City of Evansville receives Opioid Affected Youth Initiative grant

(November 13, 2019) — The City of Evansville is the recipient of an Opioid Affected Youth Initiative (OAYI) award, which is a three-year, $1 million federal grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), a division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The City worked with the Mayor’s Substance Abuse Task Force (MSATF) and Youth First, Inc. to develop a project called Restoring Every Affected Child’s Hope (REACH). REACH’s purpose is to implement data-informed, coordinated responses to the opioid problem and other serious drug problems that impact the safety and well-being of youth.

“With the help of this grant, we will connect affected young people to the services and support they need to be healthy and drug-free,” said Mayor Lloyd Winnecke.

Representatives of the Vanderburgh County Health Department, Ascension and Deaconess hospital systems, Vanderburgh County juvenile and drug treatment courts, Evansville Police and Fire Departments, American Medical Response ambulance service, Vanderburgh County Coroner, six private treatment facilities, multiple community organizations, and other individuals currently collaborate on MSATF initiatives.

“This grant will enhance our capacity to share information with one another and respond effectively with coordinated prevention efforts that improve services for at-risk youth and families,” said MSATF Chair William Wooten, MD.

To develop the REACH proposal, the city and task force tapped Youth First’s extensive experience delivering evidence-based prevention programs, measuring outcomes, coordinating coalitions, and managing grants.

Once the federal review process is completed, the city plans to work with Youth First to implement the REACH initiative, which also includes support for Youth First’s social work services and evidence-based prevention programs at nine Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation schools.

“Long after this three-year project concludes, our community will continue to benefit from the collaborative improvements generated by the REACH initiative,” said Youth First Inc. CEO Parri Black “More importantly, many at-risk young people will become thriving adults because they received the support they needed during a difficult time in their lives.”

Evansville was one of only seven proposals nationwide to be awarded the OAYI grant.

To see OJJDP’s award announcement, go to

For additional information, go to the Mayor’s Substance Abuse Task Force website - or Youth First’s website -