Mayor Cassie Franklin identified gangs and youth violence as a top public safety concern and issued a Mayoral Directive (PDF):
"Develop and implement a comprehensive gang reduction/youth violence initiative focusing on prevention and intervention of gang involvement among Everett's youth population."
To carry out this directive, a core-working group of City employees and community stakeholders were identified to meet and find solutions. The group determined that identifying at-risk individuals and quickly connecting them to services is critical to successful prevention and intervention of youth gang violence. The group wanted to utilize the many programs already in place but needed a framework to connect selected youth and families to providers who could help. The group also supported creating a community driven program that incentivized positive decision making and behavior.
The core-working group recommended a three-part approach:
- Resource Guide: Create a comprehensive list of the existing intervention and prevention services available within Snohomish County. The list will include all types of human services (public and private), provider information, and population groups designed for the services .
- PIVOT for Youth: Implement the Positive Intervention Outreach Team (PIVOT) for Youth. This new multi-disciplinary review team will identify individual youths, and their families, who are at high risk of youth and gang violence. The team would categorize specific needs, challenges, and opportunities before creating an action plan that identifies resources available.
- PAY Program: Develop and enact the Pathways for Adolescent Youth (PAY) program. PAY provides community role models and positive reinforcement for youth who are at high risk of youth and gang violence. The program will initially focus on Explorer Middle School with school staff and Everett Police School Resource Officers selecting participants. The program aims to support both the youth and their entire family, through positive mentorship and enrollment in the Strengthening Families program. An additional component seeks to incentivize good behavior and decisions of selected youth by offering "rewards", in the form of gift cards and recognition, for positive behavior as a healthy replacement for "rewards" and lure of the "gang-life".
These programs can be supported with donations from the community and local businesses.
POSITIVE INTERVENTION OUTREACH TEAM FOR YOUTH
PIVOT for Youth is a newly created multi-disciplinary youth violence prevention and intervention review team that identifies individual youth who are at high risk for youth and gang violence. The team will identify specific needs, challenges, and opportunities to help at-risk youth and their families. Action plans for the youth, and their family, will be created to help support the family and direct them to resources that currently exist within the community.
PIVOT provides a mechanism for existing agencies that often share overlapping goals, to collaborate and leverage resources for the best outcome for the individuals served. PIVOT review team members are multi-disciplinary and selected for their understanding of the complex issues involved, their field of discipline, and the agency they represent. Members work in collaboration to create action plans that integrate services of stakeholder agencies. PIVOT members include the following agencies:
- Child Protective Services
- Denney Juvenile Justice Center
- Everett Police Gang Unit Sergeant
- Everett Police Youth Services Sergeant
- Everett Public Schools
- Mukilteo School District
- Snohomish County Human Services
To be effective, stakeholders must provide services with the knowledge that each individual and family is highly specific in their needs. PIVOT review team requests will pull from many different service organizations to provide the appropriate service on a case-by-case basis. Stakeholders include, but are not limited to the following:
- Boys & Girls Club
- City of Everett
- Cocoon House
- Compass Mental Health
- Hand in Hand Kids
- Sea Mar Behavioral Health
- Volunteers of America
- Work Source of Snohomish County
PATHWAYS FOR ADOLESCENT YOUTH
PAY was created to surround participants and their families with positive role models, positive opportunities to get involved with the community, and reward positive behavior through incentives, which may include public recognition, unique training opportunities or gift cards to local businesses. Similar to PIVOT, PAY relies upon strong community partners willing to come together to support youth and families that have been identified as being at greater risk for youth gang involvement. Those partners include the following:
- Everett Police Department
- Explorer Middle School (Mukilteo School District)
- Boys and Girls Club of Snohomish County
- Cocoon House
Families who are identified and agree to participate in PAY will be enrolled in the nationally recognized Strengthening Families program which focuses on youth aged 10-14, and seeks to provide the family unit with information on building bridges, protecting against substance abuse, and dealing with stress and peer pressure. Families will also be assigned a mentor and given opportunities to volunteer or engage in other positive community activities.