City helps launch innovative youth violence intervention program

Minneapolis City leaders and community partners are launching an innovative strategy from the City's "Blueprint for Action" plan to break the cycle of violence in the city. At a news conference held Thursday, Feb. 18 at the 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.

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.

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.

Published Feb 18, 2010