Three community organizations have been selected to run evening resource centers — late-night sites expected to open next month with programming for children picked up by police after curfew.
Contracts have been awarded to Youth Advocate Programs, Community of Compassion CDC and Diversified Community Services to run the sites, which are a reboot of former Mayor John Street’s curfew centers.
The sites will open Dec. 6 in South, West and North Philadelphia, officials in Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration told Metro.
Nonprofits submitted applications to operate the centers for a one-year pilot program and were selected through a bidding process that occurred over the summer.
“We’re really excited about this opportunity to work with young people before they get involved with the justice system,” said Fred Fogg, assistant regional president for Youth Advocate Programs.
Each center will open every day from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., and officers in the East, South and Southwest police divisions will escort curfew violators to the sites if they are not immediately able to take them home.
Youth brought to the centers will have the opportunity to engage in community service and job training, as well as programs dealing with conflict resolution, violence prevention and mentoring, according to DHS. “Parent Night” events will be held to support caregivers.
“As a working mom, I know how important it is to have a safe place for your child, and I am so glad we are going to have quality programming right in our neighborhoods,” said Councilwoman Katherine Gilmore Richardson, a proponent of the centers.
Diversified Community Services will hosting the center at Dixon House, a longstanding community gathering place in South Philadelphia that has a large kitchen, gymnasium and computer lab, said Elisha Richardson, who will direct DCS’s program. The organization operated a curfew center there in the Street era.
In addition to sessions on topics like anger management and communication skills, children will be able to play basketball or visit a game room, she added.
“So it’ll definitely be a fun but safe environment for all youth that are just dropping in at any given time seven days out of the week,” Richardson told Metro.
Youth will be encouraged to return to scheduled activities on their own, Frogg said, without being compelled by a police officer.
Representatives from Diversified Community Services and Youth Advocate Programs said they are separately preparing for about 30 children and teenagers on a nightly basis.
Nearly $2 million has been set aside in the municipal budget for the sites, part of a $155 million spending plan aimed at reducing violence in the city.
Since the beginning of the year, 185 children under the age of 18 have been shot, according to the Community College of Philadelphia’s Center for Gun Violence Reporting.
“It is our sincere hope that these new centers will provide juveniles with an alternative to being on the street after curfew hours go into effect,” Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said in a statement Monday.
The evening resource center pilot also coincides with a recent change to the city’s curfew laws.
In August, Kenney signed legislation, championed by Gilmore Richardson, to eliminate all curfew-related fines and streamline hours when youth are allowed to be outside.
For those 16 and older, the curfew is now midnight; it is 10 p.m. for 14 and 15-year-old and 9:30 p.m. for kids 13 and under. Previously, the curfew changed with the seasons and on the weekends.
Outlaw has said the new guidelines will be easier to understand for officers and parents.
The fines, which could have risen to $500 for repeat offenders, were viewed by Council members and advocates as having a disproportionate impact on low-income families.
Diversified’s community evening resource center will be located at 1920 S. 20th St.; Community of Compassion CDC will operate its site at 6150 Cedar Ave., and Youth Advocate Programs will open a center at 900 W. Jefferson St.
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