Sam was recently suspended from school for bringing weapons to school and wearing gang colors. A school counsellor has talked with him about conflicts with his peers and concerns from his parents of running from home and missing school. Recognizing the risk of Sam’s current situation, the counsellor referred him to the Youth Leadership, Intervention & Change (LINC) program. Now, Sam has a team of supportive professionals helping him build healthy relationships and distance himself from gang involved peers, attends school regularly, and engages in counselling to get support for the trauma he has experienced. With this support, he sees a different path he can follow to be successful and safe.
For many young people, disengagement from school and a lack of connection to family and friends creates a gap that can easily be filled by gang or unhealthy group activity, and sometimes violence. Gangs and similar, but more informal, groups are a dangerous haven for youth, taking the place of family, school, and other opportunities. King County is confronting a growing crisis—5,000 youth and young adults in King County belong to nearly 90 different gangs. For these young people, it’s not just their futures at risk, it’s their lives.
What We’re Doing:
- LINC Program Outcomes Aug. – Dec. 2020
- Strengthening agency coordination to reduce youth gang involvement. CCYJ brings together schools, law enforcement, policymakers, social service providers, and other organizations to form a Steering Committee that informs policy changes that impact gang/group involved youth, collects data, and develops an innovative, coordinated approach to address gang/group-involvement countywide.
- Connecting gang/group-involved youth and young adults to needed support. Through a coordinated team of service providers, LINC is intervening with young people and reengaging them in secondary education; connecting them to counselling, treatment services, and employment opportunities; and reducing gang/group involvement by engaging them in mentorship and pro-social programs and other services they need to succeed. The multidisciplinary team model helps youth and young adults set and reach their educational, employment, and pro-social goals. CCYJ facilitates three multidisciplinary teams serving South Seattle and six South King County school districts:
- Highline School District
- Federal Way
- LINC Team Intervention Manual
- Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s National Gang Violence Awareness Week 2019: LINC in Focus View PDF
- LINC 2018 Community Assessment Update: Presentation | Full Document