Local leaders in Washington to develop youth violence plan - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Local leaders in Washington to develop youth violence plan

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Local leaders were in Washington, D.C. Wednesday to get instructions on setting up a Defending Childhood demonstration site in Shelby County.

Shelby County is among eight American cities and counties chosen to join the Department of Justice Defending Childhood initiative.

Shelby County Office of Early Childhood and Youth administrator Julie Coffey is one of five local leaders who met with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in Washington, D.C. Wednesday.

"To patch, repair and redevelop our system to be more responsive to children," said Coffey. "We had a very rich, substantive discussion."

As part of the initiative, Shelby County must come up with a strategic plan to protect children from violence.

"To form more of a safety net for children who have always fallen through the cracks," said Coffey. "Because you see it every day in our teen pregnancy rates, our infant mortality rates, our low graduation rate, our high domestic violence crime rate. We've been missing these kids."

The strategic plan is due May 1. Shelby County could become one of four locations to get full funding of $2 million to put the strategic plan into action over a three-year period.

"We're going to begin intentionally streamlining all efforts to deliver more varied, more substantive, culturally relevant trauma-focused services for all the folks we serve," said Coffey.

To visit the website for this program, click here. You can even download an "It it Good for Children Toolkit."

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