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Senate Appropriations Bill Eliminates Youth Violence Prevention Funds

The Senate Appropriations 2012 Budget, approved Wednesday, zeroed out $19.7 million in funding for the Center for Disease Control's Youth Violence Prevention activities, causing surprise and worry amongst advocates across the country.

Prevention Institute, one of the nation's leaders in the development and implementation of youth violence initiatives, is calling for the Senate to reinstate the funding immediately, saying the funding cuts are simply unacceptable.

"This cut will have a devastating impact on efforts to prevent violence across the country and compromise decades of work," explained Harvard School of Public Health's Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith, co-chair of Prevention Institute's CDC-funded Urban Networks to Increase Thriving Youth (UNITY) initiative. "Without funding and support, violence prevention interventions will default back to an emphasis on arrest and imprisonment. Our young people need opportunities, not arrests."

The federal funding supports Prevention Institute work in cities across the country, including Boston, Newark, Detroit, Cleveland, Louisville, New Orleans, St Louis, Chicago, Minneapolis, Houston, Denver, Tucson, San Diego, Oakland, Richmond (CA) and Seattle, to prevent violence through the UNITY initiative.

Instead of simply treating violence one arrest at a time, UNITY's CDC-supported public health approach engages youth to create new opportunities for participation, leadership and economic opportunity. Additionally, the initiative addresses barriers to peaceful streets and connected neighbors.