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Local Cities Receive $1.5 Million for Gang Prevention, Intervention

The South Coast Task Force on Youth Gangs is pleased to report that the cities of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria and Lompoc have received $1.5 million in state grant funding for youth gang reduction, intervention and prevention activities.

The three cities will each receive $500,000 over two years for a total of $1.5 million from the California Board of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The South Coast Task Force on Youth Gangs is comprised of governmental, nonprofit and philanthropic social service agencies that work directly with at-risk youth. The task force meets regularly to develop and implement strategies to prevent gang violence and provide healthy alternatives to gang activities.

Task force members include the cities of Santa Barbara, Goleta and Lompoc, the Santa Barbara Unified School District, the Community Action Commission, UCSB, the Police Activities League, the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Santa Barbara County Probation and the District Attorney’s Office.

Over the past five years, the South Coast Task Force on Youth Gangs has been awarded nearly $2.8 million in state CalGRIP grant funds for strategies targeted to the needs of each city. While the programs funded will vary slightly in each community, each city is implementing a comprehensive strategy of intensive case management, support for becoming credit compliant and finishing school job search skills, on-the-job training, and substance abuse prevention and recovery for at-risk teens. The plans for each city’s use of the grant funds are attached.

“Receiving this grant is recognition for the unique regional partnership that we’ve created among government agencies, schools and social service providers," Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider said. "Social service agencies assisted 120 youth in Santa Barbara in 2012. We saw a 93 percent increase their school attendance, 79 percent report a reduction in drug and alcohol use, and 83 percent of eligible seniors graduate from high school. The grant funds will build on these successes.”

“The grant award will allow for the continuation of the cooperative work of the Carpinteria Unified School District, our law enforcement partners at the Sheriff’s Department and the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, which addresses important health and human service needs of Carpinteria youth and their families, and helps to reduce gang activity,” Carpinteria Mayor Brad Stein said.

Lompoc Mayor John Linn said: “We are very thankful for the Community Action Commission in partnering with our community in providing much needed services for young people in Lompoc.”

The grants require strategic plans and the use of evidence based practices. UCSB’s Department of Education has partnered with the Task Force to evaluate progress toward achieving grant outcomes.

City of Carpinteria

The Carpinteria GRIP project will address youth violence in the community and provide a comprehensive system of support services to youth and their families. Collaborating partners in this project include the Carpinteria Unified School District, the City of Carpinteria, county Alcohol, Drug & Mental Health Services, the Sheriff’s Department, the county Probation Department and the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.

The project will target an estimated 170 parents and 1,250 youth who are at-risk of gang involvement or already engaged in gang activity. Targeted risk factors include family involvement in a gang or other family risk factors, school failure and truancy, behavioral problems and lack of social/emotional support, delinquency, and drug and alcohol use. The project staffing includes 11 staff from Carpinteria Unified School District — two counselors, five principals, four after-school staff and 16 staff (8.0 FTE) from the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.

The project is consistent with the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention’s Comprehensive Gang Model in that it is an integrated approach that includes prevention and secondary prevention, intervention and suppression. The overall goal of the project is to increase the resiliency of at-risk youth targeted for project services, as measured by changes in their attitudes toward gang involvement, alcohol, drugs, delinquency, and increased social/emotional protective factors.

The project will work closely with Sheriff and Probation officers to support their suppression efforts and to utilize their knowledge of local gang members/families and to identify youth who would benefit from GRIP project services. The efforts of the Carpinteria CalGRIP project will be coordinated with those of the South Coast Task Force on Youth Gangs, which addresses gang issues throughout South Santa Barbara County.

Services to Carpinteria youth and families under this present CalGRIP contract will begin on Jan. 1.

City of Santa Barbara

The City of Santa Barbara’s grant will provide services through the Community Action Commission. The project will consist of a comprehensive strategy of intensive case management, education, paid job internships and substance abuse prevention and treatment.

Those served will be 120 young men and women ages 14 to 18 who have been involved in the juvenile justice system or are at risk of involvement. Case managers will provide both the evidence-based Project Toward No Drug Abuse 12-week substance abuse curriculum and the CAC Los Compadres program 10-week curricula El Joven Noble (for young men) and Claridad (for young women), both of which promote healthy decision making and alternatives to violence and gangs.

Eighteen youths will be provided with paid internships working with the City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department Apprenticeship Program. Identified youth will be also able to participate in the Santa Barbara School District’s Restorative Justice Program during the second year of the project.

City of Lompoc

The South Coast is not the only area of Santa Barbara County to receive a CalGRIP grant award. An award of $500,000 over two years has also been received by the City of Lompoc.

The Lompoc Police Department will work through the Community Action Commission to provide the Lompoc Youth Corps program, a comprehensive strategy of intensive case management, job search skills, on-the-job training, support for finishing school, and substance abuse prevention and recovery. The project will serve 50 young men and women ages 15 to 19 who have been involved in the juvenile justice system or are at risk of involvement.

— Saul Serrano represents the South Coast Task Force on Youth Gangs.

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