SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The city of Santa Barbara is no longer getting state grants for the South Coast Task Force on Youth Gangs. The task force failed to secure a grant for this year after having received state funds for the past 4 years.
This task force was made specifically to target juveniles who had been convicted of gang-related crimes. With state money no longer going to the program, it will be difficult to provide the same amount of attention to each case as they did before.
Saul Serrano, coordinator of the South Coast Task Force on Youth Gangs, says, "the CalGRIP grant that was funded to the city of Santa Barbara from the state has definitely been beneficial to the city and to the south coast region."
The task force has received over $700,000 in funding for the last 4 years from the California Gang Reduction, Intervention, and Prevention Program, also known as CalGRIP.
Lompoc and Carpinteria are other cities in the county who have received similar grants. Lompoc received a 2-year grant in 2011 worth $250,000.
The task force aims to slow down gang activity in the area by working with juveniles convicted of gang-related crimes.
"The youth might be in a gang or out of a gang and what that means is that they are still committing the crime," says Serrano. "So they are still involved or at risk of becoming involved."
The task force assigns a case-worker who helps the at-risk kids improve academically and stay out of trouble outside of school. With the task force not being awarded a grant for 2013, it presents a challenge for them to give the same amount of attention to each case they handle. But Serrano says there are still other options in the area to make up for their lack of resources this year.
"We have a large list of providers who work with the population, so even though one program is no longer funded, there are multiple other programs who are able to assist families and youth at this time," says Serrano.
Serrano says that Santa Barbara will be reapplying for a grant later this year in August.
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