Coordinating Council on Gang Prevention Charter


This charter has been developed to promote a common understanding of the purpose and goals of the Gang Prevention Council, describe the boundaries of the work to be done and provide a tool for communicating with others about the effort.

Background:

At its meeting on January 26, 2004, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors directed the County Executive to develop and present a proposal to the Board for a cross-agency effort to enhance the coordination of activities regarding gangs and to involve the Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) system as well as community-based organizations, including the Fairfax Partnership for Youth. The Board of Supervisors also directed the inclusion of community coalitions connected to high schools and their feeder schools as well as representatives from regional shopping malls or centers.

The prevention of gang involvement by youth is an important developmental issue, along with other issues such as substance abuse and violence prevention that youth face today. Increasingly, these developmental issues are not mutually exclusive but are found intertwined in the lives of today’s youth. Utilizing a collaborative approach to identify and share both resources and expertise, the County endeavors to educate community leaders and the community at large. This will enhance Fairfax County’s ability to systemically address youth developmental issues and coordinate strategies that increase positive behavior and reduce risk factors.

Fairfax County has been proactive in supporting youth after-school activities and dealing with gang-related issues. There is collaboration among County agencies, and relationships are being created with community-based partners. Until now, there has been no coordinated oversight of these efforts. A coordinated approach has many benefits, including the identification of areas of need, trend identification and analysis, resource sharing, and the capability to more accurately measure success. This approach also enhances the ability to educate and engage the residents of Fairfax County about gang-related issues, including the resources that are available for gang prevention and how they can become involved in their community to prevent and eliminate gang activity.

On July 12, 2004, the Board of Supervisors established the Gang Prevention Council, chaired by the County Executive and led by a steering committee. This measure also funded the creation of a Resource Coordinator for Gang Prevention position, which is housed in the Police Department and reports directly to the County Executive.

Successful gang prevention and elimination requires public, private and community involvement and collaboration. The Council will be responsible for the coordination and oversight of the County’s preventative and community education efforts to combat the presence and proliferation of gangs.

Purpose and Benefits:

The purpose for convening the Fairfax County Gang Prevention Council (Council) is to bring together public officials and community leaders to advise the Board of Supervisors on a range of gang prevention policy, legislative and program issues and guide the development of a coordinated and collaborative community-based response to the prevention of gang involvement in Fairfax County.

Function and Scope of Responsibility:

Coordinating Council

  • Advise the Board of Supervisors on a range of policy, legislative, and program issues related to the prevention of youth gang involvement
  • Develop a shared vision, mission and goals for a collaborated and coordinated response to youth gang involvement
  • Evaluate and monitor the efficacy of County, School and community-based gang prevention services
  • Promote a clear understanding of current gang laws, resources and issues
  • Engage the community in a collective response to the prevention and intervention of youth gang involvement
  • Develop a strategic plan that focuses on the core issues of gang involvement
  • Actively participate in gang prevention activities at the regional, metropolitan and state levels and ensure that the Council’s efforts are well coordinated with these other initiatives
  • Develop multi-system and collaborative strategies to improve legal and programmatic responses to gang prevention in a consistent manner, including standardization of data collection and sharing
  • Identify additional resources (e.g. Federal and foundation grants, individual and corporate contributions) available to support the work and recommendations put forth by the Council

Steering Committee
The role of the Steering Committee is to provide support and make decisions for planning and implementing the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention model for gang prevention. To insure continuity and commitment to the process, Steering Committee members are asked to attend scheduled meetings rather than to send a representative. If a designee is sent, the representing member is expected to have full authority to speak for the organization he or she represents, including authority to make decisions as part of the group. Members will provide support for the Council by committing staff as requested and relevant information, data, and other resources as agreed upon in the planning process. The specific responsibilities of the Steering Committee are to:

  • Identify key areas of focus for the Resource Team
  • Provide information, documentation and other assistance as necessary
  • Review and make decisions on the recommendations of the Resource Team or the Council
  • Receive reports on gang-related initiatives at the regional, metropolitan and state levels and make recommendations for joint activities
  • Ensure that a regional perspective is included

Resource Team
Working collaboratively, a cross-organization Resource Team will develop an overview of the current status of the gang problem and existing programs in Fairfax County. The team will identify gaps and overlaps in the current delivery of service to at risk youth and their families. These results will be reviewed by the Steering Committee and the Council, which is comprised of major stakeholders in the effort.

Staff designated to participate in the Resource Team will participate in scheduled meetings, contribute to the group discussions, communicate with the Steering Committee on interim decisions, and complete research and data collection tasks as agreed upon in meetings. If a Resource Team member is unable to attend a meeting, he or she will notify the meeting facilitator. Responsibilities of the Resource Team are to:

  • Research and document the current status of programs and trends involving gangs and at risk youth
  • Define criteria for identification of target population
  • Develop methods of assessing progress in the target population
  • Develop a range of approaches to enhance prevention efforts
  • Assess costs associated with implementation of programs
  • Identify existing resources needed to implement each program

Advisors and Key Informants:
On an as-needed basis, the Steering Committee and Resource Team members may consult with individuals or organizations with specific knowledge or expertise to inform and shape the outcomes of the effort. Key informants may be invited to attend meetings focused on particular issues to provide input in the process.

Check-In Groups:
Input to the options generated during this effort will be gathered from both existing groups and groups convened especially for this purpose. Check-Ins with members of the community who have been involved in gangs and/or their family members will be included in this effort. Other Check–In Groups will be convened on as needed basis, dependent upon the options generated.

