Philadelphia — Today Department of Human Services (DHS) Commissioner Kimberly Ali, Council President Darrell Clarke, Councilmembers Katherine Gilmore Richardson, Kenyatta Johnson, and Curtis Jones Jr., and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw joined together to announce continued prevention efforts to serve Philadelphia youth. On July 29, 2021, DHS issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to establish three Community Evening Resource Centers (CERC). Designed to be safe spaces, the CERCs will provide site-based services to youth who are at risk, and who have come to the attention of the Philadelphia Police after a curfew violation. The CERCs are expected to open this fall.
“Providing prevention and diversion services to at-risk youth are the cornerstone of what we do at the Department of Human Services,” said Commissioner Ali. “Our core mission is to divert youth from the formal child welfare and juvenile justice systems.”
An extension of DHS’s array of delinquent diversionary services, the CERCs will provide structured activities. These activities will promote positive youth development with an emphasis on family engagement, conflict resolution, violence prevention, mentoring, and service linkages.
“Community Evening Resource Centers are another example of City Council and the Kenney Administration’s collaboration to address gun violence and to improve public safety,” said Councilmember Gilmore Richardson (At-Large). “By providing safe spaces with positive engagement, we will be investing in our young people and offering early intervention for youth and families in need. We will also be investing directly in communities by partnering with local organizations who have the cultural competency and experience to support young people who are most at risk.”
Three community-based providers will be selected to operate the CERCs in geographical areas that are aligned to the following Philadelphia Police Divisions: East (24th, 25th, and 26th police districts), Southwest (12th, 16th, 18th, and 19th), and South (1st, 3rd, and 17th).
Today, Mayor Kenney signed Councilmember Gilmore Richardson’s bill to reform the minor curfew law. It is effective immediately. Under the new bill, the curfew time for those 16 and over is midnight year-round. For minors 14-16, it’s 10:00 p.m.; and for youth under 13, 9:30 p.m. The bill also removes punitive fines associated with the violation of the curfews. Community non-profit providers are encouraged to respond to the RFP, which is live on eContract Philly. There is a mandatory virtual pre-proposal meeting on August 11, 2021 at 4 p.m. Applications are due August 26, 2021 at 5 p.m.
Council President Darrell L. Clarke
“Community Evening Resource Centers are a smart idea and way to make neighborhoods safer,” said Council President Darrell L. Clarke. “Working together, our human services professionals, Philadelphia police, and community leaders can get at-risk youth the kind of constructive support and services they need to move away from negative behaviors that could potentially harm themselves and their communities where they live. I want to commend Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson for her diligence and leadership on this important issue – part of Council’s overall Violence Prevention & Opportunity agenda in 2021.”
Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson
“I am working with the City’s Department of Human Services and my Council colleagues to open the new Community Evening Resource Centers throughout Philadelphia as quickly as possible,” said Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson (Second District), Chair of City Council’s Special Committee on Gun Violence Prevention. “I envision these locations to be citywide safe zones for children and a way to address youth safety as we deal with the gun violence impacting Philadelphia. It is critically important that everyone in City Government work to provide our children with safe places at all times and give them positive alternatives to avoid choosing a life on the streets and negative behavior.”
Councilmember Curtis Jones
“In a single parent household, Community Evening Resource Centers can provide safe zones, where youth can receive educational and social services as well as develop mentor protégé relationships,” said Councilmember Curtis Jones, Jr. (Fourth District), Chair of City Council’s Committee on Public Safety.
Commissioner Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw
“We support any and all efforts that help our youth learn from their mistakes while putting them on a path to success,” states Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw. “It is our sincere hope that the measures put forth in this bill will provide juveniles with an alternative to being on the street after curfew hours go into effect.”