Sacramento County Blue Ribbon Commission Report on Disproportionate African American Child Deaths states the cause of child death with the highest percentage of disproportion is third-party homicide, of which 32% (44 of 138) were African American children. Third-party homicide is the killing of a child by a person with or without malice aforethought, where the perpetrator was not the primary caregiver. This can include crimes such as youth-on-youth gang violence or driving under the influence of alcohol causing a fatal accident resulting in a death of a child. Sixty-eight percent (95 of 139) of third-party homicides of all children and 75% (33 of 44) of third-party homicides of African American children occurred in youth 15 to 17 years of age. Risk factors were known to be present in 60% (83 of 138) of third-party homicides of all children and 66% (29 of 44) of third-party homicides of African American children. Risk factors include: Firearms, Alcohol and Other Drugs, Gang Involvement, Violent Crime, and Child Protective Services Involvement.
Seventy-five percent (33 of 44) of third-party homicides of African American children occurred in the following neighborhoods:
- Valley Hi/Meadowview/Bruceville – 43% (19 of 44) of third-party homicides of African American children occurred in this neighborhood.
- North Sacramento/Del Paso Heights – 20% (9 of 44) of third-party homicides of African American children occurred in this neighborhood.
- North Highlands – 11% (5 of 44) of third-party homicides of African American children occurred in this neighborhood.
Local Resources for Youth:
Boys and Girls Club of Greater Sacramento provides youth with a safe environment to participate in positive, fun activities, where they can set and reach their goals. Club programs and services promote and enhance youth development by in instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and a power or influence.
Building Health Communities – Sacramento (The HUB) is a 10-year commitment to making our neighborhoods healthy for our children. By decreasing childhood obesity and youth violence; increasing school attendance and providing access to quality healthcare, we will create neighborhoods where our children are healthy, safe and ready to learn. The HUB provides a list of youth development resources. Mobilizing youth as leaders and change agents, and supporting kids to stay in school, find meaningful work, and connect with caring adults helps the next generation to thrive. Children and families are safe from violence in their home, neighborhoods and schools. Violence prevention is not just the business of the police department. It’s a public health issue, and it’s preventable. Youth, parents, faith leaders, law enforcement and local business are joining forces to create alternatives to violence along with new opportunities for kids.
GANG PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION TASK FORCE – The City of Sacramento’s Gang Prevention & Intervention Task Force is focusing on a coordinated, comprehensive effort to address gang violence. The plan combines the latest research and best practices with an intentional focus on providing more prevention and intervention services to high-risk and gang-involved populations.
The current strategic plan focuses on the following goals:
- School Based & Justice Systems Approach
- Community Empowerment
- Workforce Readiness
- Regional Accountability
Sacramento Works – Youth Programs Serve All Youth Ages 16-24. Youth Providers provide job search assistance, linkages to community resources, career development workshops, resume writing, interview skills, and access to information on education and employment opportunities. Individualized services are provided to youth ages 16-24 and include:
- Work Experience
- Support Services
- Occupational Skills Training
- Guidance and Counseling
Sacramento County Youth Services Unit – Youth Programs – Includes programs for youth including: Mentoring and Leadership, Sports, Intervention, and Community Outreach
Sacramento Minority Youth Violence Prevention Program is aimed at addressing violence by integrating public health and local community policing efforts in a coordinated violence prevention approach. The goals of SMYVP are to:
- Increase linkages between local efforts to address youth violence, particularly as it relates to minority male youth, and increase coordination of services and resources through a multi-sector collaborative.
- Link community policing practices, trauma informed care learning, and compromised brain development theory with Sacramento City Unified School District’s Men’s Leadership Academy (MLA), a school-based youth leadership program for minority male youth.
Youth Employment Opportunity Program provides special services to youth between the ages of 15 and 25 to assist them in achieving their educational and vocational goals. While working with peer advisors, youth clients interact with professional individuals who have similar paths, perspectives, and educational goals by providing referrals to supportive services, workshops, career coaching, employment preparation, and other training and community outreach efforts.
Youth Empowered for Success, a program of the Greater Sacramento Urban League (GSUL) is designed to encourage youth to discover positive pathways to education and training that lead to high demand careers. GSUL leverages services provided by its partners; to offer the best possible opportunities to youth. We engage and reengage youth, provide clear pathways, strong supports, and other elements critical to the success of youth. The program has a dual emphasis on youth leadership development and workforce development. The youth development component focuses on leadership skills, civic engagement, professionalism, reliability, leadership skills and the ability to adapt or fit into a company’s culture.
Local Mentoring Programs:
100 Black Men of Sacramento mission is to engage in the mentoring of young African-American males. The organization sponsors group mentoring programs at high schools throughout the Sacramento area.
The Alpha Academy is a 4-hour workshop, held one Saturday a month that brings adult male professionals together with male high school and middle school students (12 through 18 years of age) to discuss decision making skills, motivation, academic performance, teen pregnancy prevention, career goals, and contemporary challenges. The Zeta Beta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., in partnership with Cosumnes River College, and the Greater Sacramento March of Dimes, coordinates the efforts for the Alpha Academy.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Sacramento Area is a youth mentoring organization, serving children, ages 8-18, primarily from single-parent families and families that, for a variety of reasons, face significant challenges that create barriers to successful child development.
Sierra Forever Families’ Wonder Mentor Program is the only mentoring program that provides mentoring to foster youth in Sacramento County. We match youth (Explorers) in foster care with one-on-one caring adults (Guides) who are committed to encouraging, engaging, and enriching their young lives. With a focus on fun, each mentor Guides his or her child through a year-long journey filled with excursions in music, the arts, sports, nature, volunteer services, and dining out. In many cases, these events are the child’s “firsts”, filled with adventure, excitement and self-discovery.
Target Excellence’s mission is to be the source of positive and proactive research-based educational programs for parents, teachers, and students. Target Excellence administers effective holistic after school programs, professional development and parent education programs.
Youth Connections Unlimited provides preventative and follow-up programs for, “at risk” and “high risk” young people. Youth Connections Unlimited works as a service provider to the Sacramento County Probation Department with a focus on re-entry mentoring and preventative programming with a commitment to the principles of Restorative Justice.
Best Practice Programs / Resources:
Youth Violence: Prevention Strategies
Youth violence prevention research continues to advance rapidly. Many prevention programs, strategies and tools have been evaluated, and found to be effective at preventing violence and related behaviors among youth. Such evidence-based programs have shown positive effects in rigorous evaluations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has compiled a list of resources and links to Youth Violence Prevention Strategies, including Effective and Promising Programs, Prevention Guidance and Planning Tools, and Other Resources.
- Youth Resilience – Internal, adaptive traits that evolve from youths’ positive or adverse life experiences, and that enable youth to survive and thrive:
- positive identity, positive self-concept
- sense of competence and self-efficacy
- sense of personal responsibility
- timely help-seeking
- belief in one’s ability to influence the environment positively
- healthy coping
- Social Connections
- Physically and emotionally safe, stable and supportive environments including equitable schools, communities and social institutions
- Healthy, supportive, caring relationships with family and other adults who provide positive advice; promote high expectations; and set developmentally appropriate limits, rules and monitoring
- Healthy, supportive, caring relationships with peers and intimate partners
- Opportunities for constructive engagement in family, school, community and social institutions
- Knowledge of Adolescent Development
- Youth and adults have accurate information about youth biopsychosocial and cognitive development, including the impact of trauma
- Youth and adults have accurate information about preventing negative outcomes for youth (e.g., substance abuse, pregnancy, suicide, gang involvement)
- Youth and adults recognize that all youth have strengths and capacities Concrete
- Support in Times of Need
- Opportunities for additional skill building (e.g., tutoring, counseling)
- Crisis assistance (e.g., mental health, substance abuse, intimate partner violence, health, housing, workforce development, legal, recreation, respite)
- Psychoeducational assistance (e.g., cognitive, behavioral and academic assessment and services)
- Cognitive and Social-Emotional Competence – Youth engage in behaviors that promote healthy biopsychosocial and cognitive development, including:
- exercising self-regulation and impulse control
- building critical thinking, planning, decision-making, conflict-resolution and communication skills
- displaying a sense of right and wrong
- understanding one’s personal developmental history and needs
- committing to realistic, productive goals, positive work habits, activities, values and beliefs
- experiencing positive emotions (e.g., joy, love, hope, optimism, trust, faith)
- demonstrating character strengths (e.g., respect, compassion, integrity)
- identifying productive interests and seeking to excel
- forming and sustaining healthy relationships
- engaging in positive risk-taking
- avoiding drugs, alcohol and risky sexual activity
- building essential life skills (e.g., financial management, self-care, home maintenance)
- deepening cultural knowledge
- exploring spirituality
- consuming nutritious foods and exercising within one’s physical means
Web of Support Framework
A web of support framework details the connections between relationships and supports in a young person’s life. A web of support refers to the network of relationships young people have with adults and peers across contexts in which supports are provided that help the young person advance in development. [View Document]
Example of Successful Youth Gun Violence Reduction Strategy
Office of Neighborhood Safety, Richmond California – The Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS) is responsible for building partnerships and strategies that produce sustained reductions in firearm assaults and related retaliations and deaths in Richmond and directing gun violence prevention and intervention initiatives that foster greater community well-being and public safety. ONS Street Outreach staff reach out to those most likely to be involved in gun violence, those most resistant to change and chronically unresponsive to help. Components of the Richmond Street Resource and Outreach Strategy include street and school outreach, violence interruption, public education, involvement from faith and community based leadership, community mobilization, and criminal justice participation, including Neighborhood Change Agents.
Neighborhood Change Agents themselves have past histories of creating municipal havoc, been involved in the drug trade, and/or have spent time in prison. Street/school outreach, high risk conflict mediation and retaliation prevention are perhaps the most vital daily tasks of the Neighborhood Change Agents work. The Neighborhood Change Agents have a client base and work on changing the behaviors and thinking of those in which their work is focused. They keep in touch with the community and concentrate on intervening in conflicts, preventing retaliation, brokering social services and steering individuals away from violence to more positive endeavors. NCA’s help to maintain peace and reduce homicides by leveraging their knowledge of the city to diffuse tensions, meeting with identified high-risk individuals (gang members), negotiating truces and discouraging violence when conflicts erupt.
- Changing the discourse about community violence: To prevent it, we have to talk about it, Published on Berkeley Media Studies Group (http://www.bmsg.org)
- Preventing Gang Violence and Building Communities Where Young People Thrive, National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education, and Families
- Developing a Successful Street Outreach Program: Recommendations and Lessons Learned, National Council on Crime and Delinquency
- Teen Action Toolkit, Building a Youth-Led Response to Teen Victimization, The National Center for Victims of Crime and US Dept. of Justice, Community Oriented Policing Services
- Youth Thrive: A Framework to Help Adolescents Overcome Trauma and Thrive, Browne, Charlyn Harper; Notkin Susan; Schneider-Munoz, Andrew; Zimmerman, Francie; Journal of Child and Youth Case Work, 2015
- Dismantling the Pipeline, Addressing the Needs of Young Women and Girls of Color Involved in Intervening Public Systems, Center for the Study of Social Policy