The Prevention Network is an alliance of social service providers and community residents fighting to strengthen the social safety net of South Los Angeles to increase access to prevention and treatment services. The Prevention Network seeks to strengthen the social safety net of South LA by (1) advocating for local policy changes to ensure equitable investment redirections, (2) sustaining and increasing the capacity of local Black and Brown-led community organizations, and (3) fostering collaborations across South LA service providers to engage community members in relevant programming.
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 epidemic, 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 LA 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.
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 Taskforce 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 pass California’s Proposition 47, a historic bill stopping the use of excessive prison sentences for minor crimes and invested prison spending savings into prevention and treatment services.
The Prevention Network continues to direct policy initiatives and resource distribution according to the real human needs they see and address on a daily basis. In September 2021, the Prevention Network officially relaunched with a kickoff event featuring over two dozen service providers. The Prevention Network is now all the more important as the community strives to recover from the pandemic. Currently the Prevention Network is focused on ensuring that federal COVID-19 relief dollars are distributed equitably across Los Angeles County. South LA service providers are advocating to create equitable funding structures to ensure the money goes to where it is most needed. Now more than ever City and County funding must be redirected from policing and punishment toward systems of care like affordable housing, mental healthcare, youth programs, substance use treatment clinics, and more.
If you would like to join the Prevention Network and/or have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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