Media:
Representatives from news media organizations have expressed a great deal of interest in the process of developing a gang prevention model for Fairfax County. Interviews and opportunities for publicizing the Council’s efforts will be arranged in coordination with the Office of Public Affairs at various times during the planning and implementation phases of the effort.

Guidelines for Group Process:

As outlined above, the Council will be supported by a Steering Committee, Resource Team, Check-In Groups, and a number of Advisors and Key Informants.Principal staff support will be provided by the County Executive’s Office through the Resource Coordinator for Gang Prevention. In addition, staff from various County and community agencies will also provide support in coordination with the Police Department and the County Executive’s Office. To enhance the effectiveness of this collaborative effort, participants agree to:

  • Recognize each other as equal contributors to the process
  • Demonstrate mutual respect for each other
  • Foster open and honest sharing of issues, information and concerns
  • Participate actively to achieve consensus in decision-making, so that every member can support team decisions

Council Deliverables:

  • Conduct assessment of gang activity, resources, services, community engagement, prevention and intervention initiatives
  • Implement an ongoing assessment of gang prevention programs, services and resources
  • Identify and address barriers that impede the development of a coordinated response throughout the region and the metropolitan area to the prevention of gang involvement and work to reduce or eliminate those barriers
  • Develop and implement a set of both process and outcome measures that support the operation and evaluation of gang prevention, intervention and enforcement efforts
  • Support the standardization and sharing of the gang prevention process and outcome information
  • Identify external resources and funding to support the development of a coordinated response to gang prevention
  • Report findings and make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors
  • Ensure coordination with County-wide initiatives such as domestic violence prevention and neighborhood-based initiatives

Projected Long Term Outcomes:

  • Reduced spread and growth of gangs in Fairfax County and the region
  • Reduced rate of criminal recidivism among target population
  • Improved access to programs for target population
  • Improved cross-system relationships for better systemic response to target population

Composition of the Coordinating Council on Gang Prevention:

  • County Executive
  • Deputy County Executives
  • Fairfax County Police Chief
  • Superintendent, Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Deputy School Superintendents
  • Sheriff
  • County Attorney
  • Commonwealth’s Attorney
  • Representative from Fairfax Partnership for Youth
  • Director, Department of Community and Recreation Services
  • Director, Department of Systems Management for Human Services
  • Director, Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
  • Director, Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board
  • Director, Department of Health
  • Director, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court
  • Director, Department of Family Services
  • Prevention Leadership Committee Chair
  • Resource Coordinator for Gang Prevention
  • Neighborhood and Community Building Coordinator
  • Rickie Harris, Training Coordinator for Program Development at Northern Virginia Community College
  • Safe and Drug Free Office
  • School Community Coalitions – McLean and Jeb Stuart
  • Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce
  • George Mason University
  • Northern Virginia Community College
  • Cox Communications
  • Barrios Unidos
  • Korean Community Service Center
  • Boat People S.O.S.
  • Former Gang Members
  • Faith Community
  • Center for Multicultural Human Services
  • Reston Interfaith, Inc.
  • United Community Ministries
  • FCPS – Bryant AHS, Mountain View AHS and Pimmit Hills AHS
  • Fairfax County Athletic Council
  • Town of Vienna
  • Town of Herndon
  • Town of Clifton
  • City of Fairfax
  • City of Falls Church
  • Regional Shopping Malls
  • Inova Health System
  • Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Fairfax County Park Authority
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
  • Workforce Investment Board
  • Workforce Investment Board – Youth Committee
  • Fire and Rescue Department
  • TRIAD Program
  • Neighborhood Watch – Mt. Vernon, Mason, McLean, Reston, West Springfield, Sully, Fair Oaks and Franconia
  • Northern Virginia Gang Task Force
  • Hispanic Committee of Virginia
  • Girl Scouts Council of the Nation’s Capitol
  • Boy Scouts of America, National Council
  • Fairfax County Council of PTA’s
  • Federation of Civic Association
  • Fairfax Four-H Club
  • Regional GRIT Coordinators
  • Gum Springs Community Center Advisory Council

Composition of the Steering Committee:

  • County Executive
  • Deputy County Executives
  • Fairfax County Police Chief
  • Superintendent, Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Deputy School Superintendents
  • Sheriff
  • County Attorney
  • Commonwealth’s Attorney
  • Representative from Fairfax Partnership for Youth
  • Director, Department of Community and Recreation Services
  • Director, Department of Systems Management for Human Services
  • Director, Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
  • Director, Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board
  • Director, Department of Health
  • Director, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court
  • Director, Department of Family Services
  • Prevention Leadership Committee Chair
  • Resource Coordinator for Gang Prevention
  • Neighborhood and Community Building Coordinator
  • Rickie Harris, Training Coordinator for Program Development at Northern Virginia Community College

Composition of the Resource Team:

  • Captain Amy Lubas, Coordinator, Gang Prevention Council
  • David Ellis, Office of the County Executive
  • Major Jim Whitley, Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office
  • Dr. Laurie Beth Dopkins, Professor, George Mason University
  • Rebecca Welsch, Research Assistant, George Mason University
  • Dr. Mark Emery, Coordinator, After School Programs (FCPS)
  • Robert Bermingham, Unit Director, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, Center County Probation Services
  • Sandy Graumann, Assistant Director of Patient Care Services, Health Department
  • Mike Rome, Public Health Nurse, Health Department
  • Evan Braff, Division Supervisor, Department of Community and Recreation Services

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