2010-01-21 / Local & State

FCP To Join Crime And Drug Prevention Effort

Local leaders to begin nationally recognized initiative

SPECIAL TO THE NEWS

Fulton County has been selected as one of eight new communities throughout the commonwealth of Pennsylvania to participate in the Communities That Care initiative, a nationally recognized science-based prevention planning process. The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, through its Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which has supported Communities That Care in Pennsylvania for more than a decade, made the announcement at a community kickoff event held on January 19 at the Fulton Theatre in Mc- Connellsburg

Based on 40 years of published research, Communities That Care is a proven-effective community prevention planning process designed to help communities support the healthy development of youths and reduce problem behaviors. It has been adopted by over 500 communities around the world and in published studies has been proven to effectively reduce youth problem behaviors, including substance abuse, delinquency and violence.

Communities That Care research shows that certain risk factors, including family conflict, community norms and school failure, increase the likelihood that a child will be involved in youth crime or drug use. Conversely, research has also demonstrated that certain positive influences, such as strong family and community values and clear standards, increase the likelihood that a child will grow up healthy and well adjusted. Communities That Care helps communities identify the particular risk and protective factors that influence their children, then select and implement effective programs and strategies to reduce risks and enhance positive outcomes. Evaluation research by Penn State University following nearly 100,000 youths over five years found communities using this approach had significantly lower rates of delinquency, and significantly better academic achievement.

In making the announcement at this week’s kickoff event, Mike Pennington, director of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention for the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, said “PCCD is excited about supporting eight new communities in implementing the Communities That Care model. CTC has been the foundation for research-based delinquency and violence prevention programming in Pennsylvania. In these difficult budget times, it is imperative to invest our dollars in effective strategies and programs that promote safer communities, produce positive outcomes for youths and families and yield a significant return on investment.”

Community leaders will immediately begin the intensive training and planning process. Local data will be collected and assessed that will lead to a long term strategic plan aimed at reducing youth problem behaviors and preventing them before they begin. Local leaders in education, law enforcement, human services, juvenile justice and others will be actively involved. Nationally certified training and ongoing technical assistance will be provided by the Evidencebased Prevention and Intervention Support Center.

The Fulton County Partnership will direct the program and oversee the grants funds. The initial grant application was completed through a collaborative effort with the Fulton County Center for Families and Fulton County Services for Children. Several key leaders from the community have already committed to supporting this initiative, including Jean Snyder and Stephanie Branche from Fulton County Services for Children, Elen Ott from the Fulton County Center for Families and Beth Bryant, juvenile probation officer. Julia Dovey of the Fulton County Partnership noted that “We are very excited to begin this initiative. We hope to make this a community collaborative effort by building on the strengths of some of our county’s existing programs.”

Fulton County Commissioner Bonnie Mellott-Keefer stated “The Fulton County commissioners are very happy that the Fulton Co. Partnership has been chosen to receive the Communities That Care Grant. The Partnership is a high-caliber organization, and the fact that this was a highly competitive grant indicates that PCCD recognizes the Partnership as a committed, quality organization.”

For more information about Fulton County’s Communities That Care initiative, please contact: Julia Dovey at the Fulton County Partnership 717-485- 0931, or visit the Web sites at www.pccd.state.pa.us or www.EPISCenter.psu.edu

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