Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston (BGCB) announced it has named Kevan Barton as the Executive Director of YouthConnect. Prior to this appointment Barton had served with YouthConnect for 12 years, for six years as a frontline social worker in South Boston, Roxbury, the Youth Violence Strike Force, and the School Police Unit, and later as the Director of Operations.
YouthConnect is a unique program that provides violence prevention, intervention, advocacy, and mental health services to young people who are involved in the criminal justice system and their families. By placing licensed, clinical social workers in Boston police stations, YouthConnect works to address the underlying problems and social emotional issues that contribute to juvenile crime and delinquency by working with the entire family, not just the youth. Since the program’s inception in 1996, YouthConnect has provided more than 17,000 individuals with a variety of free, voluntary, and confidential intervention services designed to their specific needs and goals, as they face issues of safety, trauma, mental health challenges, substance abuse and high-risk behavior. YouthConnect’s capacity to provide home and community-based visits, in addition to flexible scheduling, has enabled those hard-to-reach youth and their families to access social services despite barriers to traditional services such as: insurance issues, distrust of providers and systems, transportation, safety, stigma around seeking help, and readiness to engage around making changes.
“For 25 years, YouthConnect has been a prized program of BGCB,” said incoming BGCB Nicholas President and CEO Robert Lewis, Jr., who was appointed on February 3. “YouthConnect’s unique model of social workers on the front lines alongside Boston’s police force taking on the underlying problems and social emotional issues that contribute to juvenile crime and delinquency, has impacted thousands of young people and their families. I look forward to working with Kevan and his team on this critical work.”
“Kevan’s prior experience at YouthConnect and commitment to helping young people in need make him an exceptional leader for this unique program,” said Josh Klevens, Chair of the Youth Connect Advisory Board. “As a licensed clinical social worker, Kevan understands firsthand that YouthConnect’s innovative clinical model enables social workers to not only assist a wide range of youth, but also help their families, which impacts our entire community.”
“I am excited to lead YouthConnect as we continue our efforts to expand the program and broaden our reach to impact more youth and families,” said Barton.
“Our team of social workers is focused on the most pressing issues of our time – mental health, community violence, and substance use. Our clients, and our staff, are among the most resilient people I know, and I am excited to support both as we move forward with this crucial work.”
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