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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov

Date: March 16, 2016


WILMINGTON (March 16, 2016) - As part of a presentation Wednesday night to the Wilmington City Council on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's report on preventing gun violence, Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Rita Landgraf announced the co-chairs and members of an Advisory Group that will make recommendations on implementing aspects of the CDC report.

The CDC report recommended that the state form an Advisory Group that would support the development of highly integrated, coordinated and individualized services for young people who are identified as being most at risk for becoming perpetrators of violence.

Wilmington residents Darryl Chambers, who lost his son, Mohammad Dominique Chambers, to gun violence in 2011, and DHSS Deputy Secretary Henry Smith are the group's co-chairs.

Joining them as members are:

In addition to Secretary Landgraf, individuals who will act as resources and advisers to the group are Mayor Dennis P. Williams, Councilwoman Hanifa Shabazz, who proposed a resolution asking the CDC to come to Wilmington to investigate gun violence, and City Council President Theo Gregory.

Mayor Williams made the official request for CDC assistance in January 2014, and DHSS' Division of Public Health formally requested the CDC's assistance in June 2014. Formal requests to the CDC must come from the states. CDC researchers were in Wilmington from June to July 2014.

The final CDC report, which was released in November 2015, is based on data, including arrest records for violent gun crimes from January 2009 to May 2014, and administrative medical, child welfare, criminal, employment and educational records from 2000 to 2014. The final report, "Elevated Rates of Urban Firearm Violence and Opportunities for Prevention - Wilmington, Delaware," is posted on DHSS' website: dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/ The CDC study looks at gun violence from a public health and social services perspective, not from a law enforcement perspective. Researchers developed a pilot risk assessment tool that could be used to identify young people most at risk for violence later in their lives. The CDC also provided a series of recommendations - but not an operational plan - for DHSS to use moving forward. The CDC recommended: developing the capacity to link and share data between Delaware organizations; connecting data systems to identify potential candidates for intervention services; and bringing the community advisory board together to develop highly integrated, coordinated and customized services for high-risk populations.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.