Governor Deval Patrick today met with youth and community leaders at the Community Development Recreation Center in Fall River to discuss the impact of the first year of the Governor's Safe and Successful Youth Initiative -- a multi-faceted strategy for reducing youth violence in the Commonwealth. In 2011, Fall River was awarded $807,832 to identify and provide case management to 50 at-risk youth, connect them and their families to activities and services and provide ongoing monitoring and supervision.
"Initiatives like this one in Fall River are critical to ending the cycle of violence that devastates communities," said Governor Patrick. "We must continue to support these programs at the highest levels possible -- I encourage the legislature to quickly approve the additional $6 million in funding to keep these programs going."
Last year, Governor Patrick announced the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative and awarded 11 cities a total of $9.7 million to support the initiative's first year. Cities identify young men ages 14 -- 24, most at risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of violence. Cities and their partners provide outreach, case management, education, employment and trauma services to the identified youth and their families.
"Governor Patrick's Safe and Successful Youth Initiative has formed a partnership with our community to work with our youth and their families to reduce youth violence," said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues.
"Fall River is meeting the Patrick-Murray Administration's challenge to identify and engage some of its most difficult to reach young people, offering them the opportunity change their lives," said Marilyn Chase, assistant secretary, Office of Children, Youth and Families. "We look forward to continuing to work with the city and its partners to create a safer environment for all residents."
"The City of Fall River has a strong focus on bettering the lives of our youth be it through educational advancements, employment training opportunities or ensuring the safety of our youth," said Mayor William Flanagan. "The Safe and Successful Youth Initiative initiated by the Patrick-Murray Administration has been instrumental in helping us move our youth based objectives forward. SSYI is an immense asset that improves the quality of life in our city."
The Fiscal Year 2013 budget Governor Patrick signed on July 8, 2012 funds the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative at $4 million, $6 million below the $10 million recommended by the Governor. Governor Patrick has since filed a supplemental budget proposing the additional $6 million.
"The funding for the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative is a life line to the City of Fall River to offer support and life-saving resources to families and children at risk," said Representative David Sullivan. " This joint effort between the legislature and the Administration is a great example of our commitment to reduce youth violence in our Commonwealth"
Representative Harold P. Naughton, Jr., House Chair of the Joint Committee of Public Safety is supportive of the approach to prevent youth violence before it starts. "When youth violence occurs, quality of life diminishes and communities cannot thrive," said Representative Naughton.
"The Safe and Successful Youth Initiative is a great program that greatly helps Fall River and the Police Department target and develop relationships with at risk youth to reduce crime and create positive outcomes for our youth," said Representative Paul Schmid.
Thursday's Fall River visit kicked-off a statewide tour, where Governor Patrick and leaders in the Administration will meet with youth as well as community and municipal leaders to discuss the successes and challenges of the program after one-year.