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Rep. Franks Wants to Declare Youth Violence a Public Health Epidemic

February 14, 2018 - 8:24 am

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - State representative Bruce Franks of St. Louis has high hopes for a bill he's introduced, which would declare youth violence as a "public health epidemic" in Missouri.

He says making it official state policy would be more than just lip service.

"In identifying it for what it's worth, it actually helps us get the resources from a federal level, grants, so on and so forth, to address undiagnosed mental health issues, behavioral health issues and all these different things," he says. 

Franks claims to have bi-partisan support for his measure, which would also declare each June 7th "Christopher Harris Day" in honor of Franks' brother who was fatally shot at the age of 9, killed while being used as a human shield in a 1991 gun battle.

Franks says the legislation would direct state officials to aggressively pursue "trauma-informed care" in cases involving youth violence.

"We talk about getting to the root cause of these problems, but like my grandma used to say, you can't fix a problem until you first identify that you have one," he says.