CeaseFire Outreach Workers Bridge the Gap Between High-Risk Youth and Services Agencies

Elena Quintana, University of Illinois at Chicago
Tim Metzger, University of Illinois at Chicago
Gary Slutkin, Chicago Proj. for Violence Preven, UICl

ABSTRACT
Objective: (1) Educate participants about paucity of and barriers to existing services for high-risk youth Chicago; (2) Discuss CeaseFire outreach workers role of briding the gap between high-risk youth and services.

Methods: (1) Conduct a needs assessment by contacting and interviewing all agencies that provide assistance to youth; (2) Survey high-risk youth, ages 15-24 years old, regarding services knowledge and utilization, and (3) Track CeaseFire outreach referrals and case notes to assess risk-level of and service agencies used by their high-risk clients.

Results: (1) Many agencies had waiting lists (30%), were far (3 miles) away (83%), and/or had acceptance criteria (43%); (2) CeaseFire outreach forms relationships with neighborhood agencies and high-risk youth. They vouch for youth and many experience positive changes return to school, gainful employment and decreased risk levels.

Conclusions: (1) CeaseFire outreach workers help youth access service agencies and reduce their risk level; (2) Outreach is integral to bridge disconnect between high-risk youth and community agencies.

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Updated 05/20/2006