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Pennsylvania Governor Schweiker Thanks Scranton Communities That Care for Outstanding Youth Violence-Prevention Efforts; CTCs Implemented in 127 Pennsylvania Communities in 58 Counties.

SCRANTON, Pa. -- Pa. Gov. Mark Schweiker tonight thanked community leaders, parents and children involved in the Scranton Communities That Care (CTC) for their outstanding efforts to reduce youth violence.

Communities That Care is a national violence-prevention process which has been implemented in 127 communities in 58 counties by the Governor's Community Partnership for Safe Children (Children's Partnership), created in 1995 by Gov. Tom Ridge and now chaired by First Lady Kathy Schweiker.

"Several years ago, Scranton CTC was one of the first grassroots organizations to join the Children's Partnership on a historic journey to change the lives of at risk children in Pennsylvania by implementing programs which have been proven to reduce youth violence in our communities," Gov. Schweiker said. "We count their successes by the testimony of the parents and children joining us tonight and the many opportunities they have been given for a brighter future."

Gov. Schweiker visited with the Scranton CTC at a reception on the fourth day of a five-day "Celebration of the New Pennsylvania" tour across the state.

Joining the Governor at the Lackawanna County Visitors Center were Wayne County District Attorney Mark Zimmer, who is a member of the Children's Partnership and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD); Charles Gray, director of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention at PCCD; John Nolavanko, director of Human Services for Lackawanna County and chair of the Family Council of the Scranton Area Family Center; Nicole DeWitt, a young mother involved in Scranton CTC's Nurse Family Partnership program; and Stephanie Hearne, a student involved in Scranton CTC's "Teen Outreachers" Program.

The Nurse Family Partnership is one of 11 nationally recognized "Blueprints for Violence Prevention" implemented in communities through the CTC process. To be considered a "blueprint," these programs have met very high scientific standards of program effectiveness. There are currently 21 Nurse Family Partnership sites in Pennsylvania.

The Nurse Family Partnership is an early prevention effort aimed at working with high-risk, first-time pregnant mothers. This program selects and trains nurses to work with new mothers during pregnancy on matters such as prenatal care, fetal development and healthy behaviors by mom. After the birth of the child, the nurse works to make certain all "well baby" visits are kept and provides guidance on child development and essential parenting skills.

Communities That Care engages and mobilizes entire communities around one common outcome: healthy development and behaviors of all of its children. It gives a framework for each unique community to tailor a prevention plan for risk factors facing their children, recognizing that risks in a community in central Pennsylvania may be different from the risks in a community in northeastern Pennsylvania.

CTC was developed by Dr. David Hawkins and Dr. Richard Catalano, social scientists at the University of Washington who, through 40 years of prevention research, identified 19 risk factors that, when present in the lives of children, can lead to violence and delinquency.

These risks include the availability of drugs and alcohol, family conflict, academic failure, economic deprivation, alienation, and peer pressure.

Using the Communities That Care process, the Children's Partnership works with communities to identify the particular risks that affect their children, and then to implement the strategies to reduce those risks.

As a result, thousands of children and their families are participating in programs that reduce youth violence including: substance abuse and anti- smoking education; after-school activities; bullying prevention; life-skills development; parenting education; and family counseling.

In addition to Communities that Care, the Children's Partnership also has supported several other initiatives during the Ridge and Schweiker administrations:
 -- Trained more than 4,700 physicians and health care practitioners to
 recognize and address child abuse. Over 1.7 million child abuse
 crisis cards have been distributed to health centers, sexual and
 domestic abuse centers/shelters, hospitals and community agencies;
 -- Created a curriculum that is being used in Pennsylvania universities
 and colleges to educate students about proven strategies that reduce
 -- Launched the "Cyber'rent: Safe Surfing for Kids" Internet safety
 campaign that seeks to educate parents about ways they can protect
 their children online. The campaign includes a 30-minute video,
 brochure and free seminars for parents that are taught by specially
 trained law-enforcement officers;
 -- Partnered with America's Promise to promote the use of research-based
 programs and strategies to support even more of Pennsylvania's at-
 risk youth populations. Thirteen joint sites across the state
 continue to combine resources in local planning efforts to promote
 the positive development of youth;
 -- Trained and certified 25 bullying-prevention specialists who, in
 turn, are training educators to teach bullying-prevention programs in
 schools throughout Pennsylvania; and
 -- Established several statewide media campaigns encouraging both
 parental involvement in children's lives and the importance of
 community members getting involved in youth violence prevention

In June 2001, the work of the Children's Partnership was codified with passage of Act 30, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention was created.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention carries out the recommendations of PCCD's Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee, which guides Pennsylvania's youth violence-prevention and juvenile- justice initiatives. Both the office and the committee work with communities and organizations to create programs that can keep young people from becoming involved in crime and violence, and help county juvenile-probation agencies and treatment centers carry out programs that can change the behavior of delinquent youth.

For more information about Gov. Schweiker's "Celebration of the New Pennsylvania" tour, visit the PA PowerPort at, PA Keyword: "New Pennsylvania."

CONTACT: Ginette Meluso of the Pennsylvania Office of the Governor, +1-717-579-8190 (cell); or Alison Delsite of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, +1-717-512-1241 (cell).

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CONTACT: Ginette Meluso of the Pennsylvania Office of the Governor, +1-717-579-8190 (cell); or Alison Delsite of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, +1-717-512-1241 (cell)

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Date:Nov 23, 2002
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