Gov. Pritzker Declares Gun Violence a Public Health Crisis

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

Joined by legislators, stakeholders, and community leaders, Governor JB Pritzker declared gun violence a public health crisis and announced support for a $250 million state investment over the next three years to implement the Reimagine Public Safety plan, a data-driven and community-based violence prevention initiative. The state will begin issuing Notices of Funding Opportunities for qualified organizations before the end of 2021 with a goal of enabling work to be well underway before the summer of 2022. The new resources draw from federal and State funding, including $50 million from the fiscal year 2022 state budget. The administration will work with members of the General Assembly on additional $100 million appropriations in the budgets for fiscal years 2023 and 2024, building on the state’s existing anti-violence investments. The Reimagine Public Safety Act (RPSA), sponsored by Senator Robert Peters and Representative Justin Slaughter, establishes the Office of Firearm Violence Prevention (OFPV) to focus on reducing firearm violence in communities with the highest rates of gun violence. The overall violence prevention approach includes four key elements:

High-risk youth intervention programs that have been proven to reduce involvement in the criminal or juvenile justice system, referrals of teens into therapeutic programs that address trauma recovery and other mental health services.  

Violence prevention services, including street-based violence interruption work, emotional or trauma related therapy, housing, employment, job training/placement, family engagement, and wrap-around support services.

Youth development programs, including after school and summer programming to increase school attendance and school performance, reduce criminal justice system involvement, and build social-emotional persistence and intelligence.

Trauma recovery services for young people, funded by Medicaid, designed and implemented by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, to address trauma recovery from chronic exposure to firearm violence. A team-based model of care will include case management and school support services, group and individual therapy, and evidence-based family systems interventions.

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