It is “really important to not hesitate and to not wait.”
Those words are offered up as instructive advice from a prominent voice in Colorado’s criminal justice community.
What Patrick Hedrick – Denver Public Safety Youth Programs Director – really seeks to emphasize with his don’t-delay statement is this: When it comes to benefiting troubled youth in a proactive and purposeful way, early intervention is key.
Hedrick’s mantra for success on the juvenile crime front – regarding both a specific young person and the local community in which he or she resides – spotlights a hands-on and integrative approach involving early detection of prospective or festering problems and a steering toward lasting solutions.
Among other things, that means promoting knowledge for both involved families and community neighborhoods that “there are resources available at no cost.”
Those resources are both multiple and varied. A juvenile who is in legal hot water or seemingly headed for future problematic involvement with law enforcers might benefit materially from early counseling. Special tutoring or immersion in select learning programs might go far toward enhancing self-worth and instilling a sense of personal purpose. Mentorship programs help guide juveniles in a positive way that steers them away from trouble. The same is true for sports programs, job placements and other provided resources aimed at rehabilitation and a second chance.
Youth advocates stress that the Denver metro has no dearth of such offerings and services. Hedrick underscores that the primary goal of early invention is “connecting kids to caring adults, creating protective environments for young people to be successful and developing their skills.”
That is the antidote to troublesome and lasting involvement with criminal law authorities.