Sam was struggling in school and feeling unsafe among his peers. Recognizing the risk of Sam’s current situation, a caring teacher referred him to the Youth Leadership, Intervention & Change (LINC) program. Now, Sam has a team of supportive professionals helping him build healthy relationships, attend school regularly, and get counseling for trauma he experienced as a young child. He’s on his way to a strong future with the support and tools he needs to reach it.
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:
- Strengthening agency coordination to reduce youth gang involvement. CCYJ has brought together schools, law enforcement, policymakers, social service providers, and other organizations to collect uniform data and develop 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 providers, LINC is intervening with these young people and reengaging them in secondary education, connecting them to counselling and treatment services, employment opportunities, 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 currently facilitates three multidisciplinary teams serving seven King County school districts. In 2017, we expanded into Seattle ensuring LINC is available as a resource throughout King County.