Intervention, Prevention & Education

Gangs exist across the United States, spreading crime and recruiting vulnerable youth in neighborhoods once thought impermeable to such influence. They can appear to offer vulnerable youth very tangible “benefits”: identity, family and a place to go where “everyone knows your name.” Unfortunately, what can at first seem great to recruits and members is destructive to neighborhoods and communities as well as to the individual.

NVFS’ Intervention, Prevention and Education (IPE) program was developed in an intensive effort to reduce youth violence and counteract the appeal of gang membership in Northern Virginia among language and ethnic minority children ages 10 to 21. The IPE program helps youth who are vulnerable to recruitment by gangs develop the skills to resist joining and that their parents and community members are able to provide the necessary support and structure.

Intervention: IPE seeks to intervene in the lives of young people who are either gang members or at risk of becoming so. It addresses the issues in a young person’s life that make him or her vulnerable: poor school achievement or involvement, feeling alienated from family and community, and involvement with negative peers.

Prevention involves getting youth plugged into positive environments and activities. Since the allure of belonging to a group can be a gang’s most powerful selling point, helping vulnerable youth find those positive activities and connections is a critical task. Counselors help with academics, social involvement and setting goals for a future.

Education in IPE involves not only the young person, but parents, guardians and family members as well. It equips the young person to find alternatives to destructive behaviors and tendencies, and helps parents and guardians improve and practice supportive and beneficial responses. It gives the family ways to respond to various situations in a positive way and increases community awareness of gangs and how to effectively support youth to make positive choices.

Intervention, Prevention and Education programs are designed to help families and individuals avoid the devastation of gang involvement. Under intervention, program resources focus on helping young people decrease and ultimately eliminate being part of a gang. Under prevention and education, youth at risk for gang involvement are redirected to more positive pursuits.

What can IPE offer you and your child?

  • Outreach and Education
  • Individual and Family Services
  • Mentors

How does IPE help parents?

  • Case management support and referral
  • Gang awareness education
  • Teaching effective parenting skills
  • Teaching positive reinforcement skills
  • Strengthening parent-child relationships

What’s the cost and how do I enroll my child?

  • The program is free to eligible youth and their families.
  • Contact the IPE Program Manager for more information or to enroll.

Who is eligible?

  • Any youth between the ages of 10 and 21 who is either at risk of becoming or is currently gang-involved and who lives in one of the following jurisdictions: Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax
  • That person’s family