Ballard, nation's mayors meet with Obama Administration about violence
Mayor Greg Ballard went to the White House Monday to talk about a significant program President Barack Obama has put in place called "My Brother's Keeper."
Under the program, officials are trying to find significant ways to keep kids off the street by giving them something to do. There are many things being kicked around, including partnerships with the NBA and AT&T. But there were also others who were outside the fence, waiting to get their word in about violence in the streets.
We've certainly had our share of violence in Indianapolis and Ballard talked about the possibilities he heard at Monday's meeting to address those issues.
"I think there are some fundamental things that the entire country's missing, city by city, that are just manifesting themselves later on in behavior that we don't want to see. We have to get on this as a nation, where we have to take these kids and understand what's happening," Ballard told Eyewitness News. "You've heard me say before that the family dynamic has changed, but all the institutions surrounding it have not. We have not adjusted well to all of this."
All along, Ballard has talked about the importance of family and parents and early intervention and early education and stronger action from local and federal prosecutors.
"It just isn't one thing. We just can't go to these default options that we've done for so long and expect it all to change. We have to really understand what is leading to all of this and give these, primarily young men, more opportunity than we have in the past. Because so many of them just get lost in the system. Just lost. They don't graduate from high school, they're just nowhere, right? The numbers on that appear to be pretty staggering on an annual basis. We have to fix that," Ballard said.
Ballard also made a point that Indiana is not alone in dealing with the problem of early childhood intervention. He said he heard ideas that he may be able to apply to Indianapolis, including one from Minnesota.
"Minneapolis had a really good 0-3 (years of age) package that is really getting to the family level at a very young age. They think they have studies through high school impact," he said.
The mayor has advocated putting more police officers on the streets of Indianapolis, but he has also said it's a much bigger problem than that and it's going to take more than that.
This is the third time Ballard has participated in meetings on this topic. He returns to work in Indianapolis Tuesday to start implementing some of Monday's ideas.