In 2020 Philadelphia experienced significant civil unrest, particularly in the wake of the police involved shooting of West Philadelphia resident, Walter Wallace Jr. West and North Philadelphia are confronted with the highest rates of poverty, violent crime, homicides, and
adverse health outcomes, in the city. Therefore, Philadelphia ReCAST will target neighborhoods in West Philadelphia (Cobbs Creek, Mill Creek-Parkside, Paschall-Kingsessing) and North Philadelphia (Nicetown-Tioga, Sharswood-Stanton, and Strawberry Mansion). Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) oversees a comprehensive behavioral health system, where staff are co-located in the schools, family court, child welfare and health centers. Extensive co-location creates opportunities to connect with at-risk youth and families, leveraging these partnerships to address their needs.
The goals of Philadelphia ReCAST include: 1) Empower these two communities to work together to promote resilience and equity, improve behavioral health, and reduce trauma through a sustained community change process; and 2) Reduce trauma among high-risk youth and families in the six targeted neighborhoods through implementation of evidence-based violence prevention programs, community and positive youth development programs, and linkages to trauma-informed behavioral health services. Steps to accomplish these goals began during proposal development, done in partnership with behavioral health treatment providers, faith leaders, youth leaders, and community organizations predominantly from the African-American community. The strategic plan will be driven by the stakeholders from these communities and used as a road map for the life of the grant. We will use a participatory budgeting process to ensure our efforts meet community identified needs. The Philadelphia ReCAST project will expand evidenced-based violence prevention approaches and linkages to trauma informed behavioral health services, and create opportunities for our faith leaders and treatment providers of color to infuse our treatment system with practice based, culturally competent evidence. Philadelphia ReCAST will also expand culturally competent trauma informed behavioral health practices in schools and community youth programs through training in evidence-based practices designed for communities of color, such as PLAAY (Preventing Long Term Anger and Aggression in Youth). Creating true resilience in these communities also requires significant attention to youth support and leadership development. The Youth Advocacy Institute will
create a mechanism for Philadelphia ReCAST to build an Emerging Leaders Community that can be sustained beyond this funding. Our evaluation will ensure that community leaders and young adults have the tools they need to conduct evaluations without researchers driving the process. Philadelphia ReCAST will build the coalition through true government/community partnership by leveraging funding and skill development opportunities in order to support increased community resilience and improved outcomes for youth and families.