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County of Santa Clara Approves Funding Safe Summer Activities for at-Risk Youth and Their Families

Thousands of Santa Clara County Youngsters to Benefit
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF – The County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors has approved agreements on funding pro-social summer activities for youth at-risk of engaging with the Juvenile Justice System. Santa Clara County Probation Department will provide a total of $216,336 from the Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act Grant as part of its Violence Reduction Program.
 
“A popular proverb says that ‘idleness is the mother of all vices,’ because it is easier to get into trouble when you  have plenty of time on your hands and nothing to do,” said Supervisor George Shirakawa, President County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisor and Chair of the Board’s Public Safety and Justice Committee. 
“The County is very supportive of efforts geared to at-risk youngsters and their families to engage them in legal and constructive activities that will keep them safe and productive during their free time.”
 
The Probation Department contacted police departments in cities throughout the County, which are actively involved in a gang task force.  The City of Santa Clara Parks and Recreation Department, the City of Gilroy Recreation Department and the City of Mountain View Police Department are on board to support Safe Summer Activities for youth.  Agreements with the cities of San Jose, Sunnyvale and Milpitas are pending.  The amount of funding provided to each city is based on their population of youth under 18 years of age as reported by the United States Census Bureau regarding the 2010 Census.
 
“The commitment of the cities that applied for these funds to foster a positive, safe environment for low income kids impacted by gangs is commendable,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Mike Wasserman, Vice Chair of the Board’s Public Safety and Justice Committee.  “We are pleased to help them enhance their efforts within their own communities to promote positive behavior.”  
 
The eligible cities for this grant are providing recreational and/or educational opportunities for youth under 18 years in age from July 15 through October 21, 2012.  Activities to occupy a youths’ time productively are intended to reduce recidivism. These pro-social activities can range from playing basketball at a community center, to providing field trips to points of interest in the bay area while teaching youth how to make positive recreational choices and function as part of a group.
 
“Many parents worry about the unsupervised free time their children have during the summer, and the afternoons that follow when school starts, especially for kids exposed to or with a history of illegal activities,” said Santa Clara County Chief Probation Officer Sheila Mitchell. “We are pleased to support children at risk with alternatives to help them break cycles of violence.”
 
“These funds will strengthen the South County Youth Task Force efforts to address the impact of gangs on South County youth, their families and communities,” said Gilroy Chief of Police, Denise J. Turner.  “We are grateful for the opportunities to reduce juvenile delinquent behaviors and the violence associated with youth gangs with safe recreation and enrichment programs and activities in low income neighborhoods impacted by gangs.” 
 
 
BACKGROUND
 
On May 22, 2012 (Item 67), the Board of Supervisors (BOS) authorized the creation of the Violence Reduction Program through Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act Funding provided by the Corrections Standards Authority, now called the Board of State & Community Corrections.
 
The Violence Reduction Program provides services to youth in the community in an effort to reduce gang related violence and provide youth with more pro-social activities. One of the key priorities of the Violence Reduction Program is to ensure youth have constructive activities during the summer. The Probation Department sent a letter to all the Police Chiefs in the County to ask if they wished to participate in receiving funds to provide summer activities for the youth. All cities that were participating in a local gang task force were eligible to apply. The Probation Department received six responses. Remaining agreements will be brought to the Board of Supervisors at a future meeting date.
 
Funding from the Violence Reduction Program comes from the Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act grant that is incorporated within the Probation Department’s FY 2013 Approved Budget.
 
Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Marina Hinestrosa, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119; Laura Garnette, Probation Department (408) 278-5900
Posted: August 22, 2012