Update: SWYFS director discusses role in youth-violence plan

swyfssign.jpgEarlier today, we reported that West Seattle-based Southwest Youth and Family Services (headquartered just southeast of the Delridge Community Center) is tabbed for a big role in the new youth-violence-prevention initiative announced by the mayor. SWYFS director Steve Daschle was among the West Seattleites at today’s announcement (others included Southwest Community Center coordinator “Junior” Kitiona); we talked with him this afternoon in search of details about what this new role means to his agency:

“It’s going to be a fascinating process,” Daschle said. Right now, “details are somewhat sketchy,” but he adds “we’re very excited for this attention to this most-difficult challenge facing our community, and we’re excited to be part of it.”

Southwest Youth and Family Services actually has been working closely with at-risk youth for years, Daschle explains, particularly in more than a decade of involvement with the Seattle Team for Youth program (described here). One aspect of that program, he says, is “integrated case management,” and he’s expecting that to be included in the newly announced initiative, in which SWYFS is likely to be focusing on about 800 youths. “To my understanding, the new initiative will have a pretty robust case-management program … that will either morph into (Team for Youth) or some elements will be carried forward … I’ve been assured by the mayor’s office that case management is one of the elements that will go forward. It’s reassuring to me to know that the work we’ve done for many years won’t be ignored or pushed aside.”

What happens next: “We’ll be starting some meetings at the end of this month … to talk about what sort of coordinated community response to youth violence we want to develop in Southwest Seattle.” SWYFS, he says, will be “the convener of that process” — though among the previously mentioned “sketchy details” are “what the process will be, who will participate, how much money …” That last detail is likely to emerge when Mayor Nickels’ budget plan is unveiled this fall. Whatever it turns out to be, Daschle says it’s “exciting for those of us who’ve been in the trenches to know there’s going to be significant resources to address the problem. It’s an important step. … One of the things we’ve been talking about for years is making sure that all the resources available to families and youths are communicating, working together … it’s so much easier to do that when you have resources.”

By the way, this happens less than a week before an event that will figure significantly into SWYFS’ own resources — its annual breakfast fundraiser/auction is next Tuesday morning at Salty’s, starting at 7 am, keynoted by Daschle’s brother, former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle (read more about the event here).

2 Replies to "Update: SWYFS director discusses role in youth-violence plan"

  • Denny September 10, 2008 (7:47 pm)

    Congratulations to SWYFS staff & volunteers! They are a great organization with a solid record of helping underserved populations, especially youth, in Southwest Seattle.

  • Alcina September 11, 2008 (1:47 pm)

    I agree that SWYFS is a great organization. However, I wonder what will have to be cut in the Seattle budget to come up with this $9 or will it end up resulting in yet another special levy being put to the voters to get the funding for this project.

    The Seattle Times
    reported that, $3.5 million would be redirected from other City of Seattle programs but that “$5.5 milion would come from new funds. Nickels did not say where he would make reductions in the budget if the general fund shrinks in the next two years. Those will be outlined when he delivers his budget address Sept. 29.”

    Will be interesting to learn what the source for the “new funding” ends up being.

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