The El Barrio/East Harlem Youth Violence Task Force along with the Harlem Community Justice Center and other partners are working to convene three community forums on youth violence. Tenant associations, CBO's, schools and churches are encouraged to bring 5 to 10 youth to the event. 1st meeting of the series: Date: March 10th, 2011 Time: 4PM—6PM Location: JHS 99 410 East 100th Street
This week fourteen members from two local central Harlem juvenile gangs were arrested and charged with conspiracy, gun, and drug charges, according to the Manhatatn District Attorney's Office. To read more about the arrests click here here.
Youth Courts are peer court programs that work to address low level offending and delinquency among youth. Nationally, Youth Courts have been identified by the as a model approach to keeping youth that engage in low-level delinquent behaviors from further involvement in the justice system. Through a mix of positive peer pressure and restorative sanctions, like community service or letters of apology, a youth respondent confronts how their behavior has impacted their family and community as well as their future.
I recently re-read an article critiquing many of the large scale federal initiatives for youth. The authors, Jon Baron of the Coalition for Evidence-Based Practices and Isabel Sawhill a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute, indicate that of the ten major federal programs subject to random assignment evaluations, the gold standard, only one was proven to work. A pretty bleak assessment.
So, two question for all of us who are working now to make a difference for youth: 1) Is your program or strategy evidence-based? 2) Is there room for innovation in this brave new world of "best practices"?