City, County, hospitals and community organizations working together to end youth violence
New program intervenes in the lives of youth violence victims
Feb. 18, 2010 (MINNEAPOLIS) Minneapolis City leaders and community partners are launching an innovative strategy from the Citys "Blueprint for Action" plan to break the cycle of violence in the city. At a news conference held today at Hennepin County Medical Center, the City along with Hennepin County, HCMC and North Memorial Medical Center announced a new program called the Minneapolis Youth Violence Intervention Program (MY-VIP) – a hospital-based initiative designed to identify, address and intervene in the lives of youth violence victims who come to HCMC and NMMC. This new program is part of the City’s "Blueprint for Action" plan that works to address the root causes of violence and significantly reduce youth violence in Minneapolis.
"The Blueprint for Action plan is a nationally recognized approach that addresses the causes of, and significantly reduces youth violence," said Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. "By looking at youth violence as a public health issue, we’ve been able to engage and unite community leaders and organizations, including area hospitals, to work together around a broader vision of youth violence prevention."
"Government can’t eliminate violence from our community on its own," said City Council Member Cam Gordon, Youth Violence Prevention Steering Committee member, "We need the great work of so many people in the community who help us surround our youth and their families with support, opportunity and hope. Thanks to the cooperation of Hennepin County Medical Center, North Memorial Medical Center, and numerous stakeholders, we are headed in the right direction."
"Reducing youth violence requires a strategic, holistic and multi-faceted response," said City Council Member Don Samuels. "This new program is a unique and innovative way for the City and its partners to work together in reducing youth violence in Minneapolis. But we can’t stop here. We need to keep working on finding new and creative ways to educate children and their families on the importance of violence prevention."
How MY-VIP works
The Minneapolis Youth Violence Intervention Program went into effect on January 4, 2010. It is available to youth ages 8-24 who present themselves at HCMC and NMMC emergency departments with violence related injuries (gunshot wounds, stab wounds, beatings).
When a youth violence victim arrives, a hospital social worker or clinical psychologist is notified. Once the patient is stabilized, a mental health professional meets with the youth and/or parents and performs a detailed psychosocial assessment and explores issues related to safety concerns, retaliation risk, family support, peer group support, school/truancy, life skills (anger management/conflict resolution), mental health, chemical dependency, legal concerns and employment. Based upon this evaluation, the mental health professional makes appropriate referrals to community-based agencies that provide services to traumatized and/or troubled youth.
"Hospitals provide a unique and historically underutilized setting for risk factor detection and intervention with youth violence victims in our community," said Arthur Gonzalez, CEO of Hennepin County Medical Center. "The significant life disruption and physical suffering brought about by a violent injury provide a teachable moment when a youth is more likely to feel vulnerable and receptive to a positive message of change."
"While other programs like this exist in the U.S., this one is unique in the sense that that it has been created and implemented without any dedicated funding," said David Cress, President and CEO, North Memorial Medical Center, Co-chair Blueprint for Action. "The program is using existing resources - hospitals, social workers, and community-based agencies to work together to dedicate efforts and expertise to this new initiative."
To date, nearly 40 agencies in the metro area have agreed to offer their services in partnership with the MY-VIP program including the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, MADDADS, Youth Link, Urban Youth Conservation, Holding Forth the Word of Life Church, and Salaam Project.
About Blueprint for Action
In 2008, the City of Minneapolis launched "Blueprint for Action" with the following goals: connect every youth with a trusted adult; intervene at the first sign that youth are at risk for violence; restore youth who have gone down the wrong path; and, unlearn the culture of violence in our community.
Recent statistics indicate that the array of prevention programs is beginning to have an impact on violence reduction when coupled with increased law enforcement programs.
Since 2007, juvenile crime incidents have declined by 35 percent and 19 percent since 2008 in the fourth precinct which encompasses the four target neighborhoods in the Blueprint for Action. This is consistent with a decrease in juvenile crime reports citywide.
For more information about Blueprint for Action visit Youth Violence Prevention.
Published Feb. 18, 2010