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11/13/09 03:45PM
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Preventing Youth Violence: New Strategies for Policy, Practice and Research

Groundbreaking researchers and pioneers in the field of youth violence prevention present at the 2009 Lipsitt-Duchin Lectures in Child and Youth Behavior and Development to be held at Brown …

Groundbreaking researchers and pioneers in the field of youth violence prevention present at the 2009 Lipsitt-Duchin Lectures in Child and Youth Behavior and Development to be held at Brown University

Highlights include strategies that work to prevent youth criminal behavior and make children, youth and their communities safer

Monday, November 16, 2009, Providence, RI – The 2009 Lewis P. and Edna Duchin Lipsitt Lecture in Child and Youth Behavior and Development is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Human Development at Brown University and Rhode Island KIDS COUNT and will be held on Monday, November 16, 2009 at 3:30 p.m., Brown University, MacMillan Hall, Starr Auditorium, 167 Thayer Street, Providence, RI. More than 200 people are expected to attend the lecture, including educators, youth, parents, direct service providers, police officers, state agencies, advocates, policymakers and community leaders.

The annual Lipsitt-Duchin Lecture is an opportunity to bring together researchers, community practitioners and policymakers to accelerate the use of evidence-based practice in the field. As part of this year’s lecture, leading researchers and pioneers in the field of youth violence prevention will stress the critical importance of using evidence-based policies and practices to reduce the prevalence of youth violent behavior in Rhode Island and nationally. “Our challenge as a state and as a nation is to ensure that every child and every youth is engaged in school, has a wide range of productive opportunities after school and in the summer, and has caring relationships with adults that can help them navigate the path to higher education and careers,” stated Elizabeth Burke Bryant, Executive Director of Rhode Island KIDS COUNT. “A basic foundation for healthy development is that children and youth are safe at home, at school and in their neighborhoods.”

Featured panelists are:

Teny Gross, Executive Director of the Institute for the Study & Practice of Nonviolence in Providence, Rhode Island. Under the leadership of Teny Gross, the Institute trains in nonviolence/conflict resolution widely in the state of Rhode Island, and is home to the Nonviolence Streetworkers Program in Providence. The work of the Institute has widely recognized for its effectiveness, including being selected as ‘best practice’ in combating gang violence by the U.S. Conference. “We know what works to end youth violence in our communities,” stated Mr. Gross. “For the sake of the survival of this democracy, I don’t see any alternative but to confront the issue of violence, youth violence in particular. For a country that has civil war rates of homicides, we have to become a lot more ambitious with the goal of cutting the homicide rate in half by 2019. It is a daunting challenge but one that can be achieved with the commitment of resources and a clear purpose.”

David M. Kennedy, Director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City and former Director of the Boston Gun Project. Kennedy directed the Boston Gun Project, a groundbreaking problem-solving policing exercise aimed at serious youth violence. Its chief intervention, Operation Ceasefire, was responsible for a more than 60% reduction in youth homicide victimization. Kennedy’s work has been celebrated in Newsweek and in The New Yorker.

Deborah Gorman-Smith, PhD, Senior Fellow at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago and Distinguished Research Fellow for the Coalition for Evidence Based. Dr. Gorman-Smith’s program of research, grounded in a public health perspective, is focused on advancing knowledge about development, risk and prevention of aggression and violence, with specific focus on minority youth living in poor urban settings. Dr. Gorman-Smith has been or currently is Principal or Co-Principal Investigator on several longitudinal risk and preventive intervention studies and has published extensively in areas related to youth violence. She is the Principal Investigator and Director of the Chicago Center for Youth Violence Prevention, one of 10 national Academic Centers of Excellence funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The three panelists will discuss the causes of youth criminal behavior and evidence-based strategies for preventing violence. Research shows that improving outcomes for youth requires strategies that protect youth against risk behaviors, increase engagement in school, provide opportunities that lead to hope for the future in terms of education and career paths, and encourage strong positive relationships with parents, family and other caring adults. According to the panelists, factors that place young people at risk for violent behavior include low engagement in school, lack of economic opportunities, exposure to violence and substance abuse at home or in the community, association with peers engaged in high-risk behavior, and family or community instability and disruption.

Elizabeth Burke Bryant, Executive Director of Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, said, “Violence affects all children and youth, not only those who are victims and perpetrators. Violence threatens the psychological, emotional and social well-being of individuals, families and communities. Prevention of community violence is essential to the well-being of our children and youth as well as a critical public health and safety issue.”

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Rhode Island KIDS COUNT is a statewide children’s policy organization that works to improve and ensure the economic well-being, health, safety, education and development of Rhode Island children.

The Center for the Study of Human Development, located at Brown University, is primarily focused on research and teaching related to child and adolescent development.

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