Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $500,000)
The Violence Prevention and Intervention Initiative (VPII) seeks to provide a comprehensive array of prevention and intervention services for high-risk Cook County and Chicagoland youth. The project will target adolescents ages 12 to 18, using a trauma-informed and restorative justice approach. Additionally, the project includes pretrial services as a diversion program specifically supporting youth in meeting their conditions of pre-trial release, and accessing community supports. The VPII provides alternatives to detention, services to youth awaiting court, and support for youth at risk of violence who currently reside or may be reentering the community. Chicagoland’s high-risk youth served through this project will gain access to a continuum of services according to their needs including face-to-face intervention, crisis assessment, counseling, employment and educational assistance, Teen Drop-In, recreational activities, service planning, restorative justice, and temporary living arrangements. Services may also include individual counseling, group counseling, and life skills training, as well as referrals to other resources within the community. Additional linguistic needs of the population served by this program may include Spanish. The VPII serves as an ideal alternative to help direct youth to positive activities and resources to help these youth move along pathways toward completing school and pursuing post-secondary education or a career. VPII also helps youth and their families address the stressors or conditions in their lives that contribute to more risk factors versus protective factors is vital to stopping the school-to-prison pipeline, and keeping youth safe and families unified. Desired outcomes from this project include 1) reductions in delinquency, juvenile crime, youth gang activity, youth substance abuse, and other high-risk factors; 2) reductions in the risk factors in the community, schools, and family environments that contribute to juvenile violence; and 3) increases in the protective factors that reduce the likelihood of delinquency and criminal behavior.