AALV Awarded Grant to Reduce Racial Disparities in Burlington’s Youth Justice System

22 February 2017

The Vermont Department for Children and Families and the Children and Family Council for Prevention Programs recently awarded a grant to the Association for Africans Living in Vermont (AALV) for a project to reduce and prevent racial disparities in the youth justice system in Burlington, Vermont.

This multi-faceted, community-based project aims to reduce the disproportionate entry of youth of color into the justice system by:

  1. Expanding and improving culturally-responsive services and supports for young people and their families
  2. Working to build more culturally-responsive system changes

“Youth of color often have access to fewer resources than their peers,” said AALV Executive Director Yacouba Jacob Bogre. “We look forward to working with our partners to make sure supports for youth and their families are more culturally-responsive to the needs of people of color and especially new Americans. We all benefit from equity.”

The project will target several issues that contribute to minority youth being referred to both court and secure placement more often than expected for their population:

  • Translation services are not always used when needed, especially in emergency situations
  • New American families have often experienced trauma in their home countries, yet many have not received treatment
  • Families are often unsure how to parent their teens within new cultural standards

“Many of the minority youth referred to court are New Americans who face extra challenges,” said DCF Commissioner Ken Schatz. “They will benefit tremendously from having better access to supports and services that can help them abide by the law, succeed in school and stay with their families.”

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The Association of Africans Living in Vermont (AALV) is nonprofit, ethnic organization that provides services to all resettled refugees and other immigrants living in Vermont. These services include bilingual/bicultural case management, job placement, immigration legal services, health education programs, citizenship classes, in-person interpretation services, parenting classes, and domestic violence and sexual assault survivor services.

The Vermont Department for Children and Families delivers a wide array of programs and services to Vermonters in areas such as child care, child development, child protection, child support, disability determination, and economic benefits to help meet basic needs.

The Children and Family Council for Prevention Program is an advisory group to juvenile justice, delinquency and primary prevention issues. They are appointed by the governor and funded through the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention.