Violence is a symptom of underlying community issues, particularly in the case of youth. This is where Evanston needs to start.
Establish a task force to address disparities in outcomes for at-risk youth
- We need to look to the data that identifies the inequities in family and income stability, education and within the justice department to better shape and fund outreach efforts for youth at risk of violent and delinquent behavior.
Empower Family Stability
- More than 17% of Evanston’s households are single-mother families living below the poverty level without a present father.
- We know that children, especially boys, who grow up in a fatherless household are more likely to drop out of school and end up in prison.
- We must prioritize reengaging noncustodial fathers in their childrens’ lives to be involved and committed parents by providing community father-child recreation programs, incorporating parental training to fathers on probation and through broader employment opportunities that allow fathers with criminal records transition back into the mainstream job market so they can contribute economically to their children.
Expand Opportunities for Early Work Experience
- Increase our youth job programs, as well as volunteer, service and apprenticeship opportunities for teens and young adults
- Encourage youth civic engagement with programs like the Youth Council
Connect Community & Developmental Supports
- Better coordinate with our schools to identify at-risk students and respond with early interventions and the appropriate supports.
- Broaden access to youth activities and mentor networks to counter the social and economic pressures that lead to violent and delinquent behavior.
- Partner with outreach workers, the school district, police department, the department of juvenile services, community groups, faith institutions, service providers, and parents who can be responsive to youth needs.
Advocate for Support & Rehabilitation
- Push the state to restore funding to youth prevention and incarceration-alternative programs like Redeploy Illinois and the Comprehensive Community-Based Youth Programs.
- Develop protocol for city police when dealing with minors that requires intervention from outreach workers properly equipped to support and rehabilitate at-risk youth as alternatives to charges and incarceration.