For Immediate Release - July 25, 2011

Patrick-Murray Administration Make Funding Available to Cities and Towns to Reduce Youth Violence

Commonwealth to work with cities and towns with high levels of homicides and assaults

BOSTON - As part of the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative, the Patrick-Murray Administration has issued a Request for Responses (RFR) to solicit grant applications from cities and towns to support efforts to reduce youth violence. To fund the grants, the Administration will allocate up to $10 million in funding, secured through a supplemental budget, to support communities with high levels of youth-related homicides and non-fatal assaults and serious injuries over the past five years.

"We need peace in our communities," said Governor Deval Patrick. "Our goal is to bring state government, cities and towns, and local organizations together to lift up at-risk youth, and end the fear of violence."

"The Safe and Successful Youth Initiative is an opportunity to work closely with cities and towns, identify what has worked, what has not worked, and implement a comprehensive plan that will help build stronger and safer neighborhoods in our communities," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray.

Governor Patrick launched the Commonwealth's Safe and Successful Youth Initiative in May as a comprehensive violence prevention strategy aimed at reducing youth homicides and serious assaults in Massachusetts. As part of this effort, Governor Patrick issued an Executive Order emphasizing the Administration's commitment to partnering with local officials to address youth violence, and filed legislation creating tougher gun laws that hold "high impact" individuals accountable.

"We are committed to working with cities and towns to address violence in our communities," said Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. JudyAnn Bigby. "Building these partnerships with local governments, community-based organizations, families, and law enforcement will help ensure that every young person in our Commonwealth has hope for a productive and happy life."

Assistant Secretary for Children, Youth and Families Marilyn Anderson Chase is leading the state's efforts to ensure the availability of a comprehensive plan for addressing youth violence. "The Governor's Safe and Successful Youth Initiative is built on the principle that all children should have opportunities to grow, play and learn in a peaceful environment," said Assistant Secretary Chase. "We know that cities and towns across the Commonwealth share our beliefs that young people are an asset and that violence is preventable."

Funding will require grantees to implement a coordinated intervention strategy focused on "proven risk" youth and is intended to fill gaps in direct services currently available for these youth. The goal is to support a full continuum of services for young men who are most likely to be victims or perpetrators of shooting or stabbing violence and their families, including identification, street outreach and engagement, trauma counseling, employment, education and services for families.

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services, which issued the RFR, expects that applications represent a community-informed collaborative effort led by a municipality. Applicants must be able to demonstrate effective working relationships with community partners that are equally committed to program implementation, including educational and health and human services agencies, medical and behavioral health providers and non-profit faith and community-based organizations. Collaborations should also include local and state law enforcement entities, including the Department of Youth Services, District Attorneys' Offices, the Office of the Commissioner of Probation, the Parole Board and Sheriffs' Offices. For communities selected, contracts will be for one year, beginning on or around October 1, 2011.

This initiative complements the Administration's allocation of a total of $8 million in funding to support an estimated 4,000 summer jobs for at-risk youth across the Commonwealth. The funds represent $6 million in YouthWorks funding administered by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and Commonwealth Corporation, along with $2 million in Federal Byrne Grant funding that has been directed by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to fund summer jobs. Governor Patrick also launched Summer Corps 2011, an effort that allows Corps members to bring academic support and civic engagement opportunities to approximately 900 middle school-aged youth.

The full RFR is available online at www.comm-pass.com .

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