Kids are having their say how to curb gun violence in Wilmington.
Youth involved in the criminal justice system were the focus of a CDC Advisory Council “listening session” this week.
The panel - tasked with developing recommendations based on the CDC’s report on gun violence in Wilmington – has been holding a series of these sessions to hear from community stakeholders.
Gwen Angalet – Senior Advisor for Academic Affairs at Nemours Health and Prevention Services – says the kids are calling for more sports and arts related programming, as well as opportunities for paid work experiences.
“We hear this from the young people themselves as well: the need for more programs focused on teenagers: the 13,14,15,16-year old, 17-year old," she said.
Angalet adds that programming currently available is geared toward younger kids, not teenagers.
Council members heard from youth from programs in the state’s Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services through the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Families, and from other youth living in neighborhoods with high levels of gun violence Tuesday.
Additionally, much of the council's work during June and July has centered around gathering – and analyzing – information and data from a survey sent out to 80 non-profits serving Wilmington youth.
Angalet says they’ve received surveys back from 50 groups, more than half focused on the higher need populations, kids living in impoverished neighborhoods or neighborhoods with high instances of reported violence.
Around twelve of those organizations will receive follow-up interviews.
“So we’re looking at those programs and taking a deeper dive to find out what they’re doing," she said. "One of the things we’re finding is there’s a lot of evidence-based practice that’s being used already.”
The council’s co-chair Dr. Henry Smith says the information and data will help inform a set of recommendations that he hopes is ready by November.