The Trenton Prevention Policy Board (TPPB) is a grass-roots initiative that aims to reduce juvenile crime and promote positive youth development. Local stakeholders gather together to share their knowledge about policies, programs, services and best practices so they can make informed recommendations to municipal, county and state officials.
The TPPB is part of a statewide network of Municipal Policy Planning Boards, an initiative born out of Governor Corzine’s Strategy for Safe Streets and Neighborhoods. Working in conjunction with the Rutgers Bloustein School for Public Policy, the Attorney General’s Office of Community Justice brought together the leadership of the City of Trenton (administration, police, youth services, social services) and Mercer County (human services, youth services, mental health) to establish the TPPB in Trenton.
The Trenton Prevention Policy Board (TPPB) is a unique community-building network that has been recognized by the Attorney General’s Office of Community Justice as one its priorities. Over the past year, the Bonner Center has organized a process that brings together approximately 40 to 50 representatives from a wide range of organizations on a monthly basis around three primary goals: 1) to learn more about the systems and programs that are serving young people; 2) to examine where there are gaps, inefficiencies, or opportunities for collaboration; and 3) to make policy, practice and programmatic recommendations to prevent juvenile crime and promote positive youth development; this is the primary goal.
The TPPB is organized into six Working Groups based on issue areas identified by board members following an extensive “data walk” and assessment of the needs of youth in Trenton. These working groups include: Domestic Violence, Education, Employment, Health, Juvenile Crime and Mentoring. The Bonner Center has also incorporated its team of Bonner Academic Fellows into the TPPB to provide research support to each of the six working groups of the coalition.
In June of 2012, the TPPB released its first annual report, which included 25 recommendations that resulted from the joining of community and campus expertise. The TPPB and its working groups included not only Trenton residents, non-profit professionals, governmental and school employees, but also professors and students from TCNJ as well. Each recommendation in report was vetted through thoughtful deliberation and, when relevant, a rigorous review of literature and evidence by a leading academic. Moving forward, the TPPB will focus its effort on both developing evidence-based recommendations and implementing those proposals made in the previous annual report.
“This is the strongest and most productive social network that I have ever been a part of.” – Roberto Hernandez, Director of El Centro de Recursos para Familias (Catholic Charities Diocese of Trenton)
“Having professional facilitators and college professors sharing their expertise has placed our network in another league. It combines street level knowledge with academic knowledge.” – Marygrace Billek, Director of Mercer County Department of Health and Human Services
“This is the model that other communities should emulate. The TCNJ Bonner Center is driven by what the Ccommunity needs and wants to make changes in the city. It finds the resources on campus – like researchers and direct service volunteers –to help all of us collaborate and advance our missions.” – Reverend Darrell Armstrong, Shiloh Baptist Church