Justice Department Launching Inner-City Anti-Drug Program

By Ellen Flax — September 04, 1991 2 min read

The Justice Department is joining forces with two private foundations to create an $8-million, comprehensive anti-drug program for inner-city youths.

The three-year program, a joint project with the Ford Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts, will fund community-based programs for high-risk children ages 10 through 12 in up to five cities.

Each program is expected to provide education, recreation, counseling, and mentoring services to between 50 and 100 youths. Government and foundation officials hope that the successful programs can then be replicated in other cities.

The Justice Department’s bureau of juvenile assistance will provide up to $4 million for the Intervention Strategies for HighRisk Youth program. Ford will contribute $3 million and the Pew Trusts will donate $1 million.

The project will be operated by the Substance Abuse Strategy Initiative program, a part of New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

William J. Grinker, director of the s.A.s.x. program, said the initiative would focus on serving preadolescents who are already involved with drugs and who exhibit signs of truancy and other potentially delinquent and antisocial behaviors.

Seven sites--including Hartford, Memphis, Newark, N.J., Seattle, and Phoenix--will be asked to apply for planning grants within the next month, he said, and between two and five sites will win funding for full-scale, three- year projects by the beginning of next year.

The grants will be awarded to community organizations that will pull together services offered by schools, local social-service organizations, recreational facilities, mental-health providers, and law-enforcement agencies, Mr. Grinker said. The grants, which will range between $500,000 and $1 million a year per project, will serve low-income neighborhoods that have between 25,000 and 50,000 residents, he added.

The projects are expected to provide the youths with family counseling, recreational and tutoring programs, an intensive summer program similar to Outward Bound, and mentoring opportunities. The youths will also receive financial incentives, such as a $5 or $10 per week stipend for participation, and perhaps college scholarships.

Mr. Grinker said the program will serve children who are at high risk of becoming drug addicts, high-school dropouts, and delinquents.

“If we can identify them at this age and concentrate resources and give them positive influences, maybe we can turn them around,” he said.

A version of this article appeared in the September 04, 1991 edition of Education Week as Justice Department Launching Inner-City Anti-Drug Program