignment, and assessment.
The Forum launched officially in October 2010, at a working session in Washington, DC. At the Session, teams from the cities of Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Salinas, CA, and San Jose, CA met with federal agencies and each other to share information and experience about what works in preventing youth and gang violence. Each city 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. In September 2012, the expansion of the Forum to ten cities, including the City of New Orleans was announced.
Since then, comprehensive plans have been developed and currently being implemented. These plans aim to reduce violence, improve opportunities for youth, and encourage innovation at the local and federal levels. The Forum has brought participating cities together in Washington on a regular basis, holding two annual National Summits on Preventing Youth Violence, as well as annual working sessions, the third of which will be held on December 10-11, 2012.
Participants: Office of Justice Programs/Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention OJP/OJJDP, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration SAMHSA, Office of Criminal Justice Coordination, New Orleans Police Department, NOPD, local school systems, and community partners.
- Member of the Youth Violence Prevention Strategic Planning Team