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                                 MEETING MINUTES
                                   JUNE 20, 2008

                                 COLLEGE PARK, MD

Task Force Members present:
Delegate Ana Sol Gutiérrez – Task Force Co-Chair
Delegate Doyle Niemann - Task Force Co-Chair
Anthony Thompson - MASSP
Audrey Bennett – Northwest Baltimore YSB
Carmen Brown – DHR/OLM
Albert Zachik – DHMH/MHA
Darryl Norwood – Montgomery County Schools
Delores Briones – GOC
Reginald Garnett – DJS
Candace Kattar – Identity

Others present:
Roger Murphy – MSDE
Kim Bones – DJS
Myrna Adejoh – DJS
Peggy Higgins – College Park Youth and Family Services
Suzanne Potts – DLS
Sarah Reimer – GOC
Kiaisha Barber
Betty Bui
Doug Adgerson
Jonelle Agurs
Rich Moody – PGCPS
Luis Cardona – Montgomery County DHHS, Youth Violence Prevention Program

Staff present:
Lauren Gordon – DJS

The Delinquency Prevention and Diversion Task Force meeting was called to order by Delegate
Gutiérrez. Welcome and introductions were given by Task Force Co-Chair Delegate Gutiérrez.
Peggy Higgins, the director of the College Park Youth and Family Services and host for the day,
gave a brief overview of the College Park Youth and Family Services. It is one of 18 Youth Service
Bureaus in Maryland that provide core services to youth and families. The College Park Youth and
Family Services Bureau has particular experience providing services to teens and younger children.

Delegate Gutiérrez gave an overview of the Task Force and the purpose of today’s meeting.
Youth from several community organizations: Identity, Youth Violence Prevention Program,
Northwest Baltimore YSB, and the College Park Youth and Family Services, along with the
directors of these organizations began a discussion of the youth’s experiences in the community

                                  MEETING MINUTES
                                    JUNE 20, 2008

based programs. Delegate Gutiérrez framed the discussion for the meeting by asking the youth the
following questions:
       1. What has been your experience with police and intake officers?
       2. What brought you to the attention of these officers?
       3. What would you change?

Candace Kattar, director of Identity, began the discussion by introducing two youth who had been
involved with the Identity program. The Identity program is a non-profit organization with
headquarters in Gaithersburg, MD. It provides core after-school and outreach services in
Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties to Latino youth. The two youth, Adolfo and Oscar,
spoke about their experiences upon moving to the United States from El Salvador. Ms. Kattar
provided translation services as needed.

Adolfo stated he came to the US in middle school and joined a gang in high school. He got arrested
for the first time while he was in High School for bringing a knife to school. Once he was released
he returned to gang activities and the police continued to watch him. In 10th grade, he was arrested
again for painting graffiti. In 11th grade he started at Identity and backed down from fights. Before
his involvement with Identity, he was never referred to any services or child or family serving
agency. He indicated that Identity gave him the tools to work with his problems, helped him with
communication and resolution of conflicts presented by fights and gangs. He learned that he had
support through Identity when he needed it.

Oscar stated he was arrested twice in 9th grade and released both times. In 10th grade, he was
involved in a fight between Latinos and African Americans and got arrested and released for the
third time. In 12th grade he was involved in another fight which resulted in someone being stabbed.
He was charged as an adult with attempted murder and spent 1 ½ months in jail and was released on

Delegate Gutièrrez asked what the school did for him. Oscar indicated that school attempted to help
but the police continued to stop and question him about his gang involvement. All the while he
continued to pass his classes at school. He became involved with Identity.

Candace Kattar of Identity stated that both Oscar and Adolfo had similar experiences. They were
known by the police and questioned repeatedly about their gang involvement. When asked about
their current status, Adolfo indicated he was still studying, working fulltime, playing soccer with a
team and had moved out of the area. Oscar indicated that he had graduated from high school and
was working on going to college.

Carmen Brown and Delegate Gutièrrez asked how youth typically get involved with Identity, with
the after-school programming provided by Identity. Ms. Kattar explained that Identity typically
provides about 60 hours of free services in total by providing services twice a week for two hours
for primarily high school and middle school youth. Identity provides services to one elementary
school. They completed a “needs assessment” to determine what treatment services were needed

                                 MEETING MINUTES
                                   JUNE 20, 2008

and do a lot of team building. Most of funding comes from the federal and county governments,
small foundation and individual monies. Some pass-through funding comes from the state.

Luis Cardona, the Youth Violence Prevention Coordinator for Montgomery County introduced two
youth who were involved with his gang program and after-school program. Mr. Cardona gave an
overview of the gang and after-school programming provided by Montgomery County. One of the
youth stated he participated at the Crossroads program (a federally funded gang and youth violence
reduction program offered by a multi-jurisdictional youth opportunity center whose purpose is to
engage at-risk youth.)

Mr. Cardona discussed the “pipeline” of youth from school to the street to the jail. He stated that in
Montgomery County they had 1166 gang involved youth who where involved in less than 1% of the
total crime committed in the county. Mr. Cardona states a lot of money is being funneled into the
system looking for information/intelligence. The money should be spent providing services, not
identifying gangs and getting information and data on gang involvement. These efforts do more to
scare citizens than to help youth.

At this point all the youth were invited to come forward to participate in the discussion. Audrey
Bennett introduced three youth: Kevron, Adrienne and Kennay. Peggy Higgins introduced two
youth: Arlindo and Marcellos. Luis Cardona introduced two youth: Jesus and Russell.

Kevron stated he got arrested for CDS possession at age 17. Youth Services helped bring him from
negative perspectives/activities to a more positive view of his life.

Adrienne indicated that she is in 11th grade and has been involved in the Youth Service Bureau
activities since 8th grade when she was introduced by peers. She has been in Foster Care since she
was 8 years old.

Kennay also stated she was involved in the Teen Summit which provides lots of discussion about
teen issues: teen sex, gang involvement and violence.

Marcellos described his youth as one filled with lots of moving. He was originally from
Philadelphia. He was involved with smoking and selling drugs, and almost joined a gang. But he
became a volunteer at the College Park YSB and is now employed and plans to enter college in the

Arlindo indicated that he was admitted to Cheltenham and upon release he received services from
the Evening Reporting Center, wraparound services (e.g., counseling). He couldn’t get services
before arrest. The police and schools had no information about services available to prevent his
entry into the system. He got kicked out of school.

Russell, from the Montgomery County Youth Violence Prevention program, stated that he had been
on probation and then received services from the Evening Reporting Center in his community. He
had 2 people who supported him, his Probation Officer and the Principal at his school. These
people helped him navigate the system and get treatment.

                                 MEETING MINUTES
                                   JUNE 20, 2008

Jesus, from the Montgomery County Youth Violence Prevention program, stated he is from New
York City. When he was born his mother was 16 years old and his father was 15 years old. He was
abused and was raised in a community with gangs. When he moved to Maryland as a young teen,
he became involved with the Youth Violence Prevention program.

Delegate Gutiérrez asked how many youth did not receive services. Peggy Higgins stated that
research indicates that at lease 10% of the youth population could use mental health services. Al
Zachik stated that a recent surgeon general’s report indicated the number needing mental health
services was higher, about 20% of children.

Marcellos stated that about 1 in 20 gets services in his community. Jesus stated that music and art
programs are invaluable to youth as a means of expression and a place where youth are comfortable.
He said being creative allowed him to look beyond crime. When asked if he wanted to get involved
as a mentor for younger children he said that he was interested. At this time, he is most involved
with his own children trying to provide a more nurturing atmosphere for his children. He stated it
was difficult to help others, lots of pain, grief, loss and the reliving of your own experiences.

Delegates Gutiérrez and Niemann thanked everyone for attending and providing the task force with
a wealth of information on their experiences. They discussed plans to invite the Governor’s Office
for Children (GOC) and the Local Management Boards (LMB) to discuss prevention and diversion
programming and funding at the next meeting

Meeting adjourned.


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