THE Surrey Anti-Gang Family Empowerment (SAFE) Program launched in January 2019, with a proactive approach to addressing youth gang involvement. Supported by $7.5 million in federal funding distributed over five years, the program is delivered by 10 partner agencies to address previous service gaps in diverting children and youth away from gangs.
“We are committed to keeping Surrey’s youth safe and engaged through preventable programming that will address the source of underlying problems that lead to gang involvement,” said Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum on Thursday. “With the release of today’s data, we know we are on track to create a healthy community where everyone has the chance to thrive and reach their full potential.”
As of March 2020, a total of 1,515 vulnerable Surrey residents have been offered supports through SAFE. This includes 1,292 children and youth and 223 parents and caregivers. 216 of these clients were also connected to culturally sensitive services, such as counselling, in their preferred language.
As of June 2020, the Children & Youth At-Risk Table concluded 69 cases, meaning the risk for involvement in gangs for each of these young people was successfully de-escalated. SAFE is also on track to meet its five-year target of supporting 4,700 children and youth at-risk for gang involvement. The full success of the SAFE Program will be officially evaluated in 2024.
Recently, a virtual support group for South Asian parents was created to compliment programming, and preparations are underway for a virtual presentation series, as well as a civil forfeiture grant application (E2) designed to engage youth and empower parents.
For more information about the SAFE Program, visit www.surrey.ca/safe.