The Boston Police Department in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston created YouthConnect, formerly known as the Youth Service Providers Network. With focus on Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Roxbury, and the South End neighborhoods. YouthConnect currently places licensed clinical social workers in six (6) of our district stationhouses and three (3) specialized units (the Youth Violence Strike Force, the School Police Unit and the Domestic Violence Unit located at the Family Justice Center) to provide prevention, intervention and advocacy services to youth between the ages of 10-24 years and their families. Youth are referred directly from police officers and since its inception, YouthConnect has served over 17,000 youth and families.
YouthConnect’s objectives are for young people to exhibit fewer high-risk factors, take ownership of their decisions, engage with key community resources, be better equipped to make positive life choices, and be on track to a more hopeful future. Using our four-tier service model that includes individual or family therapy services, clinical case management and resource coordination, YouthConnect evaluates success based on the level of completion on the below objectives:
- Provide trauma-informed mental health and advocacy services to referred youth and families as deemed appropriate by YouthConnect social workers.
- Conduct safety planning with youth regarding victimization, perpetration, and retaliation.
- Build additional supports for young people to ensure a safety net of caring professional adults.
- Enhance family stability and supports.
- Coordinate services for families between varied social service agencies and juvenile justice providers to ensure that roles and responsibilities are clear, minimize duplication, make appropriate treatment strategies, and maintain cultural competency.
- Reduce high-risk behaviors that are associated with arrest and incarceration.
YouthConnect works to address the underlying problems and social issues that contribute to juvenile crime and delinquency by working with the entire family, not just the youth. YouthConnect works to maximize their efforts by aligning them with (and using them to inform) community-wide strategies. Across Boston, YouthConnect staff collaborate with other violence prevention programs and initiatives to ensure that young people receive the services and supports necessary to their success.
YouthConnect’s community-based mental health services are free, voluntary and confidential. For more information visit www.bgcb.org/youthconnect