About the National Forum
The National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention is a network of communities and federal agencies that work together, share information and build local capacity to prevent and reduce youth violence. Established at the direction of President Obama in 2010, the Forum brings together people from diverse professions and perspectives to learn from each other about the crisis of youth and gang violence in the U.S and to build comprehensive solutions on the local and national levels.
Participating Federal agencies include the Departments of Justice, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, and the Office on National Drug Control Policy. The communities participating in the Forum include Boston, Camden, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Salinas, San Jose, Long Beach, Cleveland, Louisville, Seattle, and Baltimore.
Other participants include faith and community–based organizations, youth and family groups, and business and philanthropic leaders.
The Forum operates on three key principles:
- Multidisciplinary partnerships are key to tackling this complex issue – police, educators, public health and other service providers, faith and community leaders, parents, and kids, must all be at the table.
- Communities must balance and coordinate their prevention, intervention, enforcement and reentry strategies.
- Data and evidence- driven strategies must inform efforts to reduce youth violence in our country. These three principles are critical to directing and leveraging limited resources in order to make a long standing impact.
The Forum has three goals:
- Elevate youth and gang violence as an issue of national significance.
- Enhance the capacity of participating localities, as well as others across the country, to more effectively prevent youth and gang violence.
- Sustain progress and systems change through engagement, alignment, and assessment.
The Forum launched officially in October 2010, at a working session in Washington, DC. At the Session, teams from the cities of Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Salinas, CA, and San Jose, CA met with federal agencies and each other to share information and experience about what works in preventing youth and gang violence. Each city pledged to develop or enhance comprehensive plans to prevent youth and gang violence in their city, using multi-disciplinary partnerships, balanced approaches and data-driven strategies.
Since then, the comprehensive plans have been developed as pledged and currently being implemented. These plans aim to reduce violence, improve opportunities for youth, and encourage innovation at the local and federal levels. The Forum has brought participating cities together in Washington on a regular basis, holding two annual National Summits on Preventing Youth Violence, as well as annual working sessions, the third of which was held on December 10-11, 2012.
In fall 2012, the Forum added four new cities — Camden, Minneapolis, New Orleans, and Philadelphia — and added services so that any city interested in adopting the Forum’s comprehensive approach could do so. The Forum published a toolkit for those interested in creating comprehensive plans in their own communities, with additional training and technical assistance available for interested localities. The Forum also published a guide to engaging business and philanthropic partners in community-based violence prevention.
The Third Annual Summit on Preventing Youth Violence was held September 26–27, 2013, in Arlington, Virginia. The Summit brought together 375 Americans, from the nation’s highest law officer to school superintendents, to share their passion about child welfare. Representatives from the 10 Forum Cities, 13 Defending Childhood Initiative grantees, 15 Community-Based Violence Prevention program grantees, and 3 grantees from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Striving to Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere (STRYVE) initiative participated. Other participants included U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, White House officials, U.S. Attorneys, mayors, chiefs of police, public health commissioners, and school superintendents from across the country.
Learn more about the Forum by reading its Collaboration Profile, reviewing its Logic Model, and reading the results of the Forum’s independent assessment. Visit the Forum in the News to view media coverage about the Forum and participating communities.
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