EASTERN & SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN
Community, Family and Youth Resilience
Life can be difficult for youth growing up in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean. Despite its beautiful beaches and relatively high levels of development, the Caribbean is situated at an ideal transit stop for traffickers moving drugs and weapons from northern South America to the U.S. and Europe.
While drug transit has abated in recent years, crime and violence has persisted. High youth unemployment and a lack of psychosocial support resources for youth have exacerbated the problem and contributed to a cycle of violence.
The Community, Family and Youth Resilience program will identify and work with families and their youth who are empirically at the highest risk of becoming involved in crime and violence.
The program—which is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development—assesses youth risk through the Youth Service Eligibility Tool (YSET), which measures risk across nine factors at a family, peer and individual level.
Youth will be matched with interventions based on their level of risk and these interventions will seek to increase protective factors or “resilience”. These initiatives include civic activities to build social and leadership skills, workshops to increase youth workforce readiness, community activities that promote positive youth-police contact, and campaigns to challenge those gender norms which contribute to an environment permissive of violence.
The program will also reach youth at higher levels of risk—those who are leaving the juvenile justice system—with targeted support to improve their chances of reintegration.
Based on evidence and proven success in Central America, including the USAID-funded Proponte Mas program, the Community, Families and Youth Resilience program aims to reduce rates of juvenile detention and build community safety and cohesion in the areas where it operates.
Creative is implementing the program in partnership with international and local organizations with expertise in evidence-based approaches to building the capacity of governments, communities, and local service providers to deliver prevention services to at-risk youth. These groups include the Pan American Development Foundation, the University of Southern California and YouthBuild International.
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Jenny Willier Murphy