FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Amy Kobeta, PCCY
City Groups Raise Alarm about Lack of Mental, Behavioral Health Supports
Ask to Meet with Mayor Kenney to Discuss Next Steps
PHILADELPHIA (December 1, 2020) – In the wake of the shooting death of Walter Wallace, Jr., 31 organizations that serve Philadelphia children and families are sounding the alarm about the lack of mental and behavioral health services.
In a letter to Mayor Kenney today, they wrote “As organizations dedicated to the cause of improving the lives of the City’s children, we write today out of concern for the failures of the City’s infrastructure and policy shooting of this obviously sick man. Children across this city listened, learned, and now, have watched this incident. We know it has scared them and it has scarred them.”
These groups, representing a range of sectors including health, early education, community development, and legal services, identified three areas where improvements can begin:
- Pair police officers with behavioral health consultants when needed.
- Focus police training on de-escalation.
- Expand services to support children coping with racially-motivated police violence.
“We do not have all the answers. But we believe it is urgent that we meet with you to discuss ways that the City can demonstrate to children that this is a community where they can feel safe for themselves and those they care about; that they can count on those working for the City to protect them and their families from harm; and that we truly value every life,” wrote Frank Cervone, Executive Director of Support Center for Child Advocates, who penned the letter on behalf of the group.