UCAN was founded on January 6, 1990 with the DBA “Operation Gangwatch”, developed specifically to target gang involved or affiliated youth.  This organization has received countless awards and recognition for performance by the California Governor, State Attorney General, L.A. County Sheriff, County Supervisor and other elected officials.

UCAN has received numerous crime prevention awards the governors crime prevention award, the Attorney General, and the LA County Prevention award.  UCAN has also been awarded “the Most Outstanding Project Award” from LA County CDC, for outstanding administration of their CDBG Grant Funds.  In addition, we were honored for our Juvenile Diversion For First Offenders Program, for overall success.

We have maintained an 70-75% success rate based on no re-arrests and improved family conditions after two years of tracking all clients after service.  UCAN is currently involved in a collaborative effort.  The five agencies collaborating are UCAN, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept, and Probation Dept., District Attorneys’ office, Antelope Valley Union High School District with the City of Lancaster.   The District Attorneys’ office in the Antelope Valley has the highest reported conviction rate of gang members in the county.  UCAN is maintaining an 85% successful completion rate and the high schools are reporting lower truancies with the projects implementation.  UCAN is particularly effective in ensuring compliance with conditions of probation requiring regular school attendance and satisfactory performance.  The overall success of this project has exceeded all expectations.  We look forward to expanding the program.

Family History of Violence

Statistics tell us that all forms of abuse and neglect are linked to an increased risk of developing a mental health disorder and anger management issues. Younger children experiencing abuse are at higher risk for developing a long term mental health problem than older children (Cohen, Brown, & Smailes, 2001). The AV had the highest child abuse and neglect rate found across LA County-2 out of 100 children suffered from some form of abuse or neglect. African American children accounted for 36% of child abuse and neglect reports, White children 28%, and Hispanic children 29%. There are currently 1400 foster care placements in the Antelope Valley many of whose families and friends live 70-90 miles away, which compounds feelings of separation and distress. Many foster children experiences being moved from one to foster home to another which increases personal instability and distribution of their schooling.

In 1994, the California State Prison, North LA County, opened near Lancaster and the families of inmates began migrating to the Antelope Valley to be closer to their incarcerated family member. As such, the number of families living in the area with a family member in jail has increased significantly. The prison has an average population of, 5000, but there is no data available to identify numbers of children living in this situation.

Suspension and Expulsion

Although the Antelope Valley High School District student population constitutes only 1.6 percent of the high school population in County, the number if students expelled from schools in the AV account for 18% of the total number of expulsions in County. The truancy rate of Antelope Valley High School District is 27% while the county wide truancy rate among high school students is 18%.