Indiana leaders vote to recommend youth violence prevention efforts

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Indiana Public Media on 08/25/2022

Several local groups are working to interrupt the revolving door for Hoosier youth in the justice system. But in Indiana, there isn’t a statewide framework for youth violence prevention.

The state’s Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana wants to change that.

The commission is comprised of mostly elected and appointed government officials. The group’s violence subcommittee has spent about 18 months looking at more than 20 violence prevention programs and initiatives across the country to see if they could benefit youth in Indiana.

“What we really wanted to do was take a wide look at evidence based, evidence informed, promising practices on prevention and intervention programs,” said Steve Balko, director of school building safety for the Indiana Department of Education and a member of the subcommittee, at Wednesday’s commission meeting.

The committee chose three programs — Cure Violence, Credible Messenger Mentoring for Justice Involved Youth and Project BUILD — to present to the commission.  Balko said the programs look at prevention through different lenses.

“We chose three rather than just one, recognizing that not every community has the same resources, has the same needs, and is facing the same violence issues,” Balko said.