For Immediate Release - November 10, 2015

AG Healey Awards $25,000 to City of Worcester for Youth Violence Prevention Initiative

Grant To Fund Trained Outreach Workers To Engage Highest Risk Youth

BOSTON – In keeping with her commitment to protect the health and welfare of the state’s young people, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today that her office has awarded the City of Worcester a $25,000 grant to implement its Youth Violence Prevention Initiative.

The funds will be distributed to two nonprofit organizations that will employ trained outreach workers to work with 20 to 25 of city’s highest risk young men (ages 17-24) and connect them with needed social, behavioral and employment services. The goal of the year-long initiative is to curtail gang violence and make the city safer.

“Our effort to address the root causes of violence statewide happens one city and town at a time,” said AG Healey. “This grant will help the city’s highest risk young people obtain the resources they need to live safe and healthy lives.”

“Putting a major dent in gang violence is a priority of the city, and we're grateful it's a shared priority for Attorney General Healey," said City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. “This much-needed grant will support the city's Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, a collaborative effort between the city, police, juvenile court, Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early, and more than 40 community organizations that will take a serious, evidence-based approach to curbing violence among our young people."

The Youth Violence Prevention Initiative builds on previous programs the city has participated in to reduce violence. The city will use the partnerships it has developed through these programs and input from other organizations to identify the high risk young men it will target for the program.

The workers will use intensive street outreach efforts to connect with identified high risk young men and assist them as they go through job skills training and drug treatment programs. Outreach workers will also monitor and coach the young men throughout the program to prevent relapses into violent behavior and conflicts. 

The program’s service area includes the entire city, but efforts will be focused on areas where more youth violence is located including areas around the southern and eastern parts of the city.

The initiative will be underway this spring and will conclude in December of 2016.

The grant is being funded with money from federal criminal forfeitures.