We want to tell you about the milestones that Zero Youth Detention reached in 2021.

A few top moments of 2021 (left to right): Press conference addressing gun violence in King County. Gun lock box giveaway at Rainer Beach High School. ZYD Program Manager Derrick Wheeler-Smith speaking to the media about the gun violence epidemic that impacts Black and Brown youth. Regional Peacekeepers during a training. A youth at a community feed held by one of organization we support, Alive & Free. Launch of Regional Peacekeepers King County and first gun lock box giveaway.

The White House selected King County as the only county among 15 jurisdictions to participate in a collaborative effort to reduce gun violence across the nation. From now until June 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration will convene meetings with officials from these communities, facilitate peer-to-peer learning, and provide technical assistance. This effort will support proven strategies and create new approaches that reduce gun violence while strengthening community-based infrastructure to enhance public safety for children, families, and communities, and to advance equity.

President Biden signing the American Rescue Plan. This law is funding organizations that are helping preventing gun violence.

We launched a proven school-based Behavioral Health Responder model at Rainier Beach High School and Mercer Middle School. The goal of this model is to identify students’ behavioral health needs and increase all youth’s connection to appropriate services. In October, we partnered with the Boys & Girls Club Southeast and SeaMar who have been able to provide care to 103 youth in the region

How school-based Behavioral Health Centers have helped youth in the program.

We convened 51 leaders in King County including: elected officials, faith-based directors, philanthropic organizations, and C-suite executives to build and leverage political-will, identify, implement, and sustain both immediate and long-term solutions that address community violence. 

Youth from Community Passageways during an interview talking about how gun violence has killed members of their family.

We held a community townhall meeting and centered those most impacted by gun violence. These individuals’ voices were leveraged as sources of wisdom to inform solutions in the regional approach to Gun Violence, Community Safety and Wellbeing planning process.

We launched a partnership with Harborview Medical Center that advances a comprehensive model of care that addresses the intersectional nature of trauma, social determinants of health, and violence. We are funding a hospital-based Violence Intervention & Prevention Specialist to work with people ages 16-24 who are victims of gun violence. This position works with community-based service providers to connect youth, eligible younger siblings and families to community-based support violence prevention, intervention and restoration services and care. 

Medical personnel from Harborview walking next to the emergency room in downtown Seattle.

On June 4th, the Regional Peacekeepers Collective (RPKC)launched to coincide with National Gun Violence Awareness Day. The collective includes seven community-based organizations including Harborview Medical Center that provides violence interruption, intensive engagement, referral services and wrap-around care for youth and families most impacted by gun violence. 

RPKC ensured over 100 hours of expert training to support implementation of a comprehensive service model that includes community-led violence intervention, prevention, and restoration services. This training built organizational capacity for service providers responding to incidents of gun violence and providing follow up care for young people experiencing crisis related to gun violence. 

Regional Peacekeepers King County showing solidarity during a training.

Also in June, we started a workgroup planning process with community members and system partners. The committee began conceptualizing long and short-term recommendations for five key areas: education, health and human services, community-led safety, workforce development and juvenile justice. These recommendations were created to decrease violence while increasing positive outcomes for young people in King County and will be released next fall.

We collaborated with Urban League and Safe Futures Youth Center and created community support for youth who are under Electronic Home Monitoring (EHM).

Electronic Home Monitoring collaboration with Urban League and Safe Futures Youth Center