Strengthening the Safety Net

History

Social service providers- people who work in human service organizations, such as homeless shelters, child health clinics, and drug treatment centers- were the first to see the fallout of the crack cocaine epidemic as they struggled to meet the needs of clients who poured into their agencies seeking resources to deal with unemployment and addiction. Frustrated by tough on crime policies that turned a public health crisis- crack cocaine addiction- into an opportunity to move aggressively against communities of colors, South LA providers worked to identify solutions that addressed the root causes of addiction and crime in local neighborhoods.

In 1990, South L.A. providers convened a conference entitled “Crack: Crisis in the African American Community”, and Community Coalition for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment was born. A few years later, the Coalition formally launched the Prevention Network- an alliance of South L.A. social service agencies that provide drug treatment, transitional housing, mental health, and youth and other services in the community.

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Prevention Network

The Prevention Network is an alliance of social service providers and community residents fighting to strengthen the social safety net, increase access to prevention and treatment services in South L.A., and end mass incarceration.

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“We believed that social service providers were critical agents in stabilizing vulnerable families as populations, who get involved in broader community organizing efforts, including public policy and advocacy work, once stabilized.”

Our Work

Over the last 25 years, social service providers in the Prevention Network have identified key issues that drove decisive campaigns in Community Coalition’s history, including “Rebuild South Central Without Liquor Stores”, which resulted in the closure of 150 liquor stores in South L.A. after the 1992 Civil Unrest.

In 2000, South L.A. providers launched the “Family Care not Foster Care Campaign” to shift resources from private foster care agencies to extended family members caring for children no longer living with their biological parents;  and the Ex-Offender Task-force to address the unmet needs of residents returning home after incarceration and remove barriers to housing; employment and education for formerly incarcerated individuals.

Most recently, network members organized to defeat the “Community Care Facilities Ordinance” that would reduce the availability of drug and mental health treatment and affordability housing for poor and working families.  The Prevention Network led local and regional efforts to help pass California’s Proposition 47, a historic bill to stop the use of excessive prison sentences for minor crimes and invested prison spending savings into prevention and treatment services.

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Moving Forward

The Prevention Network continues to lead policy initiatives and help shift resources to impact communities with the highest need. the real human needs they see and address on a daily basis. Network members remain at the forefront of the movement to increase the state’s investment in programs that help families and local neighborhoods thrive.

Proven Results

6

Policy Victories

339

Millions Won for Prevention & Treatment

45

Active Social Service Agencies