Dr. Ala Stanford convenes Philadelphia leaders to collaborate on youth violence prevention

District Attorney Larry Krasner, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw and Mayor Jim Kenney, Dr. Ala Stanford
From left: District Attorney Larry Krasner, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw and Mayor Jim Kenney join Dr. Ala Stanford, regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for a round table discussion about curbing youth violence. Photo credit Pat Loeb/KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia has long depended on federal law enforcement partners for help with violent crime, but for the first time, the Department of Health and Human Service is taking an active role in the effort to curb youth violence.

Ala Stanford convened an unusual meeting at the HHS Region 3 headquarters in Center City on Wednesday. There she gathered the mayor, police commissioner, district attorney, fire commissioner, hospital leaders and community activists for a roundtable discussion, “to talk about initiatives done by each of the different departments, where we can learn what things are working, so we are more collaborative in our efforts.”

Region 3 encompasses Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C., but Stanford admits she has a special interest in her hometown of Philadelphia.

“Our children need to see more hope. They need to see us working together and know that we’re all working toward a better future for them,” she said.
She said the collaboration will allow stakeholders to share successes and resources.

No concrete plans came out of the meeting, but Mayor Jim Kenney said it was an important step toward “refining and talking and communicating” and using the city’s resources in the best way possible.

“We’re doing a lot, but it’s not enough. But hopefully, now with the federal government’s direct involvement through HHS, hopefully we can make more strides,” Kenney said.

“There’s no magic wand to any of this. I mean, the magic wand that I would have is to get rid of every goddamn gun in the country. I would do that in a second, but that’s not doable.”

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said she saw it as a hopeful sign.

“This, to me, says a few things, but most importantly a federal recognition that, one, this is a public health crisis, and two, our federal partners are not only here but [are] willing to help us.”

The group plans to meet again in December.

